Mental health impacts every part of our lives, so it is incredibly important that we aim to maintain good mental health, especially when trying to achieve our goals. Going to university is a big step and can be extremely daunting even if you’ve already had experience in higher education, so here are some things I would recommend doing to prioritise your mental health alongside your studies!
Put some time aside for self-care
Self-care means something different for everyone. Whatever your idea of self-care is, it’s important to take a break from studying and dedicate some time to looking after yourself.
Whilst some of the most typical forms of self-care might include things like taking a bath, doing your skincare routine, and listening to music, I think it’s also worth being particularly mindful of how you’re taking care of yourself in the most basic ways too.
For example, eating enough food and drinking enough water every day. Pulling an all-nighter might seem like the best way to get all your work done (trust me, I’ve been there!) but we’re far more likely to get more work done the day after if we get a good night’s sleep.
Use a journal/planner to keep track of how you’re doing
Something that has helped me look after my mental health during university is keeping some sort of journal and planner to keep track of what you’re getting up to each day.
When you’ve got a lot going on, it can be really helpful to declutter your brain by writing things down! I like to make notes of when my deadlines are throughout the year, and more importantly, as I’m coming up to those deadlines, write down what I aim to achieve each day (like a mini to-do list).
I also like to keep a diary of how I’m feeling each day, including what I eat, how much exercise and fresh air I get, and any other additions to my routine, so that I know the conditions in which I tend to be most motivated.
Learn to recognise when enough is enough
Every university student is bound to suffer from burnout at some point during their studies. Preventing this from happening is one of the main ways to prioritise your mental health and will likely help you to be more productive in the long run.
As well as implementing regular breaks throughout your study time to just take a walk and get something to eat or drink, being able to recognise when you’re getting burnt out and allowing yourself to have some time away from studying can be crucial.
Whenever I need to take a break, I like to write down what I have completed and what I need to do when I feel up to getting back to work; sometimes I find it quite hard to switch off and relax, so doing this helps me to clear my mind.
Communicate with your tutors
I know it can be extremely daunting talking to your tutors especially if you’re struggling, but they’re there to help you and they appreciate when students communicate properly.
There’s no such thing as a stupid question, so whether it’s asking for some extra help with something you don’t understand or asking for support to study in a slightly different way to suit your individual needs, it’s always worth speaking to them.
Additionally, if you need to take some time off due to your mental health, letting your tutor know (as well as Student Services) will allow them to help make sure you don’t fall too far behind.
Make sure you have someone you can talk to
If you’ve been trying your hardest to maintain your mental health and still find that you’re struggling, there are plenty of people you can reach out to. Talking to a friend or family member about what’s been on your mind (with their consent, of course) can help you de-stress, even if all they’re able to do is listen. Alternatively, you can get in touch with the Counselling team at Pearson College London either for regular sessions or just a one-off call. There will always be someone available at Pearson College London to offer you some support!
By Zoe Walker, Second Year Animation Student