5 ways to looks after your mental health as a student

Student life is great, but it can also be overwhelming for a lot of different reasons. You might feel lonely during freshers, you might feel anxious or stressed during exam periods and going through all this during a pandemic isn’t easy either. But we are here to tell you that it's ok to not be ok sometimes, and to remind you that there are ways to help yourself to feel better and places to turn to when you need it. Here are some ways to help you look after your mental health.

1. Connect with others

Whenever you are going through a low period, feeling alone can be one of the overarching feelings. It might feel scary to open up to a friend when you are going through a hard time, but opening a dialogue can be liberating. There are also different ways of connecting with people. For instance, if you are coming to terms with your sexuality and are struggling, joining a society that champions the LGBTQ+ community might help you connect with others who feel the same. Although social media gets a bad rep, when used correctly it can also help you find online communities of like minded people to help you know that you’re not struggling alone, whether it’s a writing community, activist group or just people who have similar interests.

2. Make use of services available to you

There are more services than you think available to you as a student, depending on your needs. The main ways to seek support are either through your GP, your university counselling service or through an advice centre, both of which you can find details on through your university website. There are also other options available such as community services in the area your uni is located, or online services such as Kooth who offer free, safe an anonymous support or Shout which is a free 24/7 text service.

If you ever need immediate assistance, you can ring The Samaritans 24/7 on 116 123. Papyrus is an organisation specifically for young people who are not coping with life.

3. Find your own coping mechanisms

Have you ever read something about how something like meditating will help you, but you just can’t get into it? That doesn’t mean you’re beyond help. Everyone is different and you just need to find ways that help you manage. For some people journaling is a great way to help with their anxiety, whereas others find that going for a run helps them to feel better. Mental health is complicated and no coping mechanism will work for everyone, so keep going until you find what works for you.

4. Look after the basics first

This might sound a bit obvious, but your moods and mental health are so intrinsically linked to what you eat and how much you’re sleeping. Once one of these is out of balance, it is likely your mind will be too, so ensure you take time to prepare good, healthy meals and get as much sleep as you know you need, even if everything else seems too much.

5. Monitor what you consume

This one is especially apt for the world right now. It’s scientifically proven that what you consume has an affect on your mood. So if you’re constantly comparing your uni experience to others on insta or if you keep checking the news only to receive negative updates, it all has an impact. Ensure you’re carving time out away from overloading your brain with info, especially after a full day of online lectures.

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