Friday, 18 August 2017

Looking After Your Mental Health In University


My previous mental health post (What Are Panic Attacks & How Can I Help Someone?) did really well and people seemed to like it, so I thought I would come back with another mental health post. 

I have just completed my first year of University and understand that there will be first years starting in September, so I have decided to put together a post on looking after your mental health in University. Whilst Uni can be fun, the work load, new environment and meeting strangers can be daunting and stressful. Here are 7 ways to look after your mental health:

  • Make Trusted Friends- A big part of what got me through my first year was having a really strong, supportive group of friends around me. I say trusted friends because I don't mean those acquaintances you sit with sometimes in lectures, I mean real trusted friends you can talk to if things are feeling stressful and can help you with things. You can support one another, understand one another and go out together, and that is what brings fun to University. Look to see if your flat and your course have group chats, you can get to know people there. Freshers' and societies are also a great way of doing this.

  • Have a Set Day of the Week of No Uni Work- You don't need to work every single day of the week, you'll run yourself down. Have a set day of the week where you get to relax, focus on what makes you happy and choose what you want to do, rather than having to work. Arrange your schedule around this day so you always have a break. For me, I would take Thursday as my break day.

  • You Don't Have to Go to Every Lecture/Seminar- Let's be honest, not every lecture and seminar is important to go to. The majority of lecturers put their PowerPoints and notes online, so some topics are easy to do at home yourself. If you need to take a day out to catch up on sleep and work in your own time, do it. There's no point going if you're not going to be able to concentrate.

  • Try to Keep Up Hobbies and Interests- When you feel the weight of University on your shoulders, keeping up hobbies and interests may seem easier said than done. But it is important to remind yourself that university isn't all of you and that there's more to you than academics. I find that I can lose my identity a bit when I'm drowning in academic work, and I'd like to work on that for second year. Joining societies is also a good way of keeping up interests and finding new ones.

  • Have a Nice, Calm, Organised Space for Work- Tidy desk, tidy mind. Cliche, but it works. Having a nice area to work in means you may feel more able to do your work and organisation will boost your confidence. I'm lucky enough to have my own study and it really does help having that space to do what you need to. 

  • Take on Feedback, Then Move On- It is likely that there is going to be at least one piece of work that you don't do as well as you would have liked on. When it happens it can make you feel bad and that your best wasn't good enough. Rather on dwelling on the lower mark, take note of the feedback, know what you have to do for next time and move on. Dwelling on it won't change anything. Let go of that mark and feel reassured that you know what to do for the future

  • If You Have a Part-Time Job, Try Not To Take on Too Many Hours- Students are known for being broke so it may be tempting to work lots of hours during university. But the reality is that putting in so many hours at work leaves you less hours to work on university and having a social life. All that pressure can really stress you out, so it is very important not to overwork yourself. Having a good work, uni and social balance is key. I also recommend taking time off work just before an exam so you have plenty of time to revise.

I hope that those tips are helpful and if you are starting University soon, congratulations! You have worked so hard and you deserve it. 

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