Avoid The Pressure
Students are expected to be going to a different society each day, partying all the time and studying until 3am. If you don’t do all that you get the feeling you are missing out on this media-enforced assertion of what ‘student life’ should be. Maybe you’re taking anti-depressants and can’t drink, or maybe right now you know that all the socialising mixed in with midnight caffeine wouldn’t work if you struggle with an anxious mind-set. Therefore, my advice is to try not to feel pressured to be part of a certain lifestyle. Put yourself first. Your mental wellbeing matters more than other people’s opinions.
Words by Charlotte Colombo
Firstly, fitting in exercise is an absolute must for me, it gives me two hours a day where I can just unwind and feel refreshed afterwards; a sort of detox of my mind. Secondly, organising your paperwork or tidying your room also helps, this leaves you feeling on top of it and like you can conquer everything. Secondly, try not to take professional criticism personally. Sometimes, when you feel like you underperform in an essay or get rejected from a job, you have to take yourself out of it and understand why it was that way, not think that you are now incapable of being where you want to be.
Words by Samuel Tyler
The thing that has helped me most day-to-day (aside from the therapy and medication) is taking a little bit of time out of every day to do something nice for myself, in a form of self-care. First suggested to me by my therapist as a way to calm down anxious thoughts, it’s the idea of focussing all of your energy on the thing that you’re doing, on something nice you’re doing for yourself. It can be a face mask, a bath bomb, reading a book or even just making a cup of tea. People can be quite negative about the idea of self-care but to me it’s just making time to do something for yourself that your negative thoughts are saying aren’t worth doing. It’s a way of shutting down those thoughts, doing the nice thing for yourself anyway, and ultimately feeling better for it.
words by Carly-May Kavanagh
Keep A Positive Attitude
Mental health is a delicate thing that comes in all shapes and sizes. While I appreciate that some days it’s necessary to hide in your sweatiest jumper with Netflix in bed, I’m a firm believer that the best way to improve your outlook on the world is to turn your attention to those around you. Enter into life with a positive attitude and it will soon transfer. If a friend or family member is having a tough day, do something to cheer them up. Buy someone some flowers, or chocolate, or a pint, and the smile you get in return will automatically lift your day. Relish in the reward of feeling loved and valued. What’s more, what goes around comes around – next time you’re having the crappiest of days, that friend will remember and hopefully give back to you.
Words by James Barker
Treasuring the Small Things
In our efforts to maintain our mental health and well-being, it’s often assumed to remain ‘happy’ (for want of a better word) that we need to perform elaborate actions to ensure we enjoy ourselves in life, rather than being dragged along and caught in the motions. It is somewhat simpler in my view. A lot of the time, people forget to treasure the little things in life, like sitting down with a close friend and a cup of strong tea and just talking through everything- we all need an agony aunt session at some point whether it is 10am, or 11pm. Small things like that, on a regular repeated basis, can really help yourself connect with others, and it is always nicer when you aren’t the only person facing your problems. People will listen, empathise and help, all you need to do is tell them.
Words by Robert Pratley
Challenge The Inner Negative Voice
When your mental health gets bad, it’s easy to listen to the negative voice that tells you you’re useless, nobody likes you, you deserve to fail. One way to combat these feelings of negativity is to find evidence against the statement. So if you’re hearing “nobody likes you” think about the people who care about you and the ways they show it, and how you make a difference in their lives. Remind yourself of positive things you’ve achieved, whether that’s academically, socially, or in a hobby or another area of your life. Even little things like tackling the mountain of washing up or taking the time to support a friend can be used to remind yourself that actually, today or this week you have done something positive.
Words by Max Perry
Remember that the worst is always followed by the best. Your very existence is a reason to smile for many people, so don’t undervalue yourself and what you can achieve. It’s no coincidence that the most revered and famous people today have been through the unimaginable and “uncharted territory” when it comes to mental health. Don’t allow the pain of the moment to over-power you. Be a fighter!
Words by Shaheer Ali
You Come First Always, Not Your Degree
Mindfulness. It is severely underrated in combatting mental illnesses – especially depression. We live such fast-paced lives these days, being hyper-connected on social media, bombarded with deadlines, and sometimes having to deal with unsupportive friends and parents who ‘just don’t get it’. It’s just so easy to feel overwhelmed. As someone who has struggled with depression for over 5 years now, often having struggled to deal with thoughts of self-harm and suicide, I would say that mindfulness has been extremely helpful in my fight against depression. Along with this I would absolutely advocate for self-love and self-care. You come first always, not your degree.
Words by James Howlett