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The University of Southampton
Enabling ServicesPart of Student Services

Looking after yourself

Wellbeing refers to a state of feeling good and functioning well. Studying at University can be stressful, and under pressure anyone can start to feel less good and function less well.

Here you will find practical advice about ways to achieve or maintain a sense of wellbeing that can be the foundation of a happy and productive life as a student.


Mood Self-Assessment

We can all feel low, anxious or panicky from time to time. Check your mood using this simple questionnaire and get advice on what might help. If you would like to discuss your results, why not consider visiting the Enabling Services Drop-In, or emailing .

content provided by NHS Choices

First, remember the basics, which apply to everyone: eat a balanced diet (5 a day), drink plenty of water, exercise and get enough sleep.

There is growing evidence about what contributes towards wellbeing. To read more, visit this important NHS website which has detailed explanations about what we mean by wellbeing and many suggestions for things you can do.

It has been said that wellbeing is something you do, not something you "get", but the evidence is that if you follow a programme of five key steps you will find yourself "doing wellbeing" in meaningful and effective ways.

The five steps to mental wellbeing recommended by the NHS on the basis of evidence are connect; be active; keep learning; give to others; and take notice. Try them out for yourself, with an open mind.


Connect with those around you: spend time building up your relationships with friends, partners, fellow students, and neighbours.  For new students at university this can be a challenge because you have probably moved away from your friends and family.  What are some of the ways you can start to connect with others?  Sharing lunch or a coffee and a chat, going out together, visiting a friend or volunteering are all good ways to deepen your connections with other people.

Be active

Activity protects against depression and anxiety. You don't have to go to the gym. A wide range of everyday activities counts as being active. Go for a walk. Ride a bike. Do an easily accessible sport such as swimming. Dance is another great way to be active, and so are martial arts and team sports. The NHS Get Active for mental wellbeing website has more great ideas.

Keep learning

This shouldn't be a problem now you are a student, but sometimes too much routine may limit the range of your experience. Discovering something new may give you a sense of achievement and more confidence. Learn to cook a new dish, play an instrument,  or develop a practical skill. Try visiting an art gallery (the John Hansard),  going to the theatre (the Nuffield), or a concert (the Turner Sims) - all at Highfield Campus.


Giving or contributing to others not only helps them, but can also have a positive effect on the giver.  Small things matter. A smile, a thank you or a kind word can help someone enjoy their day. Some people get a sense of wellbeing through volunteering their time, perhaps in one of the many student societies and clubs at the University, or within the wider community. Giving, whether it's a small act of kindness or a big commitment to others, will help both the recipient and you on the path to wellbeing.

Take notice

Take notice of the present moment - your own thoughts and feelings, your body, and the world around you. Learn how to spend less energy dwelling on the past and the future, and learn instead how to be in the present, without feeling the need to do anything or fix a problem. This is often called mindfulness, and there is strong evidence of its benefits. Mindfulness may help you relax and enjoy life more. Like the other five steps, learning to be more mindful cannot be achieved overnight. It takes time, but it may change your life. The University runs workshops and courses on mindfulness.

The Students Union runs activities all the time, and is the point of contact for finding out about hundreds of student-run clubs and societies.

Wellbeing days and events are arranged at intervals throughout the student calendar. An example is the popular "petting zoo" which may appear on the student concourse at exam time.

Sport and Wellbeing operate a range of sports activities and facilities on campus and around the city.

Enabling Services run workshops and groups on mindfulness and other topics.

In the Halls of Residence, Junior Common Rooms (JCRs) run their own programmes of social activities.

If you are feeling distressed and far away from a state of wellbeing, perhaps because of anxiety or low mood, you may wish to come to the Enabling Services drop-in sessions for a chat with an advisor.

Audio podcasts

Free audio podcasts to help you relax and improve your sense of wellbeing.

On-line reading

Subscription-based on-line books designed to communicate key points that can help you change things around quickly.

NHS Choices: wellbeing resources

Articles explaining mental wellbeing and the steps that can help you achieve it.

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