Mental Health Management

As an advocate for mental health I want to dedicate a blog to providing advice and resources for mental health management and dealing with home sickness and exam stress.

Looking after your mental health is really important! If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with any mental health issues, feel free to share this blog or contact any of the contacts listed below.

Managing Home sickness

Moving away from your family can be challenging and it is normal to feel homesick. These feelings may occur when you first arrive at uni but with time and self-care, they typically diminish as you become more accustomed to your new surroundings and routine. These feelings may also occur on a random Tuesday and that’s OK. 

Here are ways I alleviate my home sickness: 

  1. Frequently communicating with family and friends back home. 
    • Whether it’s a brief catch-up call or simply having them on the phone while we each do our own tasks, it gives me that cozy sense of connection and support.
  2. Establishing a routine and getting involved in campus activities.
    • The university offers a wide range of sports clubs and societies, as well as other extra-curricular activities to get involved in and doing this can help distract from feelings of homesickness and foster new friendships. For a list of extra-curricular activities, visit my previous blog.
  3. Explore Guildford.
    • Exploring the new surroundings and getting to know the local community can help to create a sense of belonging. For a list of things to do in Guildford, visit my previous blog.

Managing Exam and Assignment Stress

The university has 2 exam periods (excluding mid-semester exams and summer resits) during each academic year and these times can be very stressful to manage and avoid burnout.

Here is some advice that can help you feel less overwhelmed:

  1. Stay organised
    • Put your upcoming exam and assignment dates in your calendar to be aware of deadlines.
    • Create a study schedule and break down material into manageable chunks. Prioritise which tasks are important and set realistic goals to avoid burnout. 
    • For assignments, carefully read the assignment briefs to understand what is expected.
  2. Take regular breaks.
    • I use the Pomodoro technique which involves working for 25 minutes straight, then taking a 5 minute break (to eat snacks, reply to messages, use the bathroom, etc) and repeat this four times. On the fourth break, I take a 30-40 minute break to each lunch or a bigger snack or go for a walk. Then repeat the cycle until the task is complete.
    • I found that this very beneficial in managing stress levels.
  3. Don’t forget to eat and sleep!
    • Getting enough sleep and maintaining a healthy calorie intake can support overall well-being and enhance your focus. 
    • If I am studying on campus, I set a finish time of 7pm. This gives me enough time to walk home, make dinner and get ready of bed.
    • If I am studying at home, I set a finish time a little later at around 8:30pm. It also depends if I have to cook or reheat dinner.

Maintain a Healthy Work-life Balance

I found that maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for overall well-being and productivity.

Here is how I maintain a healthy work-life balance:

  • Set boundaries between work and personal life:
    • I set specific work hours and stick to them as much as possible.
    • For example, my friends hate that I have ‘office hours’ where, if it is not a personal/urgent message and they send it after 6pm, I will not reply to it until the next day. But I found that this helps me maintain my sanity where I don’t feel overwhelmed, and I am not constantly bombarded with work or feel overworked.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
    • If you are working on a group project, don’t be afraid to let your team know that you are struggling to meet the deadlines set or it you don’t understand the task delegated to you.
  • Make time for activities that you enjoy
    • Find activities that help you relax. This can be by spending time with loved ones, exercising, pursuing hobbies, or simply taking time for yourself.
    • My favourite hobby is yoga and my favourite form a self care is skin care.

There is no right or wrong way to find the perfect work-life balance. Some trial and error may be what’s needed to do what is best for you.

List of useful contacts who are here to help:

Seeking support from counselling services or joining support groups with fellow students who may be experiencing similar feelings can offer valuable coping mechanisms and reassurance. 

Don’t forget to check in on your friends and most importantly, look after yourself! See you in the next blog 🙂