Marlix Student Living

Mental Health & Wellbeing at University

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University can be an incredibly fun and worthwhile experience for most. However, it’s important that we take note of our mental health and wellbeing regularly along the way. Let us talk you through some tips on how you can manage and support your own mental health.

Recognise the Warning Signs

The absolute first thing to keep in mind is recognise the warning signs. This can be one of the trickiest aspects of your mental health journey. Recognising when things are turning sour can ultimately help kick-start the process to recovery. It can be an overwhelming and scary prospect but it’s important to discuss. Listen to how you are feeling and register if there are any changes in habits. This could be something minute such as feeling more tired than usual or not wanting to socialise as much.

Mental vs Physical Health

Of course, these factors could also be linked to various health conditions, so it’s important to rule out any medical grounds first, such as taking a blood test. Our physical and mental health are intertwined so if one of these is off balance, it will ultimately affect the other. If you’ve already ruled out medical grounds, then let’s start building your knowledge and skills on how to feel better and cope with the struggle’s life throws at us.

Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is power. The more you can understand and learn about your own triggers which may lead you to feel low, overwhelmed or simply not yourself, the better. Try to dig deep into some factors which could affect you. For some, it may be a new environment. For others it may be the stresses of university life. But it’s worth noting, not everyone may have a ‘trigger’. Sometimes our moods can be dependent on our genetic makeup. And that’s OK! We all need to be kind to ourselves and others, whatever our circumstances.

Movement and Fresh Air

To help manage our mood, there are various things we can do regularly. Firstly, movement and fresh air. Going for a walk outside and getting some natural light will not only boost your mood, but it will give you that much needed Vitamin D we all must have to function sufficiently. Yes, leaving your safe space and venturing outside can feel like climbing a mountain when you’re struggling mentally. If this is the case, then a simple indoor workout will get that heart pumping and your body oxygenated, releasing endorphins — those happy chemicals!

Eat and Sleep Well

Student life doesn’t always support the best eating and sleeping habits! The late nights and student budgets can make this aspect quite difficult. But it’s important to prioritise your mental health and wellbeing — try and make sure you’ve got a healthy sleeping pattern and eat regularly. Be aware of what it is you’re consuming too. Yes, it can be unrealistic to maintain a completely clean diet 24/7, but try and get a handful of veggies into your daily routine. You’ll be surprised at how much your diet can affect your mood. After all, Blood sugar fluctuations and nutritional imbalances are often to blame for lethargy and anxiety. Without a steady source of fuel from the foods we eat, our mind and bodies don’t function well.

Practice Mindfulness

Sometimes, when we don’t feel like ourselves, the things that used to bring us pleasure and enjoyment can start to fade. This is completely normal — don’t panic! If that’s the case, it may help to try something new. This can be something small such as listening to different music, reading a new book or even drawing. These types of actions can promote mindfulness; the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing. When we undergo these motions it’s important to not be overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s happening. Try and focus on the activity at hand and give your mind a break from any strong emotions you may be feeling. This allows the brain to relax and take a much-needed break. This ‘grounding’ technique is especially beneficial for those who suffer from anxiety.

Talk to a Friend

It’s easy to forget who we have around us when we are going through a hard time. It can make you feel isolated and lonely. However, a simple text, call or a meet up with someone close can ease some of that loneliness. We all need to be reminded of our support network and how much they can help. If you feel comfortable enough to open-up to them, then do that too. You may be surprised what others are going through. In contrast, if you need some time to yourself, listen to that instinct. Life can be busy so it’s important to take a small slice of time just for you. This could be 15 minutes before you get ready for your day, or as long as you need.

Reach out for Help

Of course, no matter how hard we try, some of these tips just may not cut it. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed; it just means you may need a little extra help. There is absolutely no shame in this step whatsoever. In fact, accepting you may need help is one of the bravest and strongest acts we can do for ourselves. Never forget that no matter how bad things may feel, it will get better. Sometimes we have to ride the wave in order to come out stronger on the other side.

The Samaritans are there 24 hours, seven days a week too and can be contacted on 116 123. Additional sources of mental health support are available here. Our goal is to be the best, healthiest, happiest versions of ourselves, so It’s incredibly important that we look after ourselves and prioritise our mental health.

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