World Friendship Day

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Tuesday 30 July marks World Friendship Day. World Friendship Day (WFD) is a good day to show your friends how much they mean to you.
Human beings have always been sociable creatures and valued the importance of having friends. A solid friendship is formed through bonding, spending quality time together and doing that all-important communicating. Doing this can improve our mental and physical health.
Friendships can make your life stress free and help promote brain health as well as making better lifestyle choices that keep us strong.

WFD is celebrated around the world since it was founded in 1930. It’s a day not only for celebrating friendships but to inspire peace throughout the world.

What can we achieve together?

  • Allowing friends to get together and celebrate each other.
  • Rekindle old friendships.
  • Remind ourselves of the diversity of people around the world.
  • Bridge gaps between race, religion and sexuality that divide us.

World Friendship Day

It’s important to have a good support system and someone you know you can trust when studying at university. Studies have suggested that the healthier your relationships are with your friend’s links to better physical and mental health. Unhealthy relationships make us feel stressed, which is the last thing you need whilst studying.
What you can do on this day:

  • Celebrate a beautiful friendship with a self-care package.
  • Plan a day out to celebrate friendship.
  • Send a heartfelt note to celebrate friendship day.
  • Make a healthy brunch for your bestie.
  • Hug your friends more.
  • Do things you both loved doing.
  • Most importantly have fun in what you do to celebrate this day.

Raising Awareness One blog at a Time.

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With this week (May 13-19) being Mental health awareness week, we wanted to cover something we may all experience on a daily basis:

Anxiety; you have probably heard of it, that feeling of worry, fear or unease in both physical and emotional sensations. Let’s begin our awareness journey by addressing some of the signs and symptoms:

  • Tense muscles and headaches
  • Faster breathing
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Eating problems
  • Feeling numb
  • Feeling your mind is busy with thoughts
  • Dwelling on negative experiences, or thinking over a situation again and again
  • Feeling restless and not being able to concentrate
  • Feeling tense, nervous and on edge
  • Having a sense of dread or fearing the worst

With a busy and draining time approaching, we thought we would share some tips on how to ease those anxiety’s and get you through the other end:

  • Take a time-out. Try yoga, meditation or put on your favourite music. Get a massage or take a walk.
  • Eat well-balanced meals. Energy boosting fuel will get you through those late-night revision sessions.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine. Avoid the caffeine, the nights out and get some rest.
  • Get enough sleep. When stressed, you need a good amount of sleep to feel rested and ready for the day.
  • Exercise daily. It can improve sleep, mood, energy levels and self-esteem.
  • Take deep breaths. Before you enter a room take 10 deep breaths and see how different you feel when entering.
  • Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if you need to.
  • Do your best. Be proud however close you get, sometimes striving for perfection is a hindrance.
  • Welcome humour. Have a giggle with your friends!
  • Maintain a positive attitude. Try to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts when you can.
  • Learn what triggers your anxiety. Write down in a journal when you feel anxious and what is causing it, then you can look for patterns.
  • Talk to someone. Invite your friends round for dinner or meet up for coffee. Don’t be alone.

If you are feeling like your anxiety is too much to handle by yourself, please feel free to speak to your GP or come and see the team at reception and we can help refer you to someone in the write place.

If you have found this blog helpful and would like to read more we have put together, why not view our blog about Stress Awareness.

How to Marie Kondo your Studio

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Japanese organisation consultant, Marie Kondo has taken the internet by storm following two best sellers and a Netflix series, encouraging lots of helpful rituals. It seems very unlikely that someone could ever inspire a passion for cleaning, but she has! Marie has over 10 years’ experience, so she seems pretty trustworthy, whilst her values are highly commendable.

If you have no idea who Marie Kondo is, you have lots of procrastination ahead of you. Marie takes a minimalist approach to the things we own, revolting against the unsustainable consumerist cycle the West have tumbled into. In her Netflix series, she visits families who haven’t managed to get on top of organising their stuff and often haven’t got enough space for the items they have collected. Marie graciously helps them whilst providing helpful tips which ultimately change their lives! It is a heart-warming and inspirational show.

Whilst our rooms are generous and comfortable, we could all do with some de cluttering to aid our relaxation and to spur productivity.

5 Tips to make your studio, Marie Kondo worthy:

  1. Go through every material possession and ask yourself Marie’s iconic catchphrase ‘does this spark joy’? If it does not spark joy, put it in a pile which you can donate to charity, there is a Trinity Hospice charity shop nearby which is a tremendous cause.
  2. Unlike many other lessons we’ve learnt in life, Marie Kondo does not stand by the coined phrase ‘little and often’; instead, she wants you to do it all at once so that you are not ‘tidying forever’. Once you begin, you will get into the hang of it and it will be much less daunting than you anticipated – I promise.
  3. Treat your items with respect. Especially in London, it is easy to get into a consumerist mindset and continually purchase unnecessary objects. Kondo believes that every item should be respected and treated as someone with a spirit or a life of its own. In turn, this should help you to value what you have and truly enjoy it rather than jumping at the next opportunity to replace it.
  4. Instead of tidying drawer by drawer, Marie suggest tidying in categories which she believes is more time efficient. She also suggests starting with clothes as they’re the least emotionally sentimental.
  5. Don’t get nostalgic. A spring clean can spring a familiar procrastination – reminiscence. Finding old toys or objects can bring up lots of emotions however if you indulge, you will be there a long, long time. Be cut throat: if it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it!

Best of all, the benefits don’t just end with a tidy room. This method means you will rediscover items you will fall in love with again, it has been proven to improve your sleep and increase levels of serotonin, you could raise money for charity through your donation and by valuing what you have and buying less you will also be nurturing the environment which is being increasingly damaged by the fast fashion industry.

Furthermore, it presents the perfect opportunity to invite friends round so you can take pride in where you live and ultimately, show off.

Quick tips to keep calm as a student

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Whether it’s assignment deadlines, upcoming exams or living with others, there are many factors of student life than can make you feel stressed. But there are some things you can do to help you stay calm and focused throughout your day.

1. Clear your mind

student-stressed-at-computer

If you’re feeling stressed, the best way to begin overcoming your worries is to first lay out everything that’s bothering you. Grab yourself a pen and some paper and clear your mind by writing things down. Doing this means you can look at everything and clearly prioritise your tasks by factors such as importance and urgency. This exercise will help you feel on top of your to-dos, rather than your mind working in over drive and feeling overwhelmed.

2. Go green

workspace-with-plant

If you’ve got work to do, be sure to surround yourself with some plants. Not only will plants help to purify the air in your workspace, but they’re actually very soothing and will help to keep you calm. Meaning the addition of plants to your working environment can make you more productive and less stressed. Having some greenery in your room will also add some colour, brighten the room and make it feel homelier.

3. Take a walk

student-walking-in-london

Taking some time out away from your work, room or flatmates will give you an opportunity to reflect on what’s worrying you and allow you to have some ‘me’ time. It’s also a great way to help your body release endorphins as a result of exercise. Endorphins are chemicals released by the brain that trigger positive feelings and can help to give you a better outlook on your worries – leaving you feeling optimistic and able to tackle your work when you return.

4. Take your time

student-checking-time-on-watch

Rushing from one task or place to the next can contribute to feeling stressed as a student. Whether you’re walking to a lecture or meeting friends, if you know it takes you 20 minutes to get there, why not allow yourself 30 minutes to travel instead. Arriving at your destination with time to spare will help keep you calm and reduce any unwanted stress due to lateness; the spare time will also give you time to make yourself comfortable before a lecture starts for example.

5. Know your deadlines

Close-up-Of-A-Woman-Writing-Schedule

Time pressure can be a major cause of stress. But being aware of your deadlines can help you plan ahead and figure out what you need to do and by when. Having all your deadlines clearly laid out means you won’t receive any nasty surprises or end up doing all-nighters because you’ve forgotten about a piece of work and have to finish it last minute!

If you’re feeling stressed at university, try some of the above tips, but also remember to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Whether it’s a friend, family member, flat mate, university staff or a member of the Host team, if something’s wrong, don’t keep it bottled up.

Looking for student accommodation in London for September 2019? Rooms still available at The Hub. Please contact us for more information on +44(0)20 3770 9120 or at thehub@host-students.com.  

5 apps for university students

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It’s quite common these days for students to have a smartphone or tablet on them whilst studying at university or college. So, if you do, why not fully utilise your device by downloading some useful apps that will make student life easier, cheaper and much more fun? Below are our top picks of the types of apps that you will find helpful as a student; and the best thing is they’re free to use!

1. Lecture capture
Gone are the days where you have to spend the whole lecture crazily scribbling down everything the lecturer says or shows you on a notepad. Instead, there are apps available that allow you to record audio, meaning you can sit back and listen to the lecture without worrying that you’ll miss or forget vital information. Apps such as SuperNotes, Evernote and Noted not only record audio but they also allow you to type notes, capture photos and tag specific parts of recordings so you can easily find what you’re looking for when listening back over recordings at a later date. It’s the easier, quicker and more efficient way to not only capture information, but to keep it organised and all together.

2. Revision
Whilst trawling through your lecture notes and highlighting extracts from text books is a good way to refresh your memory of what you’ve learnt over the year, it’s not the most exciting way to revise. But fear not, there are apps out there that make revising much more interactive and fun. From mind maps and flowcharts, to flashcards and quizzes, there are ways you can turn your revision notes into a much more visual and memorable experience. An app such as GoConqr is a great one to use at it encompasses all of these features and much more!

3. Student planner
Keeping track of everything you need to do can be a balancing act as a student. You’ve got lectures, tutorials and one-to-one meetings to attend, group projects, assignments and reading to complete, and then of course there’s the social side of student life to fit in as well. It’s just as well there are many task management and to-do list apps that can help keep you organised and on-top of all your to-dos. Using a task app allows you to get everything out of your head and in one place so you can clearly focus on what needs to be done. Apps such as Wunderlist, Todoist and Trello are all great examples that allow you to add tasks to a calendar, set reminders, add notes, photos and documents, and set priorities so you know exactly what you’ve got to do and when.

4. Fitness
Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or you’re new to the fitness scene and want to improve your health, there’s so many apps out there than can help you. Keep count of your steps when you’re walk to and from university, track your runs and map out new routes, monitor your heart-rate, learn new exercises with step-by-step guides, follow set workout plans and much more. Some of our favourite apps include Strava, Nike+ Training Club and Sworkit.

5. Healthy eating
Being a student doesn’t just have to be pot noodles and takeaways. Why not head to the kitchen and cook up some delicious snacks and meals for yourself? Download apps such as Allrecipes and BBC Good Food with meal suggestions and step-by-step recipes that are not only healthy, but they’re quick and easy to make; so you don’t have to be a professional cook to make them. And if you’re being good and want to watch what you eat, you can keep a diary and track your food using an app such as MyFitnessPal.

If you’re a student studying at university or college in London for 2019/20 and need a place to live, then why not stay with us here at The Hub? Contact us to find out more about our student accommodation and life at The Hub. 

5 security tips for students

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You’ve just got your results, you’re starting university and you’re moving to a new home. There’s a lot going on and your mind is probably all over the place. You’ll be thinking about meeting new friends, finding your way around the city and making sure you have everything you need for when lectures begin. One of the last things on your mind might be to question how secure your belongings are.

Of course, if you’re living in student accommodation such as that provided by Host, you’ll find an on-site management team including maintenance staff who are available to help keep the site safe and secure. And combined with electronic door entry systems, intercoms and CCTV, we aim to ensure that everyone who lives with us enjoys a high standard of security and the safest possible environment 24/7.

However, our security is only as good as the residents who live with us, so we’ve pulled together some simple safety steps for you to follow to help improve the level of security at our accommodation:

  1. Burglaries can happen because doors or windows are left open. So, when you’re leaving your accommodation always make sure you close windows and lock doors behind you as you head out – don’t make it easy for someone to get in!
  2. When you’re not in your room or flat, don’t leave any money or valuable items such as phones or laptops on display. Keep them hidden and out of sight so anyone looking to break in will struggle to find anything of value.
  3. Keep your keys and fob into the building and your room on your person at all times and don’t lend them to anyone else. If you lose your keys and/or fob, you should report it to reception immediately so that the access can be cancelled, and replacement ones can be issued.
  4. If you’re accessing the building or flat, it’s only natural to hold the door open for the person coming in behind you. But you shouldn’t allow for anyone you don’t know to follow you into the building/flat/room.
  5. If you’re bringing a bike to university with you, be sure to secure it in the designated bicycle storage area at your accommodation. Even if it is kept in the bicycle storage area, you should still keep it locked up with a quality lock to minimise the chances of it being stolen.

We wish you the best of luck for starting university and settling into student life. If you have any questions about our student accommodation or living with Host, contact us and our friendly team will be happy to help.

Stress Awareness Month; keeping your stress levels in check

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As April is Stress Awareness Month, we’re sharing some advice and tips on managing stress. In our earlier blog post, we looked at some of the signs and causes of stress. And now, we’re looking at some of the things you can do that will help to keep your stress levels in check.

1. Keep a stress diary

Whenever you feel yourself becoming stressed or experience anxious moments, write it down. Keeping a record of these moments will help to identify the causes of your stress and the situations that increase your stress levels, which can help you to prepare for them and manage them well.

When logging your experiences, you should include the following details:

  • Date and time
  • Details of the event that caused you to feel stressed
  • The level of stress on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the highest level of stress)
  • Your reaction / how you felt e.g. headache, raised heart rate, anger, sick, etc.
  • Your coping response / how you handled the situation

Download our stress diary template.

2. Manage your money

Coping with financial strain – such as paying bills, and even knowing how much money you have to spend each month, is something that can cause a great deal of stress for individuals.

To help reduce stress related to money, it’s important to know how much money you have and where your money is being spent. Create a monthly budget to keep track of your monthly income and expenditure. Having this, you’ll be able to gain a clearer focus on where your money is going, how much money you can save and how much disposable income you have each month. If you need to make savings, you can look at all of your monthly outgoings to see if all are essential and whether or not any cutbacks can be made.

3. Plan your time

As a student, there may be times during your studies where you find yourself under pressure – especially as workload increases and deadlines and exams approach. But there are things you can do in advance that will help you to make better use of your time and be more efficient with your work – and ultimately ease the pressure:

  • Write to do lists – get everything out of your head and on paper so you can clearly see everything that needs to be done – nothing will be forgotten!
  • Prioritise tasks by importance and urgency – don’t spend a long time on tasks that aren’t that important and similarly, don’t start with tasks that aren’t due for a few weeks. Instead, complete tasks that are most important and urgent first.
  • Share tasks if possible
  • Take action sooner rather than later – don’t put things off; the longer you sit on a task and procrastinate about it, the harder you’ll find it. You might convince yourself it’s a difficult task but in reality, once you get started on it, it’s not that bad.
  • Set steps and goals – instead of tackling a job head on – which can be quite daunting, break it down into smaller, more manageable steps and tasks.

4. Talk to someone

Sometimes, simply expressing how you feel and ‘offloading’ your feelings to someone can make you feel a whole lot better and can take a real weight off your shoulders. Whether it’s a friend, family member or even someone through an emotion support line, there’s always someone you can talk to. You can also pop into reception and chat to the team here at The Hub. We’ll also be able to help you get in contact with someone from your university if you’re feeling stressed.

5. Make lifestyle changes

There are small changes you can make to your day-to-day life that will help to improve your wellbeing and reduce stress.

  • Limit your caffeine intake – caffeine can make stress worse in some people. Reducing your intake of caffeine may also help to improve your sleep!
  • Eat a balanced diet – it is good for your mental and physical health!
  • Exercise – can help to relieve stress and keep you healthy. Try cycling, walking or going to the gym. Maybe look into your university sports teams. Doing some cleaning can also be a good way for some quick exercise.
  • Get some sleep – lack of sleep can make mental health problems worse. Try talking to a doctor if you a struggling with sleep or it may be trying to establish a new routine.
  • Do something nice for yourself every day – do something because you want to, not because you have to. Read a book, watch a film or go out for dinner, do something you enjoy!
  • Relaxation – try meditation, aromatherapy or yoga – they’re all shown to relieve and prevent stress.

If you have any questions or would like a little more information, the Host team at The Hub will be happy to help you in finding information which may help you to relieve any stress.

Stress Awareness Month; Identifying stress

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Stress; you’ve probably heard of it, and may have even felt it, but what exactly is it? Stress is defined as being under too much mental or emotional pressure. When you’re stressed, hormones in your body increase to help your body deal with pressure, they return to normal once the pressure has passed. Being continuously under stress can have a very negative impact on your body and mind.

And as April is Stress Awareness Month, we wanted to share with you some information which might help you to manage your stress levels.

But first thing’s first, how do you know if you, or someone you know, is stressed? Sometimes, it’s not always obvious that someone is suffering from stress. Although there are physical signs of stress, those suffering from stress can often mentally feel/think and behave differently too – which can be much harder to identify.

Physical signs of stress:

  • Headaches
  • Stomach problems
  • Feeling tired or dizzy
  • Dry mouth
  • Shortness of breath

Mental signs of stress:

  • Worrying about the future
  • Being forgetful
  • Not concentrating
  • Feeling irritable
  • Making mistakes
  • Feeling low

Behavioural signs of stress:

  • Crying
  • Eating more or less
  • Biting your nails
  • Problems sleeping
  • Drinking or smoking more

Causes of stress

Identifying and understanding what’s causing you to be stressed, can help with finding a solution to manage and reduce it. Below are some common situations and events which may cause stress:

  • Money worries
  • Being bullied
  • Health issues
  • Not having a routine
  • Moving home
  • Having a job interview
  • Someone close to you passing away

Stress affects people in different ways, and some people may be more affected than others. For example, someone might put a lot of pressure on themselves because they should be able to do something, but they can’t.

Although worrying about a problem or situation isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it may actually help in planning to resolve and overcome an issue, more often than not, people tend to focus too much on the negatives. You may worry about things that might never happen or cannot be changed. This worry can lead to feeling stressed.

Stress and mental illness

If you’re suffering with a mental illness, this could lead to stress. Below are some examples of why this could be:

  • Spending too much money when you are unwell and you get into debt.
  • You don’t get on well with your doctor or anyone involved in your care
  • You are worried about the side effects of your medication

Stress alongside a mental health issue can make symptoms of your illness worse. If the cause of your stress is ongoing this could lead to anxiety and depression. To help forget about their stresses many people drink alcohol and take drugs as a short-term solution, but this can make your mental health a lot worse.

The above are just some of the signs, symptoms and causes of stress. If you’re suffering from stress, there are things you can do to positively respond to stress and help reduce your stress levels. Look out for our next blog post, as we’ll be looking at ways to keep your stress levels in check.

Making the most of your Easter break at university

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Semester two can be busy and stressful at times. You may have had exams back in January, assignments to complete and the dreaded dissertations and end of year exams looming. So, with the Easter holidays just around the corner, a short break from university will be a welcome one. And whilst you probably can’t wait to put your feet up and stuff your face with chocolate eggs, there’s so much more you can be doing to make the most of your free time. Below are just some of the things you could do…

Revise
Ok, so it might not be the most exciting thing to do with your time off, but definitely one of the most important. With no lectures and classes to attend, you can start your revision with no distractions. Even if you don’t start revising properly, doing things such as organising your lecture notes, creating a study plan and downloading past exam papers will all be a good starting point to get ready for those upcoming exams.

Make memories
For many students, finishing university often means leaving your city of study and relocating elsewhere – whether it’s moving back to your home town, taking a gap year or moving to another city for work. So, if you’re in your final year and are getting ready to leave, it’s time to get out and embrace the city now. Have you seen all corners of the city and done everything you’ve wanted to do? Be a tourist for the day, do the sightseeing and learn the history. But don’t forget all the quirky little things too – row a boat on the lake, drink a cocktail from the poshest bar and eat a meal from the city’s most famous takeaway shop. After all, the city you went to uni in is a place you’ll probably remember for a very long time.

Get out and be active
Embracing your revision over the holidays is great, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole day, every day of the holidays stuck inside revising. The Easter holidays also marks the start of Spring, which means lighter nights and (hopefully) warmer days too. So, whether it’s a gentle stroll into town, a run through the park or a bike ride around the city, step outside and enjoy the fresh Spring air. After exercising and some time out, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle that revision when you return to your desk!

Volunteer
If you’ve got some free time over the holidays, why not spend some time volunteering? From working in the local charity shop or mentoring younger adults, to fundraising at university or helping out at the annual half marathon event in your city, there’s something for everyone and all interests. And besides the fact your helping others, there are a whole host of benefits you can gain from volunteering. Take a look at the Host blog for more.

Visit family and friends
Make the most of the extended break from university and take a trip home to visit your family. You might not have seen them since the Christmas holidays, so it’ll be great to catch up with them and of course enjoy a home cooked, hearty meal. Old school friends may also be back from university visiting their families, so it’ll be the perfect opportunity to all catch up, exchange uni stories and reminisce about the good times.

No matter what you have planned for the holidays, it’s important to take some time out and recharge your batteries ready for the final few weeks of term.

Starting university in London this September, or continuing with your studies in the city? Make yourself at home with our all-inclusive student accommodation at The Hub in London. For more information contact us on +44(0)20 3770 9120 or at thehub@host-students.com.  

 

Must-have gadgets for university students this semester

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It’s August, which means there are only a few weeks to go until you start at or return to university for the new academic year in September. Now’s the time that you’ll be writing your lists, making essential purchases and packing your bags ready to go.

You’ll probably have clothes, toiletries, stationary and the like packed, but have you thought about what gadgets to take with you? No? Fear not, we’ve listed some must-have gadgets that are sure to come in use and make your time at university even more productive and hassle-free…

USB flash drive
It happens; computer programmes crash, laptops die and the essay you’ve been working on all week is lost forever. So, don’t learn the hard way, back up your work and avoid the heartache and tears of having to start over. USB sticks are a low cost and a quick and easy way to keep your important documents safe.

Headphones
Whether it’s the basic plug and play in-ear headphones, or the all-singing, all-dancing wireless over-ear headphones, kit yourself out with a pair. It can be hard to get work done with background noise and distractions, so having headphones will help you to zone out of your surroundings and focus on your work.

Portable speaker
When it’s time to relax, and enjoy yourself, some background music is a great idea. From the park to a party, having a portable speaker will allow you to take your music with you wherever you go. Just remember to keep the volume to a sensible level – the last thing you want to do is annoy your neighbours!

Printer
While there will be printers available for you to use on university campuses (usually for a small charge), this isn’t always convenient. When assignment deadlines approach, it’s likely you won’t be the only one needing to print, or if you need to print late at night, university buildings will be closed. Therefore, you might want to consider a small, lightweight printer to keep in your room so you can print until your heart’s content, whenever you like.

A Kindle
As a student, you’ll be given a long reading list of books recommended for you to read whilst studying the course. But gone are the days when you need to carry big, heavy text books around with you all day (phew). With an Amazon Kindle, you can access hundreds of academic books all on one device, and some versions have extra features for students such as the ability to add notes and look up word definitions.

Portable keyboard
Taking notes in lectures is key, but if you’re not quick enough in getting them noted down, the lecturer has moved onto the next section before you’ve finished, leaving you with half completed notes that don’t make sense. So, if you’re taking notes electronically via a tablet or smartphone, a portable keyboard is definitely worth investing in. It’ll make it much easier and quicker to capture information, meaning when it comes to revision you’ll have organised and coherent notes that actually make sense.

Still looking for student accommodation in London for September? Limited rooms available at The Hub. Please contact us for more information on +44(0)20 3770 9120 or at thehub@host-students.com.