Always start with self-help
A lot of people, particularly students, forget how important looking after yourself can be. There are a lot of solutions that can be done from the comfort of your own home or by changing small habits in your day-to-day life.
Writing can be a great release of tension in a creative way. It doesn’t work for everyone but its something that could work for you. Try writing a list of everything that is bothering you or that needs to be done – it will make you feel you are more able to achieve it and by transcribing it from your mind onto paper your mind will feel freer, with more calm space to think rationally. Or maybe start a diary to note down everything that happened, no matter how big or small everything that has bothered you – good events and bad.
Exercise releases endorphins which naturally make you feel happier, but it also helps clear your mind and just make you feel generally a lot better about yourself. It can be anything from taking an evening stroll to joining exercise classes to doing some morning stretches in your bedroom – whatever it is you enjoy and can realistically fit into your routine. This way, it will feel less daunting and you will be more likely to keep it up.
I am no expert on this but there are a lot of herbal alternatives sold in Holland and Barret that really can help calm you. Rescue Remedy has always been a favourite of mine; herbal flower extracts calm you and gives you the moment’s clarity you need. Kalms tablets are also very beneficial and have been helping me to be a lot calmer also.
This can help to distract your mind and help you to focus on the ongoing story, the characters and what is going to happen. Your mind has to automatically remember and save information to be able to follow the story and this can be very beneficial when you need to take yourself away from something upsetting, worrying or bothering you. It also helps train the brain to take in and process information more easily, making stress easier to cope with in the long run.
Any activity you love
It’s so important to find something away from uni and work that you find a passion in - whether it is art, books, cycling, blogging or just being outside. Doing things you love will only further your happiness and make you feel that much better about yourself.
Most universities offer a free counselling service
If you find that self-help isn’t working for you and are looking for other solutions, a great place to start is on your university website to see what services they provide. It’s a completely confidential service and is flexible to fit around your studies.
Having a chat even about even the most mundane things can make you feel significantly better and if you have more serious issues, talking it through will definitely benefit you. Your counsellor can then help teach you the best ways for you to manage problems in the future.
Or speak to your GP
Your GP is another great option. They can give you advice on services available and can refer you to counselling or group sessions suitable to you.
“Sometimes it's easier to talk to a stranger than to relatives or friends. During talking therapy, a trained counsellor or therapist listens to you and helps you find your own answers to problems, without judging you. The therapist will give you time to talk, cry, shout or just think. It's an opportunity to look at your problems in a different way with someone who'll respect you and your opinions.” - NHS
Please see their website for more info and if you don’t want to use your university counselling service, you can find an NHS counselling service near you here or find someone privately. Additionally, visit the Samaritans website for more resources.
Most importantly, talk to your friends and family!
A lot of people see mental health as something to be ashamed of or are scared to talk about it. But I can assure you, talking to people will help! It can be difficult to start the conversation but often it’ll easily flow once you start. You may even find out that your friend needed someone to talk to as well so you can help each other out. If it feels daunting, start small! Every little thing you talk about will feel a load lighter.
So yes, university can be very stressful, but make sure you take time to have breaks away from revision and your studies to do things you enjoy. I am no expert but I just wanted to give an insight as to what I feel could be beneficial or useful to know to try and help for students with their mental health whilst at university. And please remember, you are not alone; even if the smallest thing is bothering you please do seek help.
Enjoyed this blog? Take a look at: 5 Ways You Can Boost Your Mental Health at University or Mental Health Awareness Week: It's OK to Say You're Not OK