OK, this is cheesy, but it’s important. We need to take care of ourselves – mentally and emotionally, as well as physically.
No, really. We’re exposed to so many images of people with the perfect body, perfect hair, perfect lips… perfect life. And it’s starting to have an impact on people.
So here’s my attempt at balancing things out a little: you’re awesome. See? I told you this post was cheesy. But it’s true: you achieve things every day at university, and you’re working towards something important.
These are just a few tips to help you stay awesome, to help you feel awesome when things are getting bad. Also, as it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, I wanted to write something that promotes self care, well-being and positivity!
I know it might sound like a waste of time but, keeping a diary, planning your time and prioritising certain tasks really helps with your mental well-being. Starting assignments earlier in the semester definitely means less stress in the long run. I know in October it feels like you’ve only just got started but, December deadlines come around real quick!
Yes exercise. I’m not talking about that hungover walk to McDonalds for breakfast on a Sunday morning, but you don’t have to be Rocky either. Light exercise 4-5 times a week can boost your immune system, confidence and concentration, and you’ll sleep like a log.
When you’ve got anxiety, looming deadlines and exams, a raging cold and flatmates you want to lock out of the house, it’s not easy to focus on the positive things in life. But when things start becoming a bit too much, which happens to all of us from time to time, take a few minutes just to think about what you’ve achieved and give thanks for the positive things in your life. Count your blessings.
I know this sounds like a granny style cliché, like drinking tea and getting fresh air makes everything better but, you’d be surprised. If the air is crisp and fresh, it makes us breathe more deeply, breathing deeply makes us more relaxed, it’s as simple as that. Also, on those rare days when the sun shows up, you soak up some vitamin D into the bargain, which keeps your bones, teeth and muscles nice and healthy.
Talking of hangovers… Everybody likes to go out with friends, have fun and a few drinks every now and then but, don’t forget that alcohol is a depressant. Drinking quite a bit, regularly can make you tired, being tired leads to mood swings and generally feeling crappy and nobody wants that.
As easy as it is to live on McDonalds and pasta with tonnes of cheese, it’s important to eat a balanced diet. Greasy, fatty or sugary foods can temporarily make you feel pretty good and are of course tasty, but in the long run, they’re only good for fast-burning energy. Cheeseburgers are great and all but, don’t forget to grab some fruit sometimes as well.
Don’t Bottle It Up
Wine belongs in bottles. Not your emotions. You don’t have to be 100% sewn up, keeping it together all the time. Sometimes it feels good just to have a rant and a rave or a good cry on someone’s shoulder before you can carry on again. Whether it’s a family member, friend, co-worker, University or Students Union mental health counsellor, it doesn’t matter, it’s whoever you feel comfortable talking to.
I’m aware that so far, this list has been pretty boring, important yes but, pretty dull. So, I should say that it’s also important to have fun when you can. Make sure you spend time doing something you enjoy, in between the assignment meltdowns. You might be into reading, kayaking, base jumping, video games or something really crazy, like stamp collecting (yes, it’s a thing), whatever it is, indulge when you can, and if you invite friends along, even better.
Believe in Yourself!
This is going to get a bit cheesy but bear with me, everybody loves some cheesiness every now and then, right? I mean, what were S Club7 for? To be fair, the whole of the 90’s was pretty cheesy… Anyway, believe in yourself! Simple as that! And yes, I know, sometimes when you’ve just had a grade come back lower than you hoped for and, your favourite jeans are getting a bit snug or you can’t do your damn winged eyeliner properly, you don’t exactly feel at your best, confidence wise but, again, think of the positives! Think about what you DO like about yourself. Chances are, you’ll be walking down the street and somebody will be thinking, “Damn, I wish I could do my winged eyeliner like that.”
I’ve touched on it a little in this post but, I just wanted to highlight the fact that, whatever you’re going through, there are people right here to help. Sheffield Hallam University has a full functioning health care clinic, as well a mental well-being support team. Sheffield Hallam Students Union also has a Help and Support team you can talk to, it’s free confidential and no problem is too big or too small.