Looking After Your Mental Health at University

Looking For Sunshine

By Callum Woodward

The first lockdown was a shock to us all. There was so much uncertainty about everything. How long would it all last? Are my loved ones okay? What is there to do? But we got through it. And now a second lockdown has reared its ugly head. Once again, we are being asked to make these sacrifices.

And as a student being asked to do a degree on top of everything else, it looks like a lot has been very suddenly put on your plate. You’re away from home, possibly for the first time, with a group of strangers who – let’s be honest – you’re not going to get along with all of them. It can really take its toll.

But the original lockdown taught me how to cope with being stuck inside for long stretches. There are some ideas I have had, ideas about things to do which will make this second lockdown more bearable. I’d like to share some of those with you.

We’ve heard the cliché time and time again about getting enough exercise. But I absolutely benefitted from being more active than I normally would have been. Have a look on YouTube, you can find so many workout videos for all kinds of skill levels. Doing workout videos can give you something to look forward to everyday. Even though whilst you’re doing these workouts, you feel like you’re going to turn into a puddle of custard. But afterwards you feel as if you’ve achieved something, something that you might not have believed that you were capable of.

Secondly, there is definitely something to be said about a good routine. A structure to your days – when they all seem to blur into one another.  Everyone and their mum talks about the benefit of a good amount of sleep.  But it can really help you keep a sense of structure to your day. Set yourself some tasks to do every day. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t get around to doing everything; you’ve achieved something today, and that’s great! If you’re able to get out for a little bit, arrange to meet a friend for a socially-distanced walk. Having that social element will be so beneficial for you.

Also, there are so many smaller online courses that you can study. You’re going to have some free time, after all. Instead of signing up to learn Spanish and then forgetting about it a few days in, there are lots of courses in British Sign Language that you can take. It’s a fantastic skill to have and looks brilliant on a CV. Maybe you have a flatmate who is hard-of-hearing? It will really mean the world to them if you’re making that effort to accommodate them.

Lastly, if none of these things are working for you and you’re still struggling, please make sure you let someone know. Contact a friend or relative that you trust. Also, every University will have a Student Advice and Wellbeing service for times such as this. Speaking from experience, these services are incredibly useful. You can also speak to your Personal Tutor. Or, you can always talk to a Mental Health Charity. There are lots out there to give you that support. Talking helps, please don’t suffer in silence. Organisations that offer help:

https://www.mind.org.uk/

https://www.kooth.com/

https://www.samaritans.org/

https://giveusashout.org/

Last of all of course there is The Lighthouse Counselling Partnership who offer counselling fees on a sliding scale of affordability.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s