One of our Head of Social Media duo, Emma Ames, brings you a few suggestions on how to relax and stay above the water once you’re at university.
With mental health problems effecting almost 1 in 4 people a year in the UK, talking about mental health has become more important than ever. The mental health ‘chat’ is something many people dread, but it is critical in helping to dispel stigma and educate those who suffer – and those close to them.
With such a drastic change in environment and new responsibilities, moving to university can aggravate mental health problems. Loughborough University has a well-established and committed network for students who are struggling. However, if you don’t feel ready to reach out just yet, here are some basic but important things you can do to keep yourself calm and steady.
Self-Care: Now this may seem like an over-used term but trust me, it is important as you are now in charge of your own well-being. Eating healthy (which may seem almost impossible when you are free to eat chicken nuggets for dinner), keeping your personal space clean and organised, creating a detailed work plan or timetable, can all help to reduce anxious feelings and stress, particularly during the exam period. Even taking a shower or having a pampering session can improve your mood.
Exercise: Regular exercise not only helps to release physical tension and good chemicals in the brain, it can also improve your self-confidence and body positivity, which can take a hard hit when you are feeling down.
Being Social: It’s easy to cut yourself off from others when you are going through a difficult period, but getting involved in the Loughborough community and making friends can help prevent you from feeling isolated and alone when potentially leaving home for the first time.
Know When Enough is Enough: This applies to a lot of things: drinking alcohol, partying all night, or studying. It is important to recognise when you have had enough, when you are too tired or overloaded. Studying is important for your degree, but you may not be able to reach your full potential if you are ignoring your mental and physical well-being. Taking regular breaks during a long study period has been proven to improve your learning, so don’t feel guilty if you are overwhelmed and need to take a step back. Going for a walk or listening to a favourite playlist of music are good ways of relaxing between study sessions.
While these top tips can help you cope with anxiety, depression or stress, they are by no means a cure or treatment. If you feel like you are unable to keep your head above the water and need help, please reach out to your doctor, a friend, a family member or one of the Loughborough University Services listed below.
Nightline – our anonymous, non-judgemental and non-advisory support service. Open every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8pm-8am and run by student volunteers.
UNIVERSITY STUDENT SERVICES:
Disability Office (including Dyslexia Support)
Student Advice & Support Service – finance & housing support
Facts obtained from www.mind.org.uk