Natalie, Student Wellbeing Champion, discusses tips to overcoming a difficult and challenging time…
Are you finding it difficult to cope with the overwhelming feelings and emotions you have been having? Perhaps you have been through a horrible and traumatic event, or perhaps there are always little things coming up that are making you constantly stressed. Even though it may seem like there is always too much going on and that you cannot get on top of everything, this feeling will pass.
Here are 5 tips to help you get back on track.
1) Take care of yourself
When you are in a difficult situation and experiencing challenges in your life, it may it hard to think about self-care. However, practising self-care is so important for you and your mental health in preventing overload, reducing stress and allowing you to feel as if you are in control of yourself, despite everything happening around you. Listen to your body. If you feel like reading a few pages, listening to music or even looking up cute animal pictures to feel a little better, then do it. It’s your mind telling you it needs a break. Here are a few things you could do: exercise, paint/write something creative, do mindfulness exercises, learn something new, read, make a date with yourself, spend time with friends, eat something you like or have a nice long bath/shower.
2) Recognise that feeling bad is temporary
Even though it may seem like things will never get better and there is always something happening, this feeling will pass. When looking at it in terms of resilience, if you are more resilient, you are able to cope with challenges and crisis better. There is a saying: “a resilient person is like a bamboo in a hurricane, they bend rather than break.” Being flexible, adaptable and bending with the wind instead of resisting will help you cope with the situation better. The hurricane will pass and you will be able to get back on your feet again. Just remember: the feeling you are experiencing is temporary. It will pass and you will be okay again.
3) Accept the negative thoughts and feelings instead of trying to push them away
The “Unwelcome party guest” is a metaphorical video which shows what it’s like to try to avoid your problems and bad thoughts, and how coming to terms and accepting them can be beneficial for you.
Emotional acceptance is the willingness and ability to accept the negative emotion, acknowledging and understanding it. By accepting the negative feelings, you are not spending all your time and energy towards pushing it away. Instead, you learn cope with it by becoming familiar and allowing it to integrate into your life, just like the neighbour did in the video. No one enjoys experiencing negative thoughts and emotions, but accepting it could help you to say: “it’s not that bad.”
4) Recognise your thoughts and emotions
Whenever you are experiencing a negative thought, try to distance yourself and be aware of what you are thinking. For example, if you are having thoughts about you not being good enough, think to yourself: “I notice that I’m thinking I’m not good enough.” Being able to separate your thoughts from what you are will help you to identify any negative automatic thoughts you have been having. Whenever you are having negative thoughts or feeling bad, doing this will help you understand that it is simply just a thought, nothing else. Doing mindfulness exercises will also help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings.
5) Talk to someone and get help
Going through a challenging period cannot be easy, especially if you are struggling through it alone. The Counselling, Health and Wellbeing service offers one-to-one sessions, as well as drop-in sessions Monday-Friday at 3pm.
There are also other programmes available for you, especially if you are finding it difficult to cope with everything that is happening and trying to overcome adversity. The Stronger Day by Day course meets once a week for 7 weeks, helping you explore your current coping mechanisms, develop ways of handling challenges and learn skills to boost your emotional resilience.
Just like a bamboo in a hurricane, this feeling will pass and you will be able to bounce back again.
You can sign up for Stronger Day by Day and find out more on our workshops and courses here.
Contact us in Counselling Health & Wellbeing
If you are struggling to improve your wellbeing, please know Cardiff University Support Services are here for you – there is no problem too big or too small and we would be happy to provide you with some support. We offer a range of flexible support options including:
- Counselling and Wellbeing Appointments
- Face to Face, Online or Telephone
- Wellbeing Walk-in: Drop-in Service running Monday to Friday
- Wellbeing Workshops
- Therapeutic Groups
- Wellbeing Champion Support
- Self-help resources
Bookable appointments are available via our online referral questionnaire. We also offer a Wellbeing Walk-In Service, Monday to Friday, 3pm to 3.45pm and Wednesday mornings, 9.30am to 10.15am, at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place. We also hold a walk-in service at our Student Support Centre in Cardigan House at the Heath, on Wednesday afternoons 3pm to 3.45pm.
Watch our video and see for yourself that we have friendly and approachable staff. Staff who are able to listen to you non-judgmentally, in a safe and confidential space.
If talking to a member of staff is something you are not sure about, why not chat to one of our Student Wellbeing Champions. They are trained student volunteers who can signpost you to support, offer you a peer ear and give you basic health and wellbeing advice. If you would like to see our Champions in action, check out their video.
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 to view all of your GP options. The University also has its own GP Practice – Park Place Surgery for those in their catchment area.
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Natalie, Student 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.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.