Looking after your wellbeing at college
As we approach World Mental Health Day, we’re looking at how to focus on your mental health at college. This is a guest blog, written by Ella Burgess at Tutor House.
College life can be demanding . What with work, your social life, and every decision you make feeling like a potentially life-changing one, you’re juggling a lot during this period.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and as though you’re drowning in your day-to-day obligations. But with the right tools, you’ll be able to leave anxiety and stress at the door so you can relax and enjoy the experience.
Learn how to work smart
Work is a big part of the college experience, but knowing how to make the most of your allotted study periods will have an enormous impact on your mentality and significantly decrease your stress levels. So it’s a good idea to start learning how to use your time efficiently and boost your productivity.
Take time to learn various techniques that will help you; from the Pomodoro Technique to meditation, there are so many options out there to ensure you’re getting the most out of your study sessions.
Set aside time for yourself
As important as it is to give work your all, remember to take the time to look after your own needs. Your timetable might be packed, but it’s very important that you’re regularly setting aside a few hours to relax and treat yourself. Maybe you love cooking, watching films, or losing yourself in a good book. Whatever form your self-care takes, make sure you’re leaving enough time in your week to recharge.
This also includes sleep! Prioritise getting a decent stretch of good quality sleep every night. If you struggle with insomnia, there are a lot of tools available to help you, from apps to medication and even sleep therapy.
Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzzword in the past few years, but it really is an incredibly important tool for coping with the fast-paced lives we all live. Mental health advocates describe mindfulness as the ability to be fully in the moment and a heightened awareness of the ways in which your brain is responding to stimuli.
Day-to-day life at college can get pretty intense. Regularly taking the time to slow down and check in with how you’re feeling can do a lot to lessen your chances of panic attacks, insomnia and general anxiety build-up.
Mindfulness also hinges on your understanding of the relationship between the mind and body. Activities that use the brain and the body in tandem, such as yoga and meditation, will help you release deep-rooted tension, both physical and mental, and are a great way to help you feel grounded after a long day.
Take up a hobby outside college
Sometimes you may feel as though you’re being taken over by work and leaving very little of yourself for anything else. A great remedy for this is finding a hobby that has nothing to do with what you’re studying.
Whether this is playing an instrument, painting or knitting, taking up a project or hobby that allows you to escape for a brief period will start to get you feeling excited.
Ask for help
We all struggle sometimes and there’s never any shame in reaching out if you’re feeling overwhelmed or alone. If you’re struggling academically, your tutors will be the first port of call. But you can also seek out private tuition or alternative online resources.
For feelings of general overwhelm and anxiety, mental health workers – whether your GP or within an outside organisation – will provide a friendly ear and guide you on the steps to take to start feeling better.
If you feel you need to talk to someone straight away, some numbers to call are: Mind: 0300 123 3393, Samaritans: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline for anyone feeling distress) and The Mix: 0808 808 4994.