DESIGNED FOR WELLBEING
Where we live has a huge impact on wellbeing. Our home both the location and the physical building itself, influences almost every aspect of our lives, from how well we sleep, to how often we see friends and family, to how safe and secure we feel.
In Europe, we spend 90% of our time indoors, and 65% in our homes. The places and spaces where we live and work have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing.
Universities are trying to tackle some of the biggest national challenges in student mental health. In the UK half of young people are going into higher education and as many as a third of students are experiencing psychological distress. The number of students asking for support is on the rise and devastatingly there has also been an increase in suicides.
We know from academic research that people who live in better quality housing have fewer psychological episodes, including decreased anxiety and depression. If we want to improve the health and wellbeing of our university students, then we need to start with where they live. It’s our duty to provide homes where students can excel in all areas of their life and to encourage maximised wellbeing.
True wellbeing goes beyond just health and happiness. Our sense of purpose in life, our health, our relationships and community belonging, and our financial stability all contribute to our wellbeing.
4 QUADRANTS OF WELLBEING
To understand this better we have created the ‘Four Quadrants of Wellbeing’. This is based on an extensive study spanning 150 countries, our combined 30 years of professional design experience and our experience in successfully creating homes for students.
Focus wellbeing: Having a purpose in life, working to your strengths and liking what you do every day.
Fitness wellbeing: Making healthy lifestyle choices, exercising, and eating and sleeping well.
Friendship wellbeing: Having strong relationships, feeling safe and secure where you live, taking pride in your community.
Financial wellbeing: Effectively managing your finances to reduce stress.
All the elements are linked together, and while we may be effective in some areas, we don’t get the most out of our lives unless we’re living effectively in all four. To be truly fulfilled we need to have a sense of purpose, good physical health, positive and strong relationships, a positive involvement in our community and financial stability.
Sounds easy. In reality it is perhaps easier said than done, especially if you’re a student. Being at university is an exciting time, but it can also be pretty daunting. Students are often living away from home for the first time, in a new city, away from everything that’s familiar to them and all the people who love them, and they’re trying to navigate the world on their own.
A study by the Royal College of Psychiatrists 2011 shows student levels of anxiety, depression, substance abuse and personality disorders are on the increase, with as many as a third of students experiencing psychological distress at some point during their studies.