University is all about meeting new people, learning new things and finding yourself. Although, with anything, it come with some difficulties.

The amount of students looking for help for depression has more than doubled in recent years – and with funding cuts from the NHS many people are struggling to find the help they need.

Many people cope with mental illnesses in different ways, so some of these self-help tips may not be for everyone. However, here are some little ideas of how to perk yourself up when you feel like you’re struggling.

Make your bed
When you feel like everything is piling on top of you, doing little things can really help. Making your bed can be the first thing you do in the morning to make everything seem a little easier – it will also stop you from getting back into it (hopefully!)

Have a hot shower
Being clean makes everyone feel better! Getting in a nice hot shower and washing your hair will make you feel fresh as a daisy. It will also give you a burst of energy to start your day off.

Have a change of scenery
Sitting in your student accommodation or library desperately trying to meet deadlines can feel draining at times. Take yourself off to a local coffee shop to do your work, grab a drink and relax whilst completing those essays! Everything will seem so much easier.

Meditate
It might sound like I’m trying to be Buddha here, but trust me it works. Listen to some relaxing music, light a few candles and close your eyes for a couple of minutes. Meditation can take you away from the things you’re worrying about and make everything seem less stressful.

‘Stop, Breathe and Think’ is a free app which has some really helpful tips and ideas for meditation.

Listen to upbeat music
Listening to sad songs won’t make you feel any better will it? Listening to something you can sing-a-long to will make you smile and may even make you want to dance a bit. (Justin Bieber has some bangers out at the minute if you fancy a guilty pleasure!)

Make a ‘done’ list
Instead of fretting over a ‘to do’ list make yourself a ‘done’ list. No matter how little you’ve done that day – put it on there! It’s a really easy way of making yourself feel as though you have accomplished a lot during the day. Shower? Check! Food? Check! Bed made? Check!

Set yourself day-to-day goals
These don’t have to be too big, even just going to the shop or going to see your friends. It stops you from making plans based on your bad moods. Keep a day-to-day plan in a diary so you can keep track of things you need to do without it being too overwhelming.

Take up a sport or an exercise class you enjoy
Being active is key when trying to overcome most mental illnesses – especially depression and anxiety. University is probably the best place to join a sports club or start exercising! Join a sports society or the university gym, it will be cheaper than anywhere else.

Have a healthy snack
All you’re going to want to do is eat junk food and that’s fine from time to time. But when you’re feeling down in the dumps it’s better to eat a piece of fruit or something substantial to make yourself feel tonnes better.

Allow yourself to feel down
Everyone is allowed off days. Make sure you let yourself feel down, if you try and fix your mood and it doesn’t work that doesn’t mean it was all for nothing. You can always try again tomorrow.

If you ever feel like everything is on top of you and these little tips don’t help, don’t forget you’re not on your own. There are many people here in the UK that want to help you, here are some numbers you can call so you know you aren’t on your own:

  • Ring or text a friend or family member.
  • Ring SANEline, a specialist mental health helpline – 0300 304 7000 between 6pm and 11pm each evening.
  • You can ring Samaritans any time – 116 123 – they offer a listening service.
  • Ring NHS 111 by dialling 111
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