Sometimes the pressure to go out all the time can become too much and make you feel like the odd one out if you choose to stay in. Whether you’re the life and soul of the party or more comfortable chilling at home with friends, there’s no right or wrong way to socialise at Uni.
Even if you’re happy always going out-out, a night off once in a while is also good for your mental health in order to maintain a balance. This could be having a film night with housemates, cooking dinner with a friend or reading a book with a cup of tea in bed. This comes back to self-care and doing what’s best for you, so next time you’re having a night off, share a picture on your social media, tag the Union and #haveanightoff to share your night off ideas with other students.
If you are going OUT-OUT, know your limits.
If you feel that your use of drugs and/or alcohol is having a negative effect on your life then seeking support from your GP is a good place to start. They can discuss your problems with you and get you into treatment either at the practice or your local drug service. At any time you can contact the Student Welfare team for advice and support.
It’s really important to remember that alcohol unit guidelines are provided to help protect you and minimise the risks linked to long and short-term alcohol usage. The more you drink, the less likely you are to spot dangerous situations and the more likely you are to do something risky.
Stick to the guidelines of not drinking more than 14 units a week and you’ll be much less likely to suffer from alcohol poisoning and will be better prepared to help a friend who has drunk too much. Want to find out more? Drinkaware has some really great tools to help you understand your drinking, track your drinks and change your habits.
EAT BEFORE YOU DRINK
You’ll have heard it a million times before but lining your stomach before a night of drinking is hugely important; so make sure you have a meal and some water before you head out. It doesn’t stop once you’re out either, there’s no shame in having a soft drink or water when you’re in the pub.
Pacing yourself with a non-alcoholic bevvies throughout the night will mean you’re more likely to reach the end of it and you’ll probably have a much better time too!
WATCH YOUR DRINK
Drinks spiked with alcohol or drugs can make you vulnerable. It can be a scary experience and many people don’t report an incident because they simply don’t remember what happened. You may not notice a difference to the taste of your drink and could experience feeling sick or drowsy.
If you or your friend suspect you’ve had your drink spiked, tell a member of staff or security and call an ambulance.
DON'T DRINK & DROWN
Alcohol seriously affects your ability to get yourself out of trouble. Alcohol numbs the senses, particularly sight, sound and touch which makes swimming especially difficult. So, however tempting it may be after a few drinks, please act responsibly near water.
There’s no two ways to say it; if you choose to take drugs you are more likely to put yourself and your health in danger. Drugs make you less aware of both yourself and your surroundings.
If you do choose to take drugs or come into contact with drugs, please remember that it is imperative you are completely safe, so get clued up about drug use and its effects. Most importantly, read up on the risks first.
If you are thinking about using any drugs, always get as much information as you can beforehand. Unknown effects can be scary and you might not always know if drugs have been mixed with other things. If you are at all unsure, think twice before taking it.
BE IN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT
Be somewhere safe with people that you trust and stay close to home or inside. Always be aware of your surroundings as you could end up feeling stressed or lost. Stay with people you know, that you trust and look after each other.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
Start low and go slow until you are sure what you are taking and the effect it will have on you. Try a small amount first and then go slowly. Just like alcohol, drugs can take time for the full effects to be felt. You know your body best, if it seems like you are having more than you can handle then slow down. You should know when to stop and when to go home.
Drug and substance misuse can lead to severe consequences. If you think that you or a friend may have an issue with drugs or alcohol, it is important to talk to someone about this, so we can get the right support in place to help you move forward.
The symptoms below could indicate a heightened risk of substance misuse:
Missing lectures or appointments
Change in personal appearance
Withdrawal from friends/family
Loss of interest in hobbies/activities
Change in sleeping pattern
Change in behaviour
If any of this behaviour is recognisable in yourself or a friend, seek support as soon as possible. You can come and chat to the Student Welfare team at any point if you have any concerns or need advice.