Ways to improve mental health as a student
Mental health is a term used in many ways. It is not always easy to describe or understand as everyone has their own individual experiences and needs when it comes to mental health; here is a general overview of how mental health is described.
"Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood."
There is no denying there is a lot of pressure surrounding the student lifestyle whether it is to do with finances, socializing, studying etc. Having these commitments can be stressful and can have a negative effect on the mental health of those involved.
Mental health is individual to each person so it is important to find out what you can do to personally improve your lifestyle, whether you enjoy exercise, meditation, spending time with friends or focusing on a hobby, there's lots of ways to direct your mind in a more positive direction.
It is important to remember fixing mental health isn't always simple, remember to ask for help and not to take on struggles alone, whether that be with friends or family or even your university. There are also many resources which be linked below to help with mental health.
We will start with a few things you can do at home to help improve mental health in the long term and overall improve lifestyle and well-being, these are by no means a permanent fix, but it is important to take time for yourself to wind down.
1. Focus on physical health
Focusing on physical health is the first step in maintaining a positive well-being and mental health taking time out of your week to do a bit of exercise can improve energy and overall mood. This can be getting in ten thousand steps a day or going on a jog around your local area. If you are someone who prefers a more instructed work out it would be a great idea to check out your local unis gym or leisure centre to see what classes they offer, also if you can get a discounted plan as a student.
2. Find a hobby
Putting your energy into something creative and something you enjoy every so often can be really beneficial to mental health, particularly if your hobby is a creative one. Creating something yourself and having that outlet will allow you to put your energy into that and focus it on something fun and useful. Some examples of easy and fun hobbies could be taking up sewing or knitting, for a more arts and crafts option painting and watercolors. For more practical hobbies it may be fun to teach yourself a new skill, maybe cooking or gel nails for example, anything that you find relaxing and enjoyable.
3. Connecting with friends
Making friends at uni can be hard especially when you're entering a completely new environment, but finding new people to connect with and relate to can be really beneficial. This could be by joining a society or making friends in your accommodation and on your course, having someone to chat to is great for relieving stress and a lot of times they may be having similar struggles to you.
4. Relaxing and meditating
Taking up a daily ritual such as meditation and breathing exercises have been proven to relieve stress, adding this into your routine creates a structure and something to focus on at one point in your day to ensure a few minutes away from your phone, work or any other stressful things surrounding your life.
5. Eating a healthy diet
Eating well does not always mean avoiding fatty foods and takeaways, it is important to treat yourself and eat foods you enjoy but maintaining a healthy diet and ensuring you gain healthy nutrients in your food is guaranteed to improve energy and general well-being which overall helps with mental health.
Overall, the key to maintaining positive habits and well-being is focusing on self -care and taking time to enjoy yourself whether that is with hobbies, exercise, or socializing, it is important to create a safe space from things in life that may be stressful and trying to avoid putting yourself under too much pressure. Below will be some links of useful mental health resources that can help if you are ever struggling.
Mind - Mind are a mental health charity that ensure you don't have to face struggles alone.
Mental health charity - Offering help directly to people with mental health.
Young Minds - Helping children and young people with mental health struggles.
Rethink- Providing services for those who are struggling.
Time to Change - provides confidential and nonjudgmental support for everyone.