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In the wake of University Mental Health Day, Tanya Rogers, Sales Director at Crystal Facilities Management, talks about measures that students can take to manage the demands of university life.

It is easy to assume that student life is just one big party. A 24/7 social life (aided by a trusty NUS card), living accommodation that rivals a five-star hotel and the very fact that all energies are focused on a subject chosen specifically to suit the student’s interests. Put like that university life sounds like a walk in the park, but for many students it couldn’t be further from the truth.

The flip-side to a life filled with activities, deadlines and new experiences is that it can be physically and emotionally exhausting.  Unsurprisingly, it is not unusual for students to feel stressed, anxious and overwhelmed – and when you add in the fact that many students are miles away from home it can sometimes be a very isolating experience.

To raise awareness and break the stigma surrounding mental health, Student Minds charity created University Mental Health Day. Now an established date on the student calendar, University Mental Health Day provides an invaluable resource for students. Particularly when – as highlighted by Student Minds – 75% of mental health difficulties develop by the mid-20s, an age that coincides with the time students typically spend at university.

At Crystal Facilities Management we are firm believers that student wellbeing is integral to a happy and successful university experience, which is why we work to ensure that student accommodation is immaculately clean, well-maintained and ultimately provides a comfortable and secure home from home.

To support University Mental Health Day we were keen to offer practical resources that would work in line with the counselling services initiated by Student Minds. As a result, we enlisted yoga, mindfulness and meditation specialists to run workshops in student halls throughout the day.

As student life can be extremely hectic it is important for students to be able to take a bit of time out for themselves to ‘reset’. Getting into the habit of practising mindfulness is a great way to help balance the pressures of a full timetable. Mindfulness requires no equipment – although there are some really good free apps available that offer short meditation sessions – it can be practised anywhere and it only takes a few minutes, making it the perfect stress releasing ‘tool’ for students to integrate into everyday life.

Mindfulness is fast becoming a way of life for people of all ages and professions, not least because it is so easy to practise whilst on the go.

Benefits of mindfulness:

 – Reduces stress

 – Decreases anxiety

 – Reduces depression

 – Decreases emotional reactivity

 – Improves clarity of thought  

 – Increases positivity

 – Boosts working memory

 – Improves ability to focus

 – Improves communication skills 

 – Offers self insight 

By developing skills to help maintain a balanced state of wellbeing students are much better equipped to manage the pressures of university life, both on- and off-campus.

Increasing awareness and ultimately ‘normalising’ mental health in the university community will undoubtedly help students and staff work together and create a solid support network. Being able to recognise the signs of mental health difficulties in themselves and others will allow students to seek help and hopefully prevent negative feelings from escalating. As a company founded on strong community values, Crystal are proud to have been involved in University Mental Health Day. We sincerely hope that the resources that we contributed to the day will help make a difference to the ongoing wellbeing of students.

www.crystalservices.uk.com