Don’t beat yourself up
Self-blame and mental health issues go hand in hand, and we know it can be so easy to punish yourself for feeling this way. People suffering from anxiety and depression often see themselves as weak or somehow lesser than other people because they’re struggling but this is simply not true!
Everyone the world over has suffered or will suffer from mental health issues at some point in their life. This is just a simple fact of being human – no one can be happy all the time.
The severity of these issues will vary from person to person as will the way in which they tackle them, so you might find what works for your family or friends doesn’t work for you. The important thing is that you give yourself the support you deserve and take the first step to open up and let someone know how you feel so you can move forward with the confidence everything is going to be okay.
We're all in this together.
Bonus point: An expert's top tips
Chrissy Orson is a therapist and coach, with extensive experience in helping organisations improve their approach to mental health. We reached out to her for some advice on her top tips when it comes to looking after your mental health as a student:
"Sometimes when we’re studying it can feel like there’s a million and one things to do and not enough time to do it, but then we can’t bring ourselves to get started no matter how hard we try. I know that I for one am a master procrastinator! I’ll do anything rather than revise or get started with that essay – even ironing! These are some things which can absolutely help:
- Make a schedule but make sure it’s manageable and has time set aside for the things you enjoy or a reward for getting things done. If we know we’ve got time to look after ourselves, the long slog seems less daunting and anxiety provoking.
- Try the pomodoro method – turn off all notifications and distractions and set a timer for 25 minutes of proper head down work on a single task. This allows our brain to function on the task in hand rather than managing the distractions of various pings and competing priorities.
- Make a list of manageable tasks – there’s no point writing “complete dissertation” as it’s just too big. We need smaller chunks to give us a sense of achievement and the dopamine hit that comes with it to keep us motivated towards a larger goal.
- Talk to others – it’s all too easy to hide away in the library or your room, and after a long day of work it’s often the thing we want to do next but connecting with each other is absolutely vital for our mental health. It stops us feeling alone and positive friendships/relationships have been shown to have a huge impact on our wellbeing.
- Do something active – I don’t mean you all have to take up marathon running or going to the gym, but being active for as little as 10 minutes a day isn’t just good for our hearts, it’s good for our minds too. Exercise releases endorphins and gives us an energy boost also. Dance round your room, go for a walk with a friend, cycle between lectures or give your room a deep clean – it all counts!
If you’re still struggling, it’s important to reach out and get support. Don’t wait until it all feels too much and you’re at the end of your tether – reach out to your tutors, friends, families, your doctor or the organisations listed below. A problem shared can become a problem solved no matter how big and overwhelming it seems."
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