Taking Care of your Mental Health at University

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Until not long ago, this stigmatised issue had been kept in the corner of a dark room where people who were suffering couldn’t seek help. Now, mental health is an openly-discussed topic, and there is a wide range of places where we can find the right kind of support. 

Although mental health issues can occur at any stage of life, a survey conducted by YouGov has shown that “one in four students suffer from mental health problems”, with anxiety and depression being the most common. Not surprisingly, according to Alan Percy from the University of Oxford, “A lot of difficulties are not caused by medical problems, but by normal life problems, such as family or relationship issues, or anxiety about their work” which we can all relate to as students. The course workload, meeting deadlines, peer pressure or even managing finances can take a serious mental toll on anyone, but we have to remember that there are things we can do to soothe our minds.

1. Practice self – love

Simplify. Life is full of highs and lows, and we can cherish good memories and learn lessons from the bad ones. Pleasant experiences are moments we look forward to, but the truth is that without the bad ones we wouldn’t be able to notice and feel grateful for what we already have. Thus, instead of turning to the darkest places in your mind, choose to be happy. Organise a pamper night just for yourself, escape your comfort zone and try a new activity, cut yourself out from toxic people and recognise the true, inner beauty you carry. As as overrated as it may sound, there is a sense of relief in regular exercise – I often tend to compare physical activity to an internal shower that keeps me focused and, paradoxically, calms down my busy mind. Make yourself a priority – externally, but most importantly from the inside. 

2. Manage stress levels 

If your anxiety is triggered by the number of tasks waiting on your to-do list, there is no better solution than to start setting and achieving new goals. Try to organise yourself better, don’t wait until the very last moment to submit an essay – plan out your days upfront and write down as much as you can to keep your head clear from any unnecessary clutter. This will not only allow you to focus on things you actually love to do like meeting friends, contributing to student societies and staying on top of your workload, but will also give you an opportunity to fulfil a long-held desire to grow as a person. 

However, sometimes life gets more complicated and simple (yet highly effective) solutions such as leading a healthy lifestyle or practising mindfulness (try ‘Headspace’ and ‘Calm’ apps!) no longer seem to help. If that’s the case, seeking professional care from mental health and counselling services at your university or having a chat with your personal tutor is a good starting place to reach out to discuss your concerns. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help! Don’t be afraid to express your feelings because there are people who will listen and nurture you. University is important but it’s nowhere near as important as your wellbeing – just remember to step back once in a while to view from a distance the strong and unique YOU. 

Words by Weronika Wawrzuta

Edited by Saya Uotani

Saya and Hope are your lifestyle editors.

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