A lot of students don’t realise that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. As the Dalai Lama once said: “Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health.”
Mental health issues affect one in every four adults in the UK, and one in five students say that they struggled with their mental health. Yet it’s something that many people fail to look after properly, or even talk about.
We’ve put together a handy list of ways you can look after your mental health while studying…
1. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
You don’t always have to try to make other people happy. Take time out for yourself – play your favourite sport, watch a good movie, read a book, do crafts – whatever makes you happy! Hobbies are a stress reliever, provide the chance for socialising, raise energy levels, concentration and give you a sense of achievement.
Being outside has huge benefits for mental health too. Find a local “green space” like a park and get out there. Fresh air is great for clearing your head and giving yourself a break. Instead of watching YouTube videos, take a short walk. Just 10 minutes walking outdoors has been shown to increase both happiness and productivity, so when you get back to that grindstone you will be working more effectively as well as feeling better for it.
2. Keep a “Positivity Journal”
Keep a notebook by your bed and jot down at least a few things that were positive in your day. Something as simple as “I made it on time to all my classes” is good enough. It allows you to appreciate the little things and ends the day on a positive, which has proven to improve sleep quality and reduce stress.
3. Practice Mindfulness
‘Mindfulness’ is very on-trend right now, and it has massive mental health benefits. The practice can take a long time to master, but the basics are simple. It is about being in the moment. Take five minutes out of your day to be in a quiet place and follow some of the instructions in the link below. It is used to help those struggling with depression, anxiety and insomnia; all things that students frequently suffer from. There are lots of useful websites to help you with this as well as some fantastic apps to fit all schedules.
Here are a few you can even do at your desk.
4. Make a “Safe Space”
Your home is your castle but it can feel like a prison when stress kicks in. Surroundings have a huge impact on your head space, so keep work areas free from clutter and distractions. Plants are also natural stress relievers and believed to help with depression. Incorporate positive colours into your life, like a motivational yellow notebook or a pale blue bedspread for peace and sound sleep.
Try using colourful sticky notes to keep organised too. Make a list of problems or tasks on coloured paper and put it where you can see it. That way, you can prioritize and feel a sense of relief as you watch the list decrease. The colours also make the issues seem less intimidating.
5. Rest Up
Sleep is vital for both brain function and mood. When you’re not well rested, you get grumpy and every aspect of your life suffers. It is possible to fall into bad habits. Lack of sleep = dip in mood = difficulty sleeping = dip in mood = less sleep… As hard as it may seem, try to get down for six hours a night.
6. Do Not Be Ashamed To Ask For Help
There’s no shame in admitting you’re struggling. If you’re feeling less than 100%, all universities, colleges and schools provide services that let you talk to someone in absolute confidence. Counsellors are trained professionals that will talk you through whatever is bothering you and help you through it. It can be anything at all, no matter is too big or small, so don’t ever feel like you are being silly or a nuisance.
Some Useful Links
When you need someone to talk to…