This is not going to be one of those articles that tells you to take a bath and everything will feel better. Unfortunately, as lovely as baths are, self care does not always equal good mental health. We need to start by looking after yourself in more ways than just pamper days. So, if you are looking for the real ways to take care of your mental health at university, keep on reading.
Take a deep breath. Or a few.
No, really. Don’t worry I will wait here until you have taken at least 3 deep breaths.
Stop clenching your jaw, relax your shoulders, shake it off. Remove the tension from your body.
Done? Okay. Now feel whatever it is you are sitting/lying/standing on, or something near you. Don’t feel silly, I promise this will help you.
Sniff the air!
Ok, this one seems silly, but what do you smell and see around you?
How do you feel now? You have just been through a small grounding exercise. This is something that can prevent panic attacks from forming as badly, or even at all when you feel a sense of panic, or even more severe cases such as disassociation.
I will leave some resources down below for you to read all about this process. Remember this process the next time you feel panicked, stressed, or like you are having a panic attack. Stopping anxiety in its tracks and dealing with panic attacks is a good way to de-escalate things.
If you are at the stage you are having panic attacks, it is best to try combat the root of your problems through the means of talking to others. This is explained a little further down.
Mental health is a complex issue, which is unique for all of us.
University is hard, and it comes with challenges, not just in the classroom. It is normal to feel anxious, happy, sad and a whole range of things. It is part of the human condition to go through great times and not so great times. But when you feel yourself slipping into a depression you can’t seem to get out of, distancing yourself from friends, and stopping doing the things you love, it may be time to seek help.
And that is ok.
You are going to be alright. This is temporary. You are worthy of such amazing things.
Speaking to a therapist or councillor is, for most, something they will do at some point in their lives. Sometimes we need to get all of our thoughts out there, and get a new perspective to get our lives moving in a good direction.
University can be brilliant, the best time of your life, and fulfilling. The side that you don’t see in films is that it can also be devastating, difficult and a mess at times.
I personally have had the best and worst things happen to me at university, and at times, my anxiety has gotten really bad. I’m talking sitting on the floor, rocking back and forth about to quit university bad.
Like I said before, feeling happy and sad is unfortunately part of life. It is pretty normal actually. However, there are times when we need to take a step back and evaluate where we are mentally. If you don’t want to get out of bed, feel tired all of the time, stop washing, or even just feel like you want help, it is ok to talk to someone. Visit your doctor, speak to a friend, use one of the resources down below.
Remember that no issue you are facing is ever insignificant or small. If something is bothering you, or making you sad. Reach out to someone.
Reaching out is a good way to help your mental wellbeing at university.
This could mean:
- Speaking to friends
- Speaking to a family member
- Talking to a faculty member/your lecturer/your personal tutor/your professor/your teacher
- Scheduling a doctors appointment to regularly check in
- Contacting your university to ask about their counselling programme, or the best local ones
If you, or a friend are feeling very down, suicidal, or need immediate help please call The Samaritans on 116123. Or in case of emergency, call 999/911 in the USA, and ask for the ambulance service.
Ok, I know I said earlier that a bubble bath wont solve your problems on its own. However, it will make you feel great, and I encourage it as part of your routine by leading a self-loving lifestyle.
On a daily basis, you should be taking care of yourself. Your body is a temple, and your physical and mental health is important. Take care of yourself through exercising, eating well, meditating, reading and being organised.
Having friends that help you live your best life can be great, but make sure you are in relationships that make you happy and give you joy. Get rid of everyone that makes you feel bad about yourself, is a bad influence, or doesn’t encourage you to reach your full potential. You are flipping awesome in your own right. Remember that.
Make sure you have a routine which includes things that are not university work, like your favourite hobbies. If you don’t have one try something new!
Looking after yourself by creating balance can be a challenge, especially around exam/dissertation season. However, I encourage you never to push yourself too hard. Working hard is great, and often needed for college and university. However, your mental well being is more important than getting an A. I promise top marks are not worth crying on the floor at 3am because your world is falling apart. Put yourself first, but don’t allow yourself to procrastinate. Taking breaks is good, and looking after yourself is key, but you still have to work hard!
This is why balance is so important. Make sure you make time for you.
Surround yourself with supportive people, take care of yourself and never be afraid to ask for help.
Believe me when I say, YOU are an awesome unicorn, who brings so much value to the world. You have so many talents, some I bet you don’t even know about yet! You are so smart, beautiful and kind. Keep being you, because you are more than enough.
Lead writer for The Lazzzy Student x
If this article helped you, please share to help someone else. I hope you feel more confident in looking out for yourself. Make sure you take care of your mental health at university! Be your own cheerleader!
Here are some links to check out:
Have you seen our video on taking care of your mental health at university? Check it out below!