Ben Hayward September 20th
2020

As exciting as it is, heading off to university can also come with its own unique types of stress. 

Alongside the thrill of new-found independence, new friends and a world of opportunity opening up in front of you, living away from everything you find familiar can be a little bit scary too.

Couple that with the unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in at the moment and it’s perfectly understandable that things can feel a little overwhelming!

So, that’s why TOTUM has teamed up with Boots to provide you with some guidance, information (and student discounts) to help you look after your own wellbeing and help you get as much as possible out of the university experience.

TOTUM members get 10% off at Boots (with your Advantage Card) but don't forget to keep an eye on our socials for loads of competitions, giveaways and flash offers throughout the Freshers period and beyond... 

Make your bedroom your sanctuary 

Although communal living can provide some of the most memorable moments in your life, the downside is that a bit of alone time can be hard to come by. 

When you’re at uni, often the only place you can find a bit of solitude is in your bedroom, so why not try to make it the nicest environment possible to get some much needed headspace?

Here are a few easy things you can do to turn your room into your own little haven… 

Bring the outdoors, indoors 

Plants can make an absolutely huge difference in a room. As well as bringing a lovely splash of colour and decoration, they also improve air quality which can help with all sorts of things from sleep to brain function. 

It can also be nice to have something small to be responsible for, and watching a plant you’ve cared for thrive is super satisfying!

Clear out those dirties… 

When you’re working, sleeping and generally spending the majority of your time in one room it’s easy for it become a bit of a miss mash of different spaces - kitchen, living room and bedroom all rolled into one.

So, try and make a point of clearing up your empty cups, glasses and plates every day - you’ll feel so much better about stepping back into your bedroom and it’ll be one less distraction from whatever else you’re trying to do!

Please your senses

Treat yourself to a few candles* or plug-ins with your favourite scents. 

There’s nothing quite like a soothing smell like lavender, jasmine or citrus to help ease any tensions you might be feeling.

Boots stocks a great selection of scented candles, plugins and diffusers from big names like Yankee Candle to delight your nostrils!

*Never leave a burning candle unattended.

Self-care routines

The trick to making a self-care routine work for you is to focus on something small rather than something big - taking on ‘too much’ can make you feel overwhelmed and that kind of defeats the point doesn’t it!?

Start small and try to make it a routine - but remember to be flexible and take it slowly.

A few ways to help you dedicate time to self-care are:

  • If you love reading but can’t seem to find the time, just read one chapter of your book each day.

  • Wake up at the same time each morning (but be flexible at the weekends) and don’t check your social media for an hour after waking.

  • Apply a face mask once a week and for those 10 minutes, just shut your eyes and gather your thoughts.

  • Put your clothes away every day (don’t let them pile up on that chair), you’ll thank yourself once your room is clutter-free.

  • Try meditating – Headspace is an app that makes meditating really easy for just three minutes a day. So find yourself a comfortable space and let yourself go.

But equally, if these don’t appeal, self-care is all about what makes you feel good. So if that’s being on the go and working on little projects, that’s absolutely fine too!

Take a breather from social media

Although it seems increasingly difficult, taking time away from social media is so important! 

And it doesn’t have to be anything big, simply not going on your phone whilst you’re walking to and from lectures or not ‘double screening’ while you’re watching tv can make a huge difference. 

You should also try to give yourself at least an hour without screens before bed to help you prepare for sleep - Boots have loads of great products to help you unwind, from soothing face masks to super relaxing bath products, to mindfulness sets to help not only banish that stress but also prepare your body for…

A good night’s sleep

A shortage of sleep can have a huge effect on your mood and wellbeing as well as increasing your chances of getting ill, so despite the various temptations that abound at this time of year make sure that you set aside some recovery time too.

If you do struggle to get to sleep, Boots have loads of products to help you catch those all important Z's!

If you’re feeling lonely...

It’s absolutely, 100% fine to feel lonely sometimes - what’s not so good is to keep it inside and not talk to anyone about it.

If you do find yourself feeling a bit low, there will always be someone you can talk to. Whether it’s a lecturer you trust, a friend, a phone call home or the student services office, don’t shut yourself away. 

Other things you can try are:

  • Joining a society - you never know who you’ll meet…

  • Do something with your friends - when you’re in a loneliness spiral you can sometimes start saying no to everything, instead make a challenge to socialise at least once a week to begin with and build yourself up from there.

  • If you have time, do some volunteer work with non-humans – animals are fantastic at helping us to feel connected and there are plenty of animal shelters out there who will be happy to take on volunteers.

But the most important thing is to ask for help. You can always speak to your GP about how you’re feeling or get in contact with the amazing charity Mind who offer free counselling sessions and helpful advice. 

Manage your expectations

Try not to focus too much on having the ‘perfect student experience’ because the reality is it doesn’t actually exist! 

As well as all the fun and games there’s a lot of lectures, studying, cooking, exercise and all the other day to day stuff that takes up your time.

If you feel like your uni experience isn’t what you thought it was going to be, try dropping your expectations altogether and taking it as it  comes instead.

It’s so important to remember that you’re allowed to have bad days and you shouldn’t feel bad for having them. Tomorrow is a new day and things will almost certainly be different.

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