Mental health: tips to help you get through university when you're struggling
Mental health illnesses are something that many of us experience at some point in our lives.
The pressure of reaching assignment deadlines can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for some, and with the added pressure that mental health issues can cause, it can make even the most basic of tasks seem impossible to complete.
Mental health illnesses can make you feel drained, lonely, emotional and even disconnected from the rest of the world.
When untreated, a mental health illness can almost feel like it's consuming your mind and can become the only thing you can focus on, which eventually leads to you feeling isolated. So normal day-to-day things such as studying, socialising and self-care all become neglected aspects within your life. During my first year of university, I experienced a heartbreaking, life-changing loss which caused me some mental/emotional trauma, and at that time it was the only thing I could focus on. The deadlines kept on coming, I was still struggling to keep up and couldn’t see any way of me gaining control over the situation and at this point I wanted to give up on everything, including university.
However, on a more positive note, I am now about to finish my second year and starting to get prepared for my third and final year. Even when you feel like everything is getting a bit too much, there are ways to cope. Here are some tips that will help you get through any difficult times whilst you're at university:
Give yourself time
Don’t rush yourself to feel better. This is a journey and you're not going to get there overnight but just remember that each day is a stepping stone to success.
Set yourself some intentions or a to-do list of tasks that you wish to get done for the day. Set yourself small tasks to complete such as ‘walking the dog’ or ‘drinking enough water’. This will put your mindset at a calmer level and help you feel like you have control over your life again. Ticking the tasks off your list will give you a sense of achievement. This is also good for those who feel they have so many things to do but don’t know where to start. Also, make sure that you put some self-care things on the list too.
It's ok not to be ok
As cliché as it may sound, it's true! There's no shame in admitting that you're not ok or if you feel that you need to seek help. The sooner you're honest with yourself and others around you, the sooner you can be on the road to recovery.
Create the right space
Create the right settings when doing your work at home. Take advantage of the fact that you can have things how you want them at instead of how things usually are in lectures. Put on some comfy clothes and have some of your favourite snacks to hand. I also found that having calming music on in the background helps to keep me focused rather than music that I'd generally listen to as I usually get distracted and end up doing more singing than working!