Student Minds explain their top tips for maintaining good mental health while studying.
College and university can be great fun, but trying to manage study, work and life commitments can be pretty tough. Whether you’ve experienced difficulties or not, everyone has ‘mental health’ and we all need to take care of our minds. Student Minds Top Ten Tips for maintaining good mental health can help you along this student journey.
1) Get Involved!
There is so much going on at college and university so why not make the most of it? Education is about developing yourself as a person, not just an academic, so visit your students’ union to find out how you can get involved with clubs and societies. Many people who struggle do so because they’ve stopped doing things they used to enjoy. Think about when your mental wealth was richer. Are there any activities you can start again now?
2) Do Good to Feel Good
Helping others by deliberate activity has a positive impact on our own mental health. Visit your Volunteering Centre to discover opportunities on campus, in the community or in the great outdoors. You’ll meet new friends whilst learning new skills, making you all the more attractive to future employers! If you have a particular interest in mental health, you could volunteer with or launch a Student Minds group.
3) Start talking about mental health
Talking to others about your feelings can seem scary, but you are not alone. Everyone else is NOT always having an amazing time. Like you they struggle sometimes. Like you they feel better when they talk about it. Talk to people you can trust about how you are feeling; your parents, friends, tutor. If you’re worried about a friend, start a conversation - your understanding could be just what they need. For advice on how to talk about mental health, see Time to Change.
4) Don’t be afraid to seek help
If you broke your arm you’d seek help. It should be the same principle for your mental health. 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem or disorder, where we may need help from a specialist. It’s important to get help when we need it to prevent difficulties becoming more serious. Don’t forget to register with your local GP! Problems with money, housing, relationships and studying are all common causes of worry, your institution provides support services that exist to help you. The Students Against Depression website is also a useful resource, some unis host Eating Disorder Support Groups and Nightline or Samaritans are there to listen.
5) Find study techniques that work for you
Everyone has a different study style so play around to see what works best. Revising in bite-size chunks and then taking a 10 minute break can help with memory retention. See Student Minds' guide for stress free exams for tips. If you find it hard to motivate yourself, see the study support on your college or uni’s website - at least you will be using your procrastination for good!
6) Have a Healthy Body for a Healthy Mind
Eating sensibly and getting the nutrients we need has a good effect on our mood and a bit of exercise will release those good endorphins. Just a regular walk round the park can make a real difference - we also recommend Yoga for the body and mind!
7) Take time to Relax
Many students will juggle multiple responsibilities whilst studying, so it’s crucial that you build in time to chill out. The Be Mindful website has information on meditation, so why not try something new?
8) Don’t forget to sleep
A lack of sleep not only causes tiredness but has also been associated with mental health problems. If you live in a student area, a proper nights sleep can seem impossible, but getting the recommended seven to nine hours will leave you best prepared for the days ahead.
9) Remember ‘ You don’t have to go out’
There are certain social expectations when we go to college or university, but remember you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. People that you would want to be friends with will respect your decisions, so do what makes YOU happy. Visit DrinkAware and Talk to Frank for information about alcohol and drugs.
10) Go Offline
Research has shown that spending too much time on social media can have a negative effect on our mental health, so try to cut down (See here). If you love the internet, do something useful like visiting the sites in this article, they will help you make the best of your student life. Check out Action for Happiness’ 10 keys to Happiness or nef’s Five Ways to Well-being.
Stundent Minds’ top tips have developed out of our national network of Student Minds Groups, run by hundreds of students across the UK, campaigning to help all students make the most out of their university experience and beyond.