Tamzin, Wellbeing Champion for the Counselling, Health & Wellbeing Service, talks about why mental health matters…
Why do we prioritise physical ailments over mental illness? Just because you can’t see an illness doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Mental health and self-care is so important within today’s modern stressful society. When it all gets too much and your head feels like a chaotic traffic jam of negativity, it’s really important to take some time to look after yourself.
If you are having difficulties with your mental health, it could affect your time at university. Perhaps you are finding it difficult to motivate yourself to attend lectures or finding it increasingly hard to concentrate when you are there.
Sometimes we can become more concerned with the wellbeing of others in our friendship groups, families and relationships. To step back and objectively look at yourself and consider how you are feeling is difficult, but it’s key that you don’t put yourself down.
You must ensure that you make yourself a priority once in a while and, although this may feel selfish at first, it’s necessary for your own wellbeing.
3 Top Tips
1. Share how you feel
When ‘I’ is replaced by ‘we’, illness becomes wellness” – Shannon. L. Alder.
Talking helps to reduce the stigma attached to mental health difficulties – the more we talk, the less isolated and alone we may feel.
You could talk to someone that you know that you can trust. However, you may prefer to talk to someone you don’t know at all. If that’s the case, then please come to the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service’s Wellbeing Walk-in (details below) for a 10-15 minute chat with one of the team about how you have been feeling. They are friendly, approachable and will be non-judgemental about your current circumstances.
2. Find a helpful coping strategy that works for you
Self-care means sometimes having to put yourself first. Remember: you are unable to offer a friend a drink if your own glass is empty. You shouldn’t feel bad about self-care. It’s not selfish and you can still care about others while caring for yourself.
Everyone is different so find a strategy that works for you, whether it’s writing a journal, going for a walk every day or watching your favourite movie. Learn to become your own best friend – treat yourself as you would treat others. Make a self-care box so that when you feel low, all of your favourite soothing things are in one place.
For me personally, mindful meditation has made a profound difference on my own happiness. It helps you to look at those thoughts that you have been pushing aside and consider why they scare or worry you. It helps you to come to terms with your worries and deal with them in a constructive way rather than trying to forget about them altogether. It won’t clear the sky of black clouds, but the clouds turn white and subside somewhat.
3. Look after the basics – take small steps
If you are feeling as though you want to give up on uni and that every day is a struggle, focus on small steps to move through the day, whether this is opening your curtains, making your bed, having a glass of water or having a small stretch in the morning.
Remember: You are unique, important, and worthy of happiness.
What kind act can you do for yourself within the next 24 hours?
Whether it’s enjoying a meal and a movie, or a bath and a book, take some time to be kind to yourself.
Counselling Health & Wellbeing Service
If you are experiencing any kind of emotional distress, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service who can offer support to anybody experiencing any sort of difficulty, however big or small.
The Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service offer booked appointments via an online referral questionnaire, in which friendly, approachable staff can offer you non-judgmental support in a safe and confidential space. They also offer a daily Wellbeing Walk-In Service (3pm-3.45pm: Monday–Friday and Wednesday mornings: 9.30am-10.15am at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place)
If you are worried that you are experiencing physical symptoms that may be affecting your health, we strongly advise you to make a GP appointment to discuss this. If you do not already have a GP, please contact NHS Wales on 0845 46 47 or check out their website.
Your feedback and help please
Have you found this blog post useful? Please help us by commenting in the comments bar below, and if there is anything further you’d like to know ask your questions there too.
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Tamzin, Wellbeing Champion.
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.
The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus. For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.