Student Mental Wellbeing: Why it’s important?

Attending University can mean making a big change in your life; opening yourself up to new opportunities, connecting with peers and moving away from home. And with change usually comes negative emotions in the form of anxiety, stress and fear. These are common reactions to a new environment. Whether you’re adjusting as a first-year student or a third-year student juggling university and placement, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Everyone around you is on their own journey and facing similar situations and emotions, you are not alone. 
Find your middle ground
University is supposed to be a time where you push yourself to achieve the best of your potential but it is also the time to enjoy life and have amazing experiences. Leading a balanced life-style will benefit both your studies and your mental health. A common mistake to make while studying is neglecting your wellbeing; prioritising study over basic human needs. Replacing sleep with assignments and a healthy diet with a chocolate bar and energy drink. Find the middle ground that works for you and see the benefits from this decision.
Plan and Organise your day
Being organised is a great way to stay on top of your work and reduce any stress over being behind, create a schedule with allotted time to study for each course and maximise what you intend to cover over that period. Use a reward system throughout your study, try working for an hour then taking a 10-minute break, get up and stretch your legs, give your brain a rest before you settle in again. Find a way to enjoy studying, figure out how you learn best and work under those conditions; listen to recordings of lectures, write everything out or make a game out of studying. Plan for upcoming exams and make a record in your calendar for due dates on assignments, aim to finish before then so that you have time to go over your work. 
Recognise when you need a break
If you find yourself procrastinating, allow yourself time away from studying without feeling guilty, the added pressure won’t encourage you to work harder in that moment. Having a schedule will help you be proactive with your mental health and education, recognise when you need a break, and take time to destress. Be as compassionate to yourself as you would be to a friend struggling with their own wellbeing. We lack sensitivity towards ourselves due to the stigma around mental health and don’t often admit when we’re struggling but that’s the first step in taking back control over our lives. There will always be hard days every now and then but don’t let it get you down, start each day anew and embrace whatever comes your way.
Enjoy the little things within your day
With the continued pandemic interfering with every aspect of life it’s natural to be confused and frustrated. Dealing with the unknown impact on every area of life; not knowing if classes will be online or if you’re allowed to attend exams, fearing for your safety and those around you. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can affect your wellbeing significantly. Show compassion to those you encounter and make extra effort to interact through zoom and social media. Find ways to keep yourself entertained, like trying out new hobbies. Get involved with TikTok hacks, learn a quick skill and enjoy the little things within your day.
Reach out and express how you feel
University provides a safe space for students to challenge themselves with access to support networks for when this feels overwhelming. Stay in contact to those you’re close to; friends, family and tutors. Reach out and express how you feel to the people around you; they can’t help if you stay silent. If this feels like a temporary fix and you still don’t feel like you’re managing then approach your GP or the University Doctors and they’ll be able to connect you to councillors or discuss other options to help you. Councillors can provide coping mechanisms to help you manage day to day life, help you work through emotions or can simply be an ear to vent too. 
Taking care of your wellbeing can be as simple as going to bed early, socialising with friends, exercising, or eating a good meal. By caring for yourself, you can prevent any potential burnouts later in the year. It’s not always as simple as watching a movie or getting take-out, sometimes you need outside help. It takes time to find the best method that works for you but it’s worth putting in the effort. Acknowledging your emotions is the first step, then you look at finding ways to elevate them. What works for others might not necessarily work for you and that’s okay. The hardest expectations to meet are the ones you place upon yourself; University isn’t pass or fail; the system wants to assist students in any way possible. All you need to do is ask for help when you need it. 

Be consistent with prioritising your wellbeing, every day of every week, and remember to treat yourself with kindness.
- Shannel Milne