Prioritising mental health and self-care at uni

Looking after your mental health and well-being is an important aspect of your overall experience as a university student. Although your university years bring much joy, it’s only natural for various challenges to also present. While not all of them are predictable, they might range from managing your workload to dealing with personal and social issues.

For this reason, it’s ever so important to prioritise your mental health and well-being during your studies. Here are some ways to help you maintain your mental health while navigating the ups and downs of university life:

1) Create a routine that works for you

This could involve setting aside specific time for self-care, sport or leisure. It might be as simple as scheduling time to get out with friends or unwind by watching your comfort TV show. My best piece of advice would be to establish balance in your life; taking time to relax can help you feel energised for your studies.

2) Take regular breaks

Ensure you’re taking regular breaks! It’s important for you to understand when you should take a step back (whether from academics or social life) and allow yourself time to recharge. Often when you step back out of a situation, you are able to view it more clearly and objectively. You may do something as simple as going for a walk in the fresh air, reading a book, or engaging in a hobby that you enjoy. You’re doing an excellent job and you should give yourself more credit.

3) Seek support when needed

Something that took me a while to learn is that it’s okay to seek support and that doing so is a positive step to bettering your well-being. University life can be overwhelming and you may feel pressured to enjoy every moment and only have fun. Although my university time has been incredible, and I’ve made so many friends and stepped outside of my comfort zone (many times), not every second will be easy, and that’s all part of growing as a person and experiencing life. Our university offers so much support for students, and I wish I had used it sooner!

4) Create a support network

Although I have benefited greatly from support at Surrey, something that has been especially helpful for me is having a support network. I’d recommend staying connected with your peers and loved ones. University can have lonely periods, and you may want to shut off from the world at times, but there are people who love and care about you. It’s important to remember how you would treat a friend and give yourself that same energy. Having a support system can really make a difference in coping with life stressors. Maintaining strong relationships with friends and family, when possible, can help you stay grounded and provide a sense of belonging.

Remember that caring for your mental health is just as important as caring for your physical health. Taking a step back and recognising when you need a break or increased support is a sign of self-awareness and strength. It’s okay not to have everything figured out, most of us have no idea! No matter how tough times may feel, you are not alone in this journey, and there are people and services available to support and empower you. I encourage you to stay true to yourself and know that you can get through the storm 🙂