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Strategies for improving your wellbeing

Wellbeing is the balance of physical, mental and financial health. Follow these tips and all three dimensions will thrive.

Key takeaways:

  • Your financial, mental and physical health are connected
  • It's important to maintain a balance between all aspects of your wellbeing
  • Money is a common source of stress but can be managed with the right strategies
  • Create healthy habits by practising good coping strategies
  • Reach out for help when you find your stress difficult to manage

Your time at university can be exciting and challenging. But you may also find yourself facing high levels of stress, especially in your final year. Besides anxiety over your exams, you may worry about entering the workforce and paying off any student debt after graduating.

Whether you're a first-year student or preparing for graduation, these practical tips will help you foster your wellbeing. That way, you can maintain balance between all aspects of your wellbeing and enjoy your time at university, and beyond.

Recognise signs of stress

Stress can be brought on by external factors, and it can come and go (much like that presentation you're worried about). Everyone responds to stress in different ways.

Signs of stress can be:

  • physical – chest pains, racing heart, insomnia
  • emotional – anxiety, depression, loneliness
  • cognitive – trouble concentrating, negative thoughts

If you're experiencing chronic stress, you may want to look at adjusting your priorities. Studies show that there is a strong link between students struggling with mental health issues and higher drop-out rates.1 It may be worth talking to a professional if you find yourself in need of help.

Identify common causes of stress

You'll encounter stressors at school whether you're doing your classes online or in person. Some of the most common causes of stress for university students include:

  • time (or rather, lack of it!)
  • academic pressure
  • personal health
  • uncertainty about the future
  • financial worries

Slow down and see if there's anything you can change in that moment to improve your wellbeing. Money can be a difficult cause of stress to eliminate entirely, but with the right sort of planning you may be able to curb it. List out your priorities, re-evaluate them and you might be able to save yourself some money.

Worried about paying for college for yourself or your kids? There's more than one way to fund your studies abroad.

Remember that health is wealth

If you're feeling overwhelmed by your financial situation, you're not alone. A UK student report shows that almost 3 in every 4 students surveyed have considered dropping out of university – 41% of which stated that this was due to money worries.2

Taking care of your financial wellbeing can help you feel secure and in control of your day-to-day expenses. Without it, our mental health, physical health and relationships may be affected.3

So if you need guidance, you can talk to your financial institution. As a leading international bank, HSBC's global banking capabilities enable us to support your education journey at every step of the way – from pre-departure planning and settling in overseas to returning to your home country after studying abroad.

Learn more about how we can support your studies abroad.

Healthy habits lead to better financial and physical fitness and improved mental health.

Tips for improving your physical and mental health

Some stress is unavoidable. But you can learn to respond to it so it affects your wellbeing less. Practise good coping strategies that create healthy habits. These changes will have a positive effect on all facets of your wellbeing.

  • Take care of your body. Make sure you get enough food, water, exercise and sleep.
  • Quiet your mind. Take a moment each day to relax your mind.
  • Get back to nature. Find time to explore and appreciate the great outdoors.
  • Nurture your support network. Make friends with people you can depend on.
  • Volunteer your time. Giving back to the community can be rewarding.
  • Talk to a professional. Seek help when you think you need it.

You'll find that small changes such as getting in some physical activity and eating well can greatly boost your mood. And getting enough sleep will help you with much more than feeling rested. Sleep allows your body the time it needs to repair cells and convert your short-term memories into long-term ones. So hit the pillow after hitting the books for better recall!

Tips for improving your financial health

Good debt or bad debt? Your brain can't tell the difference. It all takes a toll. According to a recent study on the psychology of debt, the accumulation of debt can build up stress, anxiety and frustration even if you have a plan in place to pay it back.4

Whether you're planning to study abroad or you're already there, consider how you'll manage your money. Think about what kind of bank account suits your needs as a student and how you can use any credit cards you have wisely. Not every financial product is the same in every country, and every student has different banking needs.

  • Build your financial immune system. Establish good credit by setting a low credit card limit and using it responsibly. Use your overdraft as needed and wisely, and be sure to pay it off on time.
  • Create a budget and stick to it. Track your expenses and take advantage of student discounts.
  • Re-evaluate your priorities. Cancel subscriptions you don't need, or move to a cheaper apartment if you can.
  • Educate yourself. Learn the basics of banking: spending, borrowing, saving and investing.
  • Talk to a financial adviser. Identify your financial strengths and areas that may need further attention. Building healthy habits – including financial habits – early can lead to better wellbeing over the long term.

Let us help you with your financial wellbeing

It's important to practise strategies for managing stress so they're in place when you most need them. If you need help with your physical or mental health, talk to your college counsellor or a healthcare professional. If you need guidance in creating a financial plan, you can get in touch with your bank.

We offer comprehensive support to international students around the world with our network of 6,000 offices in more than  60 countries and territories.

Ready to open an overseas account?

We can tell you the best way for you to apply for an overseas account. Simply select your current location and where you would like to open an account. We'll then walk you through the steps.


HSBC Holdings plc has prepared this article based on publicly available information at the time of preparation from sources it believes to be reliable but it has not independently verified such information. HSBC Holdings plc and the HSBC Group (together, "HSBC") are not responsible for any loss, damage, liabilities or other consequences of any kind that you may incur or suffer as a result of, arising from or relating to your use of or reliance on this article. The contents of this article are subject to change without notice. HSBC gives no guarantee, representation or warranty as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of this article.


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1 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Mental Health, Substance Use, and Wellbeing in Higher Education: Supporting the Whole Student. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press
2 Save the Student, Student Money Survey 2021
3 HSBC Life +Factor Study on Health and Wellbeing
4 The Psychology of Debt: How it Affects your Mental Health. The International Psychology Clinic online