How to: Dealing with mental health at university



14 June 2020 0 comments

By guest blogger Soul diaries

1) Seek Consultation services

There are free services that us we can take advantage of, specifically if you are under 25! Make sure to do your research thoroughly before splashing out on any counselling/therapy sessions because of high costs or giving up on talking to someone. Universities often provide their own health support too – if you speak to your health and wellbeing team or lecturers directly. Everything is always kept confidential; no information can be shared unless it is life threatening or there is concern of harm to yourself/others. Use the internet to your advantage but personally, I’ve found it much easier to talk to people in person, especially those who have had sessions before.

2) Let your lecturers know

One of the best things about university is communication between the students and lecturers. I’m quite lazy and preferred not to really keep a line of conversation going with any of them throughout my first year, but during my second and leading into my third, I have found it to be the most useful tool so far. By starting dialogue with them, it became regular conversation and I felt more comfortable sharing my progress or most importantly, the bad…nitty stressful parts. They can also put things in place for you to delay any coursework you have if your personal matters are seriously an issue. Use them to your advantage, they are not there to judge or penalize and can sometimes give some really good advice to keep you up with your work!!

3) Join a society/extra curricular activity

Most people (myself included) are far too lazy to even think about doing this…however, if you do start finding yourself stuck in your room too long and maybe even struggling to make friends, just think about it! A society gives you something to focus on other than your academic work and you can actually make friends outside of your course that might share similar interests to you too. It’s also good to talk to a few people at uni, you never know if you might need help with something later on. Even going to a society for a short while, you never know who you’ll bump into.

4) Take time off

There is no point forcing yourself to attend lectures and seminars when your head is a mess. Ask your lecturers to either email you any extra material you may have missed or ask course mates to record lectures for you. This is why you should let lecturers know what’s going on – they are way more relaxed about you missing out on content if you show that you are still trying to keep up in your own time and have spoken to them about it already.

5) Redecorate your room

It sounds like common sense but if your space is cluttered, you are most likely not going to improve your headspace if your living area is also a mess. Place things in it that make you feel content and warm when you step in, create a safe and comfortable space to come back to once the day is done! (e.g. photos, flowers, candles, games consoles, speakers, mood lights, posters).

6) Let go of something

We cannot move on if there are things holding us back. Let go of a responsibility that isn’t serving you well anymore…a person, job, comfort eating, an idea of perfection…grudges? It’s specific to you! Make space for something else to fill it in for the future (and you don’t need to worry about what that is for now), otherwise you won’t have room to expand yourself! You’ll continue to feel stuck and stressed out because of it!

7) Use isolation to your advantage

University is about discovering who you are (as well as the degree). As much as you might like to party and find yourself busy with everyone else, find some time for yourself. Actually, find a LOT of time out for you. Is there anything you’ve been putting off that needs to be done? Something meaningful that maybe nobody else cares about as much as you? (you know, there’s always that boring thing no ones interested in, but you). Do that thing by yourself. You will feel like you’ve accomplished something big even if its small, just for sanity purposes. Go for that drink, watch that film, visit that place…whatever!

8) Plan and prepare for an episode…

By now, you’re probably quite familiar with the ins and outs of how you might feel during a rough patch, a breakdown or maybe even just a bad few days. Use this to your advantage by preparing for it. It’s highly likely that you won’t have much control over the mental wave when it comes, but things can be made easier and more comfortable for yourself when it gets like this.

9) Rest

Distraction might seem like the best option, but It doesn’t actually fix the problem. So until you are ready to battle with whatever it may be that is troubling you, save your energy and rest up. Distraction only causes us to bottle up more and before you know it, you become a pro at being dismissive towards integral feelings. Sleep…face the world another day.

10) Talk to someone you trust

It’s hard to talk, I know that…but you don’t always have to give out details. It’s alright to say that you aren’t feeling cool and the world doesn’t need to get involved. The person you tell might not even be the closest to you, but if you sense they can relate in some way…open up just a little. You’d be surprised how they might be able to shed the tiniest bit of light on a situation. Your life is safe with you until you wish to disclose anything with anyone.

I hope these are as helpful for you as they are to me! Feel free to comment any other tips you might have.

Love, Soul diaries x

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