As a university student, it can be an mentally and physically draining, causing overwhelming amounts of stress and anxiety. Students are faced with change, living without all the home comforts, an intense pressure to succeed, uncertainty about employment prospects due to a competitive job market and not to mention the burden of debt and running out of money. It can be incredibly difficult for students to cope and this can result in mental health problems.
It is incredibly hard sometimes, especially in them last few months when all your deadlines are due. The constant feelings of anxiety because you feel like you didn’t do your best, being depressed because you’re stuck in a rut and you can’t get out, and no matter how hard you try you still feel sad. Mental health is important, if you constantly give yourself to much to do and don’t give yourself a breather, you will not overcome what is affecting you.
University is hard, it is tough and some days you might want to just give up. But the truth is, like having a job or just living daily life, we all struggle with mental health issues and having heaps and heaps of stuff to do, you just have to remember that it will all be worth it in the end and you’re strong for continuing to carry on with it, even if you’re at a constant battle with your mental health.
Here are 5 ways that helped me take care of my mental health whilst at University!
1) Recognise your mental health
The first step to taking care of your mental health, is by recognising it. Student life is tough and it can be incredibly challenging, there is nothing wrong with asking for help or knowing when to take a break. The truth is, you’re not alone in this and it happens to pretty much any student. It’s vital to get to know yourself and what is triggering you to be upset. Whether its with depression, anxiety or just genuinely feeling sad and stressed, you need to know what is causing this, before you can find a solution. You will then be able to figure out ways to make you feel better. Mental health needs to be taken seriously and if you feel like you need to just step away from whatever you’re doing, that is ok.
2) Seek help
One of the most important things to do if you’re struggling with mental health issues is to seek help! It is ok to ask for it, don’t feel like you’re in the wrong for doing so. Suffering in silence is not the way forward, it will make your mental health ten times worse, if you do not talk to someone. Don’t be afraid to approach your tutors, or the student well being services at your university, talk to your family and friends, they will always listen. If you feel like you want to go further then talk to your GP or a counsellor and get tips on how to cope with your mental health. Get everything out in the open, it doesn’t matter if you get upset, at the end of the day the person that is listening wants to help you and will not judge you, trust the people you’re telling because you must feel like you can, if you asked them in the first place. You will find yourself on the path to feeling better, if you seek help, don’t keep it all locked away, it will cause you too much upset.
3) Take care of body
A thing we most likely ignore when we’re trying to deal with our mental health, but how can our mental health get better if we aren’t taking care of our bodies? The answer is, it can’t. You need to learn to love your body, it needs it. When you become so stressed because of university, your mental health will go downhill. But the best thing to do is, just have a break. I know it’s not as easy as that, but the truth is, even just a 10 minute break can help relieve your stress. So next time you’re feeling really exhausted with the workload and it’s getting you down, just step away and go for a brisk walk, take a bath, watch some YouTube videos or listen to music. Don’t be afraid to just step away and give yourself room to breathe.
Exercise is a great way of letting of steam, whether its a brisk walk, a jog, or even some boxing. It helps your mindset and you will definitely feel more motivated after it. So why not grab your dancing shoes and dance your stress away! It releases ‘feel-good’ hormones that can aid in lifting your mood. It’s a great way of coping with stress, especially if you make it more enjoyable!
Drink plenty of water, your body will thank you for it and it will make you feel more refreshed and make sure to get enough sleep, because if you don’t this can affect your mental health, if you do not get enough of it, it can affect how you feel the next day, so make sure to get a good nights rest!
4) Set yourself a routine
Students, have a lot of work to do, we also have a lot to do in daily life. But, we often forget how much we have an then stress about it, so the best thing to do is, set yourself a routine! This can be as simple as listing the work you have to, setting yourself small, achievable goals throughout the day to break up what appears to be a monumental task and you’ll gradually find yourself feeling a lot less stressed.
Write a to do list, say to yourself i’ll do two assignments tonight and the rest on different days, don’t set yourself to much to do as you will then feel overwhelmed. Once you start doing separate bits each day, your mind will feel less stressed and you will feel better mentally, because then you know once you’ve done it, it’s done and you have nothing to worry about.
5) Value yourself
I can’t stress this enough, being a uni student myself this can be hard. Often, we may feel like we aren’t good enough and the work we produce is no where near as good as it should be and we’ll go home constantly thinking about how we could have improved and constantly worrying. This is a sign of anxiety, which will only get worse if you carry on damaging your self-esteem. It’s hard to believe in yourself, but all you have to think is that, you’re here doing a degree and you are better than you think.
Treat yourself with kindness and respect. Avoid comparing yourself to others and spiralling into self-criticism, this will always make you feel worse. Believe in yourself, realise you’re important, you’re capable and you can do it.
Just be you, some people may do better than you in life, but the point is how you’re doing, just because someone got a higher mark then you doesn’t mean you’re a failure, the best thing to do is just concentrate on your work and your grades and you will be successful.
As hard as University is and as hard as it is trying to take care of your mental health. Remember you’re working hard and it will be worth it in the end but the most important thing is that you take care of yourself and except that its ok to have a break, when it gets to much.