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5 Activities Every Uni Student Should Include in their Daily Routine

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Exeter chapter.

As uni students, we don’t always have set 9 to 5 working hours or specific meetings we need to wake up for. Personally, my course is very low in contact hours, which means I have 5 days a week with no lectures or seminars to structure my day around. While having an abundance of time on your hands is nice, this lack of an externally imposed daily structure means it’s up to you to motivate yourself to get out of bed and be productive, which isn’t always easy.

To avoid feeling like your day has no purpose, it’s essential to create a daily routine; if you have nothing planned for the day, it’s more likely than not that you’ll end up doing nothing with your day. This article is going to delve into my top 5 recommendations of what to include in your daily routine as a university student to make sure you finish the day feeling happy and accomplished.

Create your own working hours

Just because you find yourself having a day with no lectures or seminars, that doesn’t mean you don’t have work you still need to get done. While writing an essay may not seem like the most exciting reason to get out of bed, forcing yourself to do a set amount of work every day of the week means you can reduce the number of weekends you spend cramming five days’ worth of work into an all-nighter.

My tip for tackling work is not to overdo it. Doing 3 to 4 hours of focussed work is much more valuable than staying in the library for 8 hours, and spending most of that time being distracted, bored, or tired. I recommend splitting your day up into three chunks of time: morning (8am to 12pm), afternoon (12pm to 5pm), and evening (5pm to 10pm). Pick one to two of these sections to designate to work for that day, depending on how much you need to get done, and don’t let yourself work outside of those sections. For example, if you’ve picked the afternoon, you may choose to head to campus after lunch, and work from 1pm to 5pm. Once it hits 5 o’clock, shut your laptop and head back home. The vital part of making sure you get your work done is to make it enjoyable, and that means not burning yourself out or having unreasonable expectations of how much you can get done in one go.

Daily movement

I’m sure I’m not the first person to tell you that exercise is essential to your mental health: moving your body triggers the release of chemicals called endorphins that interact with the receptors in your brain to help reduce your perception of pain. Essentially, exercise makes you happier and less stressed.

The key to incorporating movement into your daily routine is to make sure it’s enjoyable for you and doesn’t feel like a chore or an extension of work. This means doing exercise in whatever way and at whatever level feels best for you. You don’t have to force yourself to go to the gym or go for a run every day if those aren’t things that appeal to you. Your daily movement could be your walk up to campus, or stretching for ten minutes in your bedroom, or joining the social team of a sport to let yourself enjoy it without the stress of competing in it. It’s also important to let your body recover. If you do choose to do intense exercise one day and find your muscles are sore afterwards, allow yourself to choose a lighter form of movement the next day; you won’t enjoy your workout if you’re in pain throughout it!


Another key aspect to ensuring your happiness is surrounding yourself with people that make you happy. I find the easiest way to do this alongside all the other things you need to do in a day is by stacking your socialising with another task. For example, you could meet up with a friend during your lunch break in between study sessions. Or, you could call a member of your family during your walk to campus. Another example would be sitting and watching a TV show with your house while you eat your dinner (my house’s current go-to is Love Island All Stars).

Essentially, socialising doesn’t need to be going out clubbing or taking out a whole section of your day to spend time with someone. While it can be those things, and they are very valuable in their own way, it’s not always feasible to set aside that much time and effort for socialising if you have a busy day ahead of you. That’s why socialising less intensely but more often is an easy way to make sure you still get that daily boost in happiness without draining your social battery or taking too much time away from other important tasks.

Dedicated down-time

While being productive, active, and social are all important aspects of your day, so is relaxing. To avoid feeling burnt out too early on in the year, it’s vital to dedicate a portion of your day to winding down and letting your mind switch off. Every person’s definition of relaxing is different, so whether it’s scrolling Tik Tok, reading a book, watching a movie, or putting on a face mask and lighting a candle, do whatever makes you feel the most at ease and carefree.

Take care of your health

The last and arguably most important element of your daily routine should be taking care of yourself. My favourite way to do this is using habits; like a lot of people, I woke up one day and decided I needed to sort my act out, so I read James Clear’s Atomic Habits. In this book, Clear delves into how to actively build good habits and break bad ones. He also explains how small daily actions can build up to have a profound impact on your overall wellbeing and life.

“A slight change in your daily habits can guide your life to a different destination”

– James Clear, Atomic Habits

Here are my top 2 simple habits I think every university student should try incorporating into their daily lives to help them stay happy and healthy.

Firstly, avoid going on your phone right before going to sleep. The obvious danger of going on your phone is the risk of getting distracted and spending longer on it than you anticipated. In my case, this usually means watching a Tik Tok that’s part 2 out of 56 of a movie and needing to watch all 56 parts before I can put my phone down. The other danger is more scientific; exposure to blue light can affect your internal body clock and throw off your circadian rhythm (the rhythm that makes you feel more tired when it’s dark and more energised when it’s bright). The blue light from our phones mimics daylight, meaning that by looking at a screen before falling asleep, we are keeping our brains awake and affecting our quality of sleep. By putting your phone away 30 minutes to an hour before you plan on falling asleep, you’re hugely increasing your chance of waking up feeling fresh and energised.

My second recommendation is to make sure you eat breakfast. I find breakfast is the most commonly skipped meal of the day for university students; you wake up late and don’t have time to eat before a lecture, or you don’t get out of bed before 12 and figure you might as well skip straight to lunch, or you just can’t be bothered to make a whole meal first thing in the morning. A key benefit to eating breakfast for university students is that it can improve your memory, concentration, and energy for the day. There’s no point turning up to your lectures if you can’t focus on them, or spending a day revising if you’re not going to remember any of it, or scheduling in a gym session if you’re too tired to exercise. So, by making sure you get your breakfast in every day, even if that means making it the night before to make sure you have time for it in the morning, you are increasing your chances of having a good day.

While having a day off and doing nothing is always nice, doing so too often is inevitably going to make you feel sluggish and dissatisfied. I know reading this list may feel overwhelming, but the key is to introduce each of these aspects into your day gradually. You can’t expect yourself to magically wake up one day at 7 am instead of 12 pm, or find the motivation to go on a 10km run overnight. But, if you slowly begin to build a daily routine that is doable and enjoyable to you, and introduce each item on this list one by one, then you will find yourself feeling less stressed and happier in the long run.

Hiya, I’m Melina and I’m a final year English student at the University of Exeter. My passions are travelling, cooking and fashion!