Keep Fresh: How to Look After Your Mental Health at University

Everybody has a unique university experience and deals with stressful situations in vastly different ways. There certainly isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to your mental health, but here are a few things that have helped me during my time at university. Hopefully what I have suggested below may be of some help, whether you have just arrived for your first year or are returning for your last. 

“Me time”

Set some time aside from your busy new social schedule to unwind on your own. Whether that’s tidying your room, reading a book, FaceTiming family, or just taking a shower. Being away from your new friends and de-stressing for a few hours a day will help you mentally reset and prepare for the weeks ahead. 

Some things that I get up to in my “me time” that help take my mind off uni and relax include:

    • Laundry
    • Batch cooking
    • Reading
    • Taking a nap
    • Watching Netflix
    • Arts and crafts
    • Listening to music
    • Exercising (this is super important and scientifically proven to improve mental health)

Get off campus

The ‘uni bubble’ can be a very overwhelming at times; going home to visit family (where possible), or simply exploring the beautiful city we live in, are great opportunities to break free and stretch your wings. Nobody will think less of you if you miss one Saturday night Hive to go home and see your dog!

Stay ahead of the game

You’ll all hate me for saying it, but actually keeping up to date with your courses will take a massive load off your mind. Knowing you have a huge workload looming in the background when you’re going on your fourth night out in a row can really take its toll on you. If you can get all of your work done early and be able to ‘enjoy’ the hangover without having to worry about reading some long, boring article while you’re feeling nauseous, then you’re definitely winning!

Budgeting

Money is a major cause for stress all through life and, as students, it always feels like we’re tight on cash. When your student loan (or whatever form of income you get) comes in, make a plan of how you are going to make it last through the month so that you don’t end up the month living on super noodles and tap water. If possible, put some money aside each month for an ‘emergency fund’ in case something goes wrong and you need some cash quick. (hint: a party is NOT an emergency and not an excuse to dip into the fund for a new outfit)

Seek professional help if it all gets too much

The university offers a wide variety of services and support for those struggling with their mental health including:

  • Counselling and Psychological Services
  • Mental Health First Aid
  • Glasgow University Nightline
  • Big White Wall
  • SRC Advice Centre

The university also has a GP on campus at the Barclay Medical Centre, which is located in the Fraser Building. You can plan a visit if you have concerns about your mental health but make sure that you are registered beforehand.

[Carrie MacNeill – she/her]

[Photo credit: lawsonc1/flickr.com]

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