University Mental Health Day: How to Prioritise Wellbeing

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University Mental Health Day is coming up on Thursday 3rd of March 2022, so our experts at Psymplicity Healthcare wanted to share some of their tips for prioritising wellbeing as a student at university.

When starting university for the first time, lots of students can face new challenges, and for many who live in campus-based accommodation it is their first time away from their families. Some students may face difficulties with their finances, managing course workloads or making friends. With different pressures coming from lots of different areas of university life, many students can find the changes overwhelming and this can have an impact on their mental health.

In response to the pressures that are generally associated with university, and the impact of these pressures on students’ mental health, the UK has a national University Mental Health Day that brings together the university community, aiming to make mental health awareness a priority. Run by Student Minds and the University Mental Health Advisors Network (UMHAN), university students and members of the university community are empowered to take care of each other and make use of the available mental health support services at university.

With University Mental Health Day fast approaching, our experts at Psymplicity Healthcare are exploring some of the ways you can try to prioritise your wellbeing as a student. 

Find out how to get involved in University Mental Health Day 2022

 

Manage your social time

At university, social activities with peers are very much encouraged and you will find that you have access to a plethora of events, giving you lots of opportunities to meet new people and make friends. It is important to try and find a good balance with social events and studying, and not to go too far into one extreme. Spending too much time socialising will eat time out of your study time, which can trigger stress and anxiety later down the line. On the other hand, spending too much time studying and not allowing yourself a social break can also have a significant impact on your mental health. So, it is important to strike a good balance between social and study time.

If you have a lot of work to complete at university, try not to give up on social events completely – instead, try planning in small social breaks during your study breaks. For example, if you are planning to spend the whole day studying, perhaps break this up with a lunch date with some friends, or even some group study time for an hour or two. Alternatively, if you are struggling to make time for your studies and are finding it difficult to say no to social events, break up your day by setting aside a few hours to catch up on work before you see your friends so that you can avoid future stress. 

Your breaks don’t always need to be social or involve others. You can spend this time away from your studies alone too, so that you can relax before getting back to what you planned for the day. Often, a variety of pleasurable activities with others and pleasurable activities alone can bode well for mental wellbeing.

 

Organise your space

Having a cluttered space, especially if you’re trying to study, can be extremely distracting. Try to make sure that the environment in which you study is organised and motivating. In terms of other areas besides study space, sometimes these can be more difficult to organise as you may share some spaces with others. If this is the case, you can encourage others to contribute to the decluttering, or alternatively take yourself away to study elsewhere, such as in the library or with friends outside.

Organisation can go further than decluttering what is visible in your room. It can be useful at the start of a year or a term to create folders for different subjects, or to plan out deadline dates on a full year-view calendar. Being organised with your study time can help you not only perform better, but also, it gives you the freedom to socialise and enjoy university life.

Manage your physical health

Taking care of your physical health can play a significant part in managing your mental health, and this isn’t just about fitting in time for exercise. Try to also pay attention to how well they are eating and sleeping:

  • Try your hand at a new sport by joining a club – most universities will have plenty of options available. This will encourage you to keep fit, have fun and also give you the opportunity to make new friends. If you prefer independent exercise, try following videos online, and challenge yourself to work through one or two video classes each week.

 

  • Try to plan your meals in advance so that you can ensure you are getting the nutrients you need. You could also make cooking a social activity together with friends or others in your building. It is not uncommon for students to eat unhealthily as often those options are not only the easiest, but also the cheapest. Have a look online for recipes on a budget or ask your peers what they cook and share recipes to give you some healthy variety.

 

  • With social and media pressures, particularly for those around the age of most first-time university students, it is possible that you may start to develop some anxieties around your self-image, and may become more aware of what you are eating. If you are concerned about your relationship with your body image and your eating, contact an eating disorder specialist for more information and support.

 

  • At university, it’s all too easy to adopt unhelpful sleep cycles. To optimise your physical and mental health, try to keep to a routine of waking up and going to sleep at the same time each day. This will not only regulate your circadian rhythm (internal body clock) but will also give you more energy, helping you to perform better in classes.

 

Communicate and spread the word

Part of what University Mental Health Day is trying to achieve is encouraging open conversations about mental health among students. Participating Universities aim to highlight the importance of taking care of their students’ mental health by ensuring that students and the university community as a whole are aware of the mental health support services that are provided, and also that they are accessible to everyone for when they are ready to talk.

Take care of your mental health by communicating with others. You can speak to friends and family about what you are struggling with, or if you feel you need something more anonymous there are always mental health specialists who can help, as well as a range of student helplines and resources.

Nobody should feel alone when dealing with mental health issues. If you are in need of any support, contact Psymplicity Healthcare today and we can help.

Mavish Sikander

Mavish Sikander

Mavish is a BABCP Accredited CBT and EMDR Therapist and CBT Clinical Lead at Psymplicity.

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