Mental Health Awareness: Mindful Movement in Your Daily Postgrad Life | FindAPhD.com
Posted on 17 May '24

Mental Health Awareness: Mindful Movement in Your Daily Postgrad Life

A Masters or PhD is hard work and postgraduate life can get stressful. It can be tough balancing life with the demands of your degree which is why it is important to take conscious time out to take care of your mental health.

This Mental Health Awareness Week we’re concentrating on the importance of movement in safeguarding your mental health. We’ve put together some simple ways you can incorporate movement in your daily postgraduate life without taking too much time away from your studies. Maree, who studied a Graduate Diploma in Law with BPP Law School, and Taru, who studied Global Journalism at the University of Sheffield, tell us how they made sure they kept up with exercise when they were students.

Join university clubs and gyms

It can be difficult finding the motivation when you’re just trying to work out on your own. However, most universities have clubs you can join. They’re a great way to keep in touch with your hobbies, learn something new and meet students outside just your class and dorm.

Exercise related clubs can range from walking, running, yoga, sports or dance; there is always something for everyone.

University clubs are usually run by other students and facilitated by the Student’s Union so there might be a little fee to join and attend sessions, but they’re likely to be lower than costs of workout classes elsewhere.

“As I worked whilst doing my degree part time, I didn’t have a lot of free time. However, because I worked on the campus it was easier for me to take advantage of the clubs straight after work before I got home to study. I took up belly dancing which was run by one of the academics and was great fun! It got me moving but also worked my brain to learn and remember choreography.” – Maree

If you’d rather exercise on your own schedule, most universities also have gyms and swimming pools which usually offer free or cheaper entry to students. They are usually open to the general public as well so you can continue even after graduating! However, once you’re no longer a student, you might have to pay the full fee.

Walk to lectures

A very simple way to get some movement in is to walk to your lectures and university library instead of taking the bus or driving. If you live close to the campus, it’s easier to incorporate some walking into your daily life, but it’s not impossible even if you live outside the city centre. If you’re taking the bus, consider getting off a few stops early and walking the rest of the way or if you’re driving, consider parking slightly further away so you can get those steps in.

“I lived about a 30-minute walk away from the university campus. Whether it was for a lecture or a study session at the library, I would try and walk in as often as I could. It would be my time to get my thoughts together before a long study session or listen to music and just decompress. Walking really slowed my day down which was very important when my mind was running at a hundred miles an hour. I’ve kept up with that habit and now I walk into work daily as well.” – Taru

We do appreciate that walking is not an option every time which brings us to our next point of dedicating some time every day for a workout at home.

Do simple exercises at home

You’re likely to spend most of your time on your Masters or PhD doing self-study. And, if you’re spending most of your self-study time at home, it is easy to lose track of how long you’ve been hunched in front of a computer screen.

Remember to take frequent breaks, even if it takes putting a reminder on your phone every so often!

Consider incorporating a short workout at home. This could be something simple like walking around your living room while doing some essential reading or a guided workout session. If you’re less able to move, some simple stretches and chair exercises can go a long way too.

There are tonnes of video tutorials available online and it’s worth checking if your university has any online classes or resources as well. Gyms and instructors are also likely to have guided sessions via video call. It can be a cheaper alternative to travelling to the gym.

Looking after your mental health is not a one-size-fits-all and you should always do what works best for you, but we hope this blog has given you some inspiration. If you’re struggling at university please talk to your tutors, supervisors or the university wellbeing service. We have more information on university support services in our guide.

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Last Updated: 17 May 2024