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Student Union’s tips to improve mental health

By Daniel Nuttman Apr 1, 2021

Covid-19 restrictions are easing and many outdoor sports can restart but indoor sports still won’t be allowed until April 12 so options are still limited.

In a recent BUCS webinar the conversation centred around mental health and student-athletes own experience of mental health at university.

Earlier in March the Student Union sports coordinator, Kieran Dempsey, released a guide on how sports students who are missing their sports, can help themselves during the continued restrictions.

Dempsey said: “The union want to open up a conversation about how the union can best help your mental health and wellbeing at Kingston University.” 

Here are the Student Union’s Top 10 tips to improve your mental health:

1. Plan

Have a to-do list and write down your daily tasks in order of importance. This will put your schedule into perspective and help you consider what is a priority.

2. Talk

Talk to friends or family or join a support group. Do not suffer in silence. Connect with those around you.

3. Read

Reading books benefits both your physical and mental health. Results of a study showed that those who read books lived around two years longer than those who either didn’t read at all or read magazines and other forms of media.

4. Learn

A new hobby can be a great stress reliever and it can help you break out of ordinary behaviour patterns. Learning new skills can provide something to think about other than daily worries. It can also help to boost your CV.

5. Try to stay positive

Our thoughts affect the way that we feel. Take time to think of the positive things in your life and things that you are thankful for.

6. Stretch

It can help increase your flexibility which is an important factor of fitness, improve your posture, reduce stress and reduce body aches.

7. Breathe

It may feel unnatural to breathe deeply but the practice comes with various benefits. Deep breaths are more efficient and allow your body to fully exchange incoming oxygen with outgoing carbon dioxide. They have also been shown to slow the heartbeat, lower or stabilize blood pressure, lower stress and help you relax.

8. Listen to music

Music can help to improve your mood, decrease pain and anxiety and facilitate opportunities for emotional expression. Think about what music you can listen to when you exercise when you are home or if you want to lift your mood.

9. Keep hydrated

Drinking enough water and staying hydrated is the first rule of health and nutrition. The NHS recommends consuming six to eight glasses of water a day.

10. Exercise

Daily activity will improve your mood, health and general mobility. Getting yourself moving can enhance overall wellbeing and reduce the risk of developing depression and anxiety.

The union has encouraged sports students to take part in activities over the lockdown. This has included the Kingston sports students and club league on Strava, where sports students were encouraged to run and post their distance throughout March.

Dempsey said: “Despite everything happening during this third and final lockdown, and how it’s affected us, it’s important that we stay connected, vital to your mental and physical health and look after each other.”

By Daniel Nuttman

Third year journalism student at Kingston University, currently the sports editor on The River. Interests include football, boxing and sports writing.

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