By Study Inn

At Study Inn, we care deeply about the mental health and wellbeing of students. Despite being one of the smaller luxury accommodation providers, we received a nomination and were finalists for Best Student Wellbeing (UK & Ireland) at the 2022 Global Student Living Awards. 

We know all too well that when you’re having a bad day or not feeling too hot, it makes it 100x harder to take the right actions to benefit your wellbeing. 

We also know the right surroundings can make all the difference

That’s why we do our best to make it as easy as possible for students to enrich their wellbeing by providing accommodation features such as yoga rooms and our on-site wellness spas and gyms. There’s always plenty of space to chill out or recoup after a stressful day, whatever you need to soothe your mind. 

You’ll find everything you need to take care of yourself or find support in this article.

Student wellbeing and mental health tools

According to the Mental Health Foundation, there has been a fivefold increase in students reporting mental health problems over the past decade. This means that university students are a high-risk group for mental health issues. 

Here are some activities and actions you can take to support your wellbeing:

  • Do something you enjoy
  • Get physical or break a sweat
  • Change your environment
  • Slow down and savour the moment
  • Try to reset your sleep pattern
  • Spend time with friends or housemates
  • Treat yourself and be kind
  • Spend time alone if you need to

All of the above will help you to reap the benefits that come with good wellbeing, such as:

  • A better understanding of your own health and boundaries 
  • Greater self-confidence and control
  • An improvement to your quality of life
  • A sense of belonging or feeling of security
  • Healthier relationships with yourself and others
  • Physical health improvements and the development of healthier behaviours
  • The strength to cope or deal with small stresses 
  • Better productivity and improved mental capacities
  • Clearer thinking and better decision-making skills

When to take action with your mental health

While you may not currently be experiencing mental health issues, it’s worth taking steps to improve your wellbeing now so that you can get into good habits. 

Doing so will equip you with the skills for those times when your mental health suffers. Plus, you’ll learn how to notice when your emotional and physical needs require tending to.  

However, here are some questions to ask yourself which may signal when you should act on improving your mental health: 

  • Has it been a while since you spoke to friends or family and are you distancing yourself from your housemates? 
  • Have you recently cancelled plans or noticed that you are actively withdrawing or not feeling up for social events?
  • Are you experiencing a change in appetite or eating habits?
  • Are you struggling to sleep or has your sleep pattern changed suddenly?
  • Do you feel as though your performance at university is dipping lately?
  • Are you struggling to find the energy to do everyday tasks such as taking care of your personal appearance and hygiene or brushing your teeth?

Answering “yes” to even one of these questions suggests you may need to spend some time focusing on your wellbeing.

8 things you can do to look after your wellbeing as a student

  1. Do something you enjoy or that brings you joy

Of course, this advice spans multiple activities and pastimes and will depend on your own likes and dislikes. For some students, doing something creative can help. For others, watching a film or playing a video game is cathartic. At Study Inn you can take advantage of our communal lounges with Sky TV, games and consoles. Or if you like cooking, why not grab your favourite ingredients and whip up a storm in the kitchen. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something you enjoy.

  1. Get physical or break a sweat

Exercise doesn’t have to involve a strenuous gym session, though Study Inn does provide wellness spa and gym facilities. You could do something less physical by going for a walk or doing some gentle yoga stretches. Some people prefer social sports activities, whether that’s a few games of ping pong with your mates or through a university sport or social club. Decide what’s right for you and let the stress melt away.

  1. Change your environment

Even a small change like decluttering or rearranging your room can make you feel better. But if you’re feeling up for it, get some fresh air and visit a local area of natural beauty. Research shows that there’s a correlation between happiness and nature, with people who regularly surround themselves in beautiful surroundings reporting higher levels of happiness and satisfaction in life. Perhaps your university has some nearby areas of natural beauty or green spaces you can enjoy.

  1. Slow down and savour the moment

Sometimes just taking a moment for yourself can help. Head out to a local café for a hot drink and ‘people watch’ or make use of our on-site spa facilities such as our hot beds and steam room. Meditation and breathing techniques can also be useful, make use of an app if you need some guidance. Mindfulness can be another great way to reset your thinking, check out this useful TED talk on Mindfulness Made Easy.

  1. Try to reset your sleep pattern

If you’re struggling to sleep, try to do something relaxing before bed such as reading and make it a habit, along with your bed and wake up times. Sticking to a pattern can be hard at first, but those who get regular sleep often perform better during the day. Reduce your screen time before you sleep and write down anything you need to do or journal your day so that it is easier to switch off and fall asleep.

  1. Spend time with friends or housemates

If you find spending time with other people relaxing or energising, arrange to hang out with some friends or for something closer to home, look no further than your housemates. Feeling connected to other people can help you feel less alone. Arrange to do something fun together or just have a catch up. Even studying together can help you to feel less overwhelmed as you can all support each other. 

  1. Treat yourself and be kind

Whether it’s your favourite takeaway, some bath bombs from Lush or a new book to lose yourself in, treat yourself to something you like. Try to keep it under £20 so as not to exacerbate any financial worries but remember to be kind to yourself once in a while. We often surprise others with gifts or gestures when they’re feeling low, so spread that kindness to yourself because you deserve it too. 

  1. Spend time alone if you need to

While you shouldn’t completely isolate yourself from others, introverted people are more likely to benefit from some time alone. Ensure your surroundings are safe, secure and comfortable. Put up some fairy lights, climb into your comfiest loungewear and binge a Netflix show. Or pop your headphones in and curl up with a good book. Don’t feel guilty for turning down social events if you feel you need to. The eventual burnout from saying “yes” to everything will soon catch up with you otherwise. 

Student wellbeing resources 

The following is a list of useful student wellbeing and mental health services, websites and tools, including what universities in the cities that Study Inn operate in can offer:

Study Inn location-specific student wellbeing and counselling services

At all of our Study Inn locations you can make the most of student wellbeing activities as we can provide recommendations, helpful blog posts and advice on some places to explore in the local area or the best restaurants. 

For instance, at our Leicester accommodation, we have recommendations for some fantastic student getaways and day trips from Leicester should you want to search out some stunning surroundings to improve your mood and your wellbeing. 

The link between student mental health and accommodation

In 2019, there was a report summarising a round table discussion on the strongs ties between student accommodation environments and mental health. Of course, this report was before the past few years which have since involved a global pandemic, war and an ongoing cost of living crisis; the impacts of which are all still being felt today. 

This collective trauma surrounding recent and current events is challenging for everyone. However, students in particular are often dismissed, with the vast majority of society assuming that students are all out having fun and don’t take things too seriously. 

What many fail to recognise is that students are under huge pressure to succeed. In addition, financial woes for students exacerbated by increased living costs and social pressure can dramatically impact their wellbeing. 

The National Union of Students Policy Lead & Programme Manager of Welfare, Fleur Priest-Stephens commented that:

“The costs associated with attending university leads to a massive pressure to achieve, particularly when many entry level jobs require a 2:1 grade degree or above from students. So there is the pressure of financial stress and academic stress, the cost of living and the feeling of living in relative poverty”.

Another report on the role that accommodation plays in student mental health from the University of Liverpool presents some fascinating insight from students all of which stressed the importance of their personal space being a home away from home. However, some comments were concerning:

“I can’t call here ‘home’ and I can’t call home ‘home’ anymore. I’m a lost soul somewhere in the middle”.

Understanding that students can often feel lost during a transitional period of their lives and being aware that international students will often face an additional hurdle when it comes to making their living space feel like home, is why Study Inn strives to provide student accommodation with additional luxuries and features to promote a sense of belonging, community and security.  

If you’re interested in staying in our luxury student accommodation, check out our locations below: 

Getting help now

If you feel overwhelmed or need help, use some of the tips provided above and reach out to someone. Most universities have counselling services and mental health policies in place. Remember, you’re never alone and whatever you’re going through, it will pass. 

But if you need to speak to someone urgently or are concerned about your mental health or wellbeing, contact your GP or NHS 111 for advice. Or if you are having a mental health crisis, you can call a local NHS mental health helpline for 24/7 support and advice: Find your local NHS urgent mental health helpline.


Impact of Accommodation Environments on Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Report

The role of accommodation environments in student mental health and wellbeing

QS – Why student accommodation should be a priority  

ONS (Office for Students) – Student wellbeing and Protection  

The role of accommodation environments in student mental health and wellbeing paper (University of Liverpool)