As the semester gets underway, James Johnson runs through some simple tips to help you keep track of your mental health and to flourish during your studies.
In the frenzy of welcome week and the beginning of a new semester, safeguarding your mental well-being is one of your greatest tools to ensure your own success.
Moving into a new apartment or student halls, adjusting to new classes and schedules, and socialising with new groups of people, are stress-free and exciting transitions for many. For some, this process can be testing. It is crucial to recognise that we all struggle from time to time; it is equally important to recognise that a struggle is not a source of embarrassment, but an opportunity to ask for help and to better understand ourselves.
Adapting to university is by no means an easy process but there are simple steps we can all take to ensure we are able to take the most from our time in Manchester.
Mental well-being is a process that is by no means static; peaks and troughs are normal. Here are some simple tips that might help you adapt to your new university life and may just help inject a little more happiness into your everyday.
1. Step outside of your comfort zone — university may be the best place for you to step outside of your typical range of activities. Why not try something completely out of the ordinary and boost your self-esteem by learning a new skill. Visit a few new places in your free time or take a trip out of town. Go along to all and any social events — the anxiety of going will be ousted by your new connections and friends.
2. Take care of your physical health — the pace of everyday university life means it can be easy to forget to take care of our physical health. The thought of attempting to partake in some kind of physical exercise almost always loses to the idea of benefiting from the latest take-out deal around town. But exercise doesn’t have to be the activity that we should enjoy, but the activity that can aid our mental well-being. Try walking instead of hopping on the bus or take a weekend walk in the countryside. Manchester is always ready to provide you with a healthy dose of fresh air!
3. Take some YOU time — by the time we reach University, we are infinitely aware of the things that bring us joy and the things that do not. Taking some time out of your schedule to take care of your mental well-being is as important as ensuring you’re the most diligent reader in your seminar. Go watch that movie you’ve been wanting to see, go for dinner at your favourite restaurant, or just grab a great cup of coffee and finish that book you’ve been working on.
4. Seek advice and TALK — talking about our mental health has certainly entered the discussion in recent years but often, we’re still plagued by the idea of pretending that everything isn’t always peachy – but often, it isn’t! The university has a plethora of resources available to you to discuss your options. Your academic advisors, support services, and the counselling service are but a few of the available sources. Consider talking with your friends over coffee about the things you’ve been struggling with, perhaps they may have some advice. The chances are, you’ll never regret starting the conversation.
5. Eat happy, feel happy — eating your way to a better sense of well-being may sound too obvious to be true but your diet is a crucial part of maintaining your mood and energy levels. Inject a little colour into your plate or consider trying one of Manchester’s incredible health food outlets. And stay hydrated too — your skin and your brain will thank you!
6. Reassurance – in the sea of students here at Manchester, it’s easy to feel like the smallest fish in the biggest pond. Every once in a while, consider reminding yourself that you are capable of overcoming any challenge that arises during your time as a student. After all, you’re at one of the country’s greatest institutions for a reason!