On Thursday, 3 March 2022, University Mental Health Day brings together the university community to make mental health a priority and create ongoing, year-round change to the future of student mental health.
7 in 10 students experience a short-term mental health condition or have been diagnosed with a long-term mental health condition.
Although university life can be fun, it can also be very challenging. Moving away from home, family, and friends, beginning to live independently perhaps for the first time, can make students vulnerable to mental health struggles.
If you’re struggling to stay on top of your mood, rest assured that you are not the only person feeling like this, and it is likely that there are other people around you that feel the same. Opening up about your mental health can be challenging, but you are not alone.
Ways You Can Look After Your Mental Health
It’s really important to take care of yourself while at university, and in honour of University Mental Health Day, here are some suggestions on how you can try to look after your mental health:
1. Don’t bottle things up
Sometimes, keeping your emotions close to your chest can feel safer, but it isn’t always the healthiest option. A problem shared is a problem halved and opening up about things you’ve been bottling up for a long time can be a good way to cope. Talk to someone, whether a friend, family member, there are always people willing to listen. If you don’t want to speak to anyone you know, you can access free online support.
2. Keep active
Participating in regular exercise has been proven to help increase self-esteem and reduce stress and anxiety. Even if it’s just walking to and from your lectures or taking a stroll around a local park, light exercise for 20 minutes a day can help lift low moods.
3. Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water is essential, not just for your physical but also for your mental health. Staying hydrated can help prevent dehydration, and not drinking enough can affect your concentration levels. It’s recommended that everyone drinks between 6-8 cups of fluid a day water, lower-fat milk, and sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee, all count.
4. Get plenty of sleep
Although it is often easier said than done, trying to stick to a sleeping pattern can be very beneficial. Sleep helps us recover from mental and physical exertion, and maintaining a healthy sleeping pattern has been linked to the improvement of learning, memory, creativity, and mood.
If you’re finding it difficult to switch off, try to create a restful, relaxing sleeping environment and avoid using your electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
5. Seek professional help
There are always people you can reach out to should you ever need it. Many universities have their own wellbeing team and can offer a range of support. It’s a good idea to find out what services your university has in place and how you can get in touch.
Our Village Teams are always happy to help and although they don’t offer emotional support, they can help signpost you to services that can.
There are people available to chat to 24/7 who can help.
There are plenty of helplines staffed by trained people who can listen and provide help if you ever need it. The services are non-judgemental and could help you better understand your emotions. Head over to Mind.org for a list of mental health crisis helplines, or text SHOUT to 85258 for a free, confidential, 24/7 text-messaging support service if you find yourself struggling to cope.
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