This week (14th – 20th May) is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme of this year’s campaign – which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is stress. And although stress itself isn’t a mental health problem, it is linked to our mental health because too much stress, for too long, can make us ill. If unaddressed, stress can cause mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, which can lead to self-harm and suicide. Stress can also affect your physical health and cause problems such as cardiovascular disease and problems with your joints and muscles.
As a student, there are times throughout your time at university that you may feel stressed or overwhelmed such as when sitting exams. However, there are things you can do which will take your mind off things and help you to feel less stressed. Let’s take a closer look:
- Exercise: your physical and mental health are connected so eat well and exercise regularly to release endorphins – which trigger a positive feeling in the body. Whether it’s riding your bike, playing a team sport, or hitting the gym, find an activity that you enjoy and you can fit into your schedule.
- Have fun: your life shouldn’t revolve around studying and exams. Yes, you’re at university to learn and get a degree, but you should also make time to have fun and embrace life as a student. From catching up with friends or watching a movie, to shopping or a night out, it’s important to set aside time to have fun and indulge because the positive emotions can help build a buffer against stress.
- Learn a new skill: Having a hobby can be the perfect way to unwind and take your mind off feeling stressed, and trying a something new can be fun too. So why not try learning a new language, playing an instrument, painting a picture or joining a photography class – the options are endless.
- Switch off: In this day and age, it’s too easy to get caught up with things going on around you – both online and offline. So, take some time out and step away from any distractions to have some ‘me’ time – that includes turning off your phone! Even if it’s just 10 minutes each day, make time for yourself as regular part of your routine.
- Talk to others: It’s OK to feel stressed, we all do at different stages in our lives. But it’s important to share how you’re feeling and not keep things bottled up. It’s OK to ask for help and support from others. Whether it’s a friend, flat mate, university lecturer or a staff member at your accommodation, there is always someone to turn to.
If you are concerned about your stress levels, please pop to Reception and speak with our friendly team and we will be happy to help. You can also find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week here.