Healthy Habits

2020, what a year.

With lockdowns, ever-changing restrictions and government guidance it has become increasingly difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel and plan ahead. “New Year, New You” doesn’t have the same ring to it this year. But 2021 is shaping up to be a better year!

Uni is usually the perfect time to develop our habits – such as study habits with course mates and weekend habits with flatmates. Right now that feels quite different though. Shorter days and darker, colder nights are bad enough but going into them with restricted freedoms has left many of us turning to digital comforts like gaming and gambling. This includes spending a lot of time online and on social media.

Although the future is looking brighter with a sense of normality on the horizon, for the time being we face unique financial and digital challenges as students which we aren’t used to. So we’ve produced some specific tips to improve on habits so if you’re a gamer, gambler, or neither – ensuring that you’re better set up for now and the future.

Money Habits

How we earn and spend money as students this year is very different so our usual habits don’t apply. Now is a good time to look into our budgeting and follow the advice from our university or students’ union with our spending options limited.

That can be especially difficult with gaming and gambling however and so below are our four spending habit tips for students who game or gamble.

Money Habits

Gambling with money you do not have

Gambling transactions have been blocked on credit cards since last year but no such restrictions exist on debit cards unless you initiate them. You can do this just for a set period of time if finances are tight or, even introduce restrictions permanently if gambling is something you are concerned about.

Getting drawn in by in game betting

In-game betting can accumulate quickly. It can seem harmless betting on the number of corners, fouls, or offsides a team or player could have in one half, but these bets add up over time and can cause financial stress. You can block access to gambling apps during live fixtures on a weekend or delete the apps altogether.

Spending too much on smartphone games

You can change the settings on your phone so that in-app purchases are blocked. This will stop you impulsively paying for extra lives or chances on your favourite smart phone games. Below are the instructions for apple – but the same option applies to android and other devices!

Digital Habits

It’s no surprise that we’re spending more time on our phones, tablets, computers and consoles than ever. While we have made the best of a bad situation there are only so many zoom parties we can have though – and many of us have accepted a period of doomscrolling and binging.

Below are our four particular tips to break bad digital habits when gaming or gambling.

Digital Habits

Gaming on your phone for too long

Major phone providers all now let you limit the time you spend each day gaming on your phone. You can increase these at the weekend if needed but a great way to bring down your gaming incrementally. Below are the android instructions but look up your provider online for their own

Gaming affecting your ability to complete assessments

This one you might have heard before – but see gaming as the reward for you completing your work. You can even give a friend or flatmate your device or game until you have completed your assignment. Start scheduling gaming as a reward or incentive

Targeted ads tempt you to gamble online

Often we don’t know how advertisers do it but they have a way of finding out what we’re doing and talking about online. There’s still a long way for platforms to go but advice on how to restrict gambling advertising on web and social media exists here.

Gaming and gambling late at night on your own

Restrict the times you game or gamble. This can be easier if you game with friends at home – or in the eSports society at your university. Focus on games you play with others so you don’t continue in time you haven’t agreed to game.

Level Ups

2021 might not be the year for New Year’s resolutions but we hope the ideas above help tackle any habits you have currently. With Spring round the corner, we all have our fingers crossed for more of our freedoms to return soon. Here are some level ups to fill the time you have from managing your gaming and gambling.

Digital Habits

Learn a new skill

The possibilities are endless when it comes to skill learning. Find something that poses a challenge for yourself and those around you. Perhaps something you have never tried before and always thought would be enjoyable?

Reorganise space at home

Set up a space at home in which you can study and work. Design it or dress it how you like but try to keep this space separate from the space you might game or gamble in. This can help you to focus.

Spend quality time with others

Think about people who you haven’t caught up with in a while and might benefit from hearing your voice. It might feel unnecessary at the time but the reward is often felt after. This can even include the people you live with. Mix your engagement up by introducing gaming or challenges to the time you spend together.

Upgrade your cooking

Whether it’s building up healthier options – or being able to recreate your favourite takeaway – there are a lot of options right now for impressing your mates and getting a dopamine hit while saving money. What better time to improve your cooking?

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