Being a student is hard and being at University can be a challenge, but this doesn’t mean you have to feel low. Maintaining your mental health as a student is vitally important to not only completing and enjoying your course but to your overall happiness. Alike physical health, mental health can fluctuate and what is going on in your life can affect the way you feel.
Being able to spot the signs of your well being slipping is important so that you can take action to boost your mental health. These signs will be slightly different for every person but here are some examples below.
Becoming withdrawn or not wanting to socialise
Having a change in your appetite – either over or under eating
Feeling that your academic/sporting/extracurricular performances haven’t been where they usually are recently
Having difficulty with sleep – either sleeping too much or sleeping too little
When you are not feeling great it can be difficult to know what to do to make yourself feel better. There are some tips and tricks for self-care that you can try for your mental health. Looking at your sleep routine and diet can be game changers when it comes to how you feel. Not getting enough sleep or eating a lot of processed/junk foods can really affect how you feel. Try to switch it up a bit and have some healthy snacks rather than crisps or chocolate and before you go to bed at night spend less time on your phone.
Exercise is a great way to stay in shape but keep you mentally well. When you exercise your body releases chemicals called Endorphins. Endorphins are often referred to as a ‘feel good hormone’, in that they trigger a positive feeling in the body. Exercising regularly can help to lift your mood and can also aid sleep.
Make sure you do something you enjoy! Spend time with people whose company you enjoy.
IF you feel that you need some extra support along the way why not try Silver Cloud. Silver Cloud is a free guided self-help tool that has CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) modules that you can work through. There are modules for low mood, anxiety and panic to name a few. It is simple to join, you just need your university email account.
Mindfulness means being aware of what is going on both inside and outside of yourself, moment by moment. Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us to enjoy the world around us and to aid calm. There are lots of resources available online that you can utilise in the form of videos or podcasts or simple instructions. Why don’t you give it a go!
Knowing when to get help
Being aware of when you may need some extra support cannot always be easy but speaking about how you feel and getting support can be really beneficial. At times you may find it difficult to concentrate on your university work because of outside pressures, that’s okay no-one is going to judge you for this and staff at the University are here to help. If you are feeling under pressure or struggling in any way you can book an appointment with the Health and Well being Manager, Nancy Bradley, to talk through anything that may be bothering you.
The bottom line is University is a fun and exciting time where you can meet new people, experience new things and gain knowledge. If there is something preventing you from experiencing it to the full then support is there.
References: NHS – mindfulness & Student minds website