From late night study sessions to big nights out, it’s easy to feel run down whilst you’re enjoying student life. Here are some easy tips on how to self-care on a student budget.

Get enough sleep

With a hectic student schedule, it can be tricky to maintain a routine – and your sleep is usually the first thing to suffer. But trying your best to stick to a regular 8 hours of shut eye will keep you feeling fresh and help your body fight off illnesses.

Talk to your pharmacist first

Feeling a bit under the weather? Conditions like coughs and colds, flu or a dodgy tummy can usually be treated at home. Just call into your local pharmacy and speak to a pharmacist first – they help you with minor health concerns and offer advice on how best to manage it. If your condition is more serious they will usually refer you to a GP.

You can also self-care by stocking up on the essentials* (painkillers, cough and cold remedies) or by resting up and staying hydrated.

*Tip: Opt for the pharmacy’s own brand medication to save cash.

Get contraception

You can stay protected without worrying about breaking the bank. Most student unions stock free condoms, but if yours doesn’t, you can get them from your nearest sexual health clinic.

If you need emergency contraception (like the morning after pill), some pharmacies in Leeds are Sexual Health Pharmacies and can give the emergency contraceptive pill to Leeds residents for free, without a prescription. You’ll just need to have a 15 minute confidential consultation with the pharmacist when using these services.

If you think you could have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), you can get tested for free at your GP or sexual health clinic. If you decide to go with a self-test kit instead, talk to a health professional first. They can help you decide which kit is best for you and tell you how to use it.

Stretch your legs

Regular exercise is not only good for your body, it’s great for your mind too. But working out doesn’t have to cost. Leeds University Union offer free exercise classes during term time, all you have to do is book your place. Or if running is more your thing, head to Parkrun in Woodhouse Moor (Hyde Park) every Saturday morning.

Stock up on cheap fruit and veg

The odd microwaved pizza won’t do you any harm, but incorporating lots of fruit and veg into your diet will help you get the vitamins you need to ward off winter colds. But don’t worry, fresh food doesn’t have to cost the earth. Head down to Kirkgate Market between 9am-5:30pm (10am-4pm on a Sunday) and grab yourself some bargains.

Layer up

Student houses may be notoriously chilly but keeping snug, especially during winter, is essential for both your physical and mental health. Avoid a nasty electricity bill by opting for a couple of extra layers instead. Having a hot water bottle to hand is also a great way of staying toasty without heating the whole house.

Not feeling your best but unsure whether you need self-care or professional help? NHS 111 can advise you on the right service for your needs.