How To Look After Your Mental Health At University
University can be a stressful time - with the added pressure of living away from home for the first time, stressors can be difficult to manage. Many students report feelings of anxiety and depression when faced with difficult coursework, new social situations and exam pressure. There are ways you can learn to prioritise your mental wellbeing whilst studying at university. Here, we’ll break down our top tips for looking after your mental health as a student.
Speak to somebody
If you find yourself struggling with the pressures of student life, or are struggling with personal issues at home, there is always somebody you can talk to. The minute you feel unable to cope or overwhelmed, be sure to get in contact with your university support services. Your university will likely have mentors or student support officers who can help you in the short term, as well as long term on-campus counsellors if you need ongoing support. They may also advise a visit to your local GP, who can offer medical advice or point you in the direction of local therapists or support groups.
Charities like Samaritans, Anxiety UK and Nightline are always available if you need somebody to chat or vent to, online or over the phone. The NHS website also has a list of resources for more specific mental health conditions. If you’re in immediate danger, don’t hesitate to call 999.
Surround yourself with friends and family
If you’re struggling with homesickness and feeling down, but don’t feel the need to seek professional help, simply getting in contact with a loved one can help ease your mind. For everybody, surrounding yourself with friends and regularly socialising can help you feel more at ease at university - as well as more at home. Your friends and family are always at the other end of the phone for when you really miss them.
Look after your body and mind
It’s important to take care of both your body and your mind whilst studying. Eating healthily and taking part in regular exercise - even if it’s just a walk around campus, or one evening a week with a student sports team - can be hugely beneficial. Find a form of exercise you truly enjoy and try to commit to regular sessions. Your mind and body will thank you.
For difficulty sleeping or low or anxious moods, there are plenty of apps that can help you feel more in control. Meditation apps like Headspace can help you relax and unwind after a stressful day. Apps like Woebot and Rootd offer therapeutic support for those struggling with depression, anxiety or panic attacks.
Don’t forget to treat yourself - looking after your body and mind doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be as easy as running yourself a bath, engaging in some bedtime yoga, listening to music or a podcast, watching your favourite show, trying a face mask or arranging a get-together with your flatmates. Try to look after yourself as you would look after a close friend - take the time to do things that make you feel good.
Don’t take too much on - set achievable goals
University life is about finding the right balance between work and play. It’s great to try new things and say ‘yes’ to new adventures - but be sure to not take too much on. Set achievable academic goals and make sure you’re getting equal amounts of work and play. Don’t pressure yourself to do everything at once - you need rest and downtime too. You have the time over your three (or more) year course to get a mix of great social and work experience, without having to be busy every minute of every day.
Find outlets that work for you
Do what makes you happy! Find outlets that work for you - whether it’s a new hobby, society, sport or television show. Find a few things that you know help you relax and unwind - get into the habit of doing them regularly. After a long day of studying and lectures, it’ll help you feel better.