All posts by bta61

5 Ways to Wellbeing during Exam Season

During exam season it is important to ensure that you continue to take good care of your wellbeing. Practicing self-care is a great way to sustain a healthy wellbeing and to give yourself a break whilst studying.

Try implementing these 5 simple actions into your daily life, to help build resilience and boost your wellbeing. These actions are known as the 5 Ways to Wellbeing:

Connect

Take some time out from your studies to connect. Connecting with others is a great way to boost your mood and improve your wellbeing. There are so many ways to connect including spending time with friends or family, checking in on your neighbour, or hanging out with your pets.

Be Active

Go outside and be active. We spend a lot of time sitting in front of screens and studying, so it’s important that we remember to get outside and be active. Choose a physical activity that you enjoy – that way you‘ll have more fun! Going for a walk, dancing, swimming and running are just a few examples of ways to be active.

Keep Learning

Learn something new separate from your studies. As students, we spend a lot of time learning, but it’s important to take a break to learn something completely different to what we study. Learning new things helps you to become more confident and is a great excuse to have some fun. So go on try something new, you never know you could be a pro.

Give

Give is all about giving to others, it feels good and is a simple and rewarding way to enhance your wellbeing. There are heaps of ways that you can give to others including, donating your time to a charity, offering to go shopping for a neighbour, or becoming involved in a community group.

Take Notice

Exam season is a busy time, therefore it is important to take some time out to take notice. Take notice of your surroundings, of the changing seasons, and how you are feeling. Yoga, meditation and deep breathing are some great ways that you can become more mindful and aware of the world around you.

Tips for eating well during exam time

During periods of stress and fatigue we often rely on ‘comforting’ foods to boost our energy (think, cakes, chocolate, candy, and chips). These foods may provide a short burst of energy but can later send our body and mind on a sugar-fuelled rollercoaster due to the lack of nutrients and feeling of satiety.

A diet that lacks the essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium can lead to poor functioning of the brain. To increase your levels of iron white beans, organ meats, soybeans, spinach and lentils are a good place to start. Some less known sources of iron include fortified breakfast cereals and dark chocolate.

It is even more important to ensure you are nourishing your body and mind with nutritious foods during exam season as these micronutrients get depleted at a high rate during times of stress. Choosing a trail mix over a bag of chips or carrot sticks and hummus over a bag of lollies are ways to ensure you are optimising your intake of micronutrients. Aim to eat different types and colours of food. Loading up your plate with greens, oranges, reds and purples before comfort foods like cakes and biscuits is a sure way to improve your energy levels and save money.

Check out these tips below to ensure you eat your best over the exam period:

  • Try to avoid skipping meals as it will only lead to over eating later in the day. Eating at regular intervals throughout the day will ensure a steady supply of glucose/energy throughout your day of study/exams.
  • Meal prep as much as you can. This doesn’t mean you have to prepare 5 lots of one meal and eat it until you are bored to tears. Instead meal prep individual foods so that you can mix and prepare them on the day
  • Time is precious so choose quick meals and prepare in the morning or the night before, this way you are fully stocked at the library and avoid buying food from the vending machine or uber eats!
  • Keep hydrated, aiming to drink 0.33x your body weight each day.

Click here to find 10 top tips for healthy eating during exams.

To read more about what to eat before an exam and nutrition tips for brain health click here.

For an insight on what foods help our brain study click here.

Reflections on Mental Health Awareness Week

Last week was NZ Mental Health Awareness Week, and to celebrate a variety of events and activities were held on campus including:

  • The Wellbeing Expo at Haere-Roa, where we had various entertainment, food, gave away 100 self care-care bags and a chance to enter a prize draw
  • Lunchtime seminars on “The Importance of Sleep for Wellbeing”, “Wellbeing – Supporting Your Own and Others” and “Nutrition for Wellbeing; Practical Suggestions for improving mental health under stress”
  • A chance to “take a mate for coffee” with a buy 1 get 1 free deal at participating cafes around UC

The Wellbeing Expo was a success with hundreds of staff and students joining in with the entertainment, food and fun. Our Vice Chancellor | Tumu Whakarae Cheryl de la Rey and a class of kindergarten children came along and all had a go on the trampoline.

The other events also saw a large numbers of attendees – participating cafes of “Take a Mate for Coffee” were run off their feet, and the lunchtime seminars attracted a variety of students and staff who all engaged with the sessions.

Congratulations to the winners of the prize draw!!

Massage voucher 1            Stephanie Stuart

Massage voucher 2            Krissy Blom

TEU $100 UBS Voucher  Janandi Schnetler

Mt John dinner and tour  Penny Earle

DoTerra Oil Kit                      Glenda Irving

Himalayan Salt Lamp         Jeni Clayton-Smith

My Food Bag Voucher      Courtney

A shout out to say thanks:

Thank you to the fabulous lunchtime presenters, Professor Neville Blampied, Professor Katharina Naswall and Professor Julia Rucklidge, who kindly donated their time to share their words of wisdom on Wellbeing.

Thank you to all the vendors who attended the Wellbeing expo and to the sponsors who provided prizes for the draw which included; Massage Vouchers for Port Hills Massage Therapy, $100 UBS voucher and mindfulness colouring book donated by the TEU, 2 tickets to Mount John Observatory for a tour and dinner donated by UC Alumni, $172 voucher for 5 days My Food Bag for 4 people, a DoTerra oil kit from Jodie O’Neill and a Himalayan Salt Lamp from Sarah Bendall.

Finally, thank you to the Mental Health Awareness Week Planning Team this week would not have been possible without their dedication and support. The Wellbeing Expo came to fruition as a result of the team being awarded one of the 2020’s UC Health, Safety and Wellbeing Initiative Awards.

Key reflections from this week

This week has reminded us that mental health isn’t just something for us to pay attention to one week of the year, rather it’s something that should be front of mind every day. At any time our own and others’ mental health can change. For that reason, it’s important that we listen to our feelings and take notice of those around us, and never be afraid to ask for help.

There are loads of great resources available to support our Wellbeing including our very own UC Wellbeing Hub. Have a read and keep it tucked in your ‘toolbox’, ready to get out when you need it, any time of the year.