Keeping Your Mental Health in Check

As a uni student, with so much on our plates it can be easy to forget to take a moment to check in with ourselves and breathe. Often, we are juggling assignments, exams, study, extra-curricular, social life, work – life is busy but it’s extremely important that we first look after our health. Mental health can be a tough space to navigate, and emotions are usually complicated, but I think we all deal with enough stress already. So, here are a couple tips on how to maintain your mental health and a couple support networks you can reach out to when times get tough.

Remember to Take Breaks

This sounds simple and (surprise!) it is, but with so much going on in our lives I think it’s easy to forget just how much a break can do for us. Scheduling time for breaks is extremely important as the mind is not invincible and needs rest. Giving yourself time to sit back with your favourite show is not being unproductive; it’s healthy, realistic, and fun. Rest also gives us time to sit with our thoughts and feelings and get to know ourselves better. With busy lives comes busy minds and its easy to get lost when your brain is constantly filled with social media stimulus, stress from work or uni and whatever else happens in our lives. Take the time to learn more about yourself and reflect!

Appreciation Journaling

As cheesy as it sounds, it’s an exercise that could offer a lot of value if you want to give it a go. Taking the time to really think about the small things you appreciate in your life can be really centring. There are a lot of things which can be easily taken for granted and realising them and appreciating them brings a lot more positivity back into your mind. If you’re frequently stressed, with tendencies to spiral downward into negativity, it’s easy to make this a habit. Your brain wires itself to be more pessimistic, as sad as it sounds. To negate this, try to think about things you are glad to have in the present, even if it’s as simple as having a home. It gives you a brighter perspective when things are looking down for you. Looking back on what you didn’t have in the past but have now brings on the feeling of appreciation really well too.

Frequent exercise

I think we all know the science behind exercise and how it releases endorphins and serotonin which makes you happy yada yada. If you didn’t, well, now you know. As much as you and I probably don’t want me droning on about how exercise is healthy for you and how it can improve your mood, it’s simply the truth of it. It’s important that, even though you feel down, and you can’t find the motivation to do anything, you get up and do something. Even a stretch or a short walk around the neighbourhood will benefit you greatly. Even if you must force it! I promise, you’ll feel better and your mind will feel clearer. Hopefully. And if not, try these other tips.

Reach out and talk about it

Emotions are scary. Terrifying. They’re complex, confusing and can be difficult to comprehend. Often, we don’t want to burden others or appear weak in any way but talking to someone close to you will help you handle the emotions a little better. As they say, two minds are better than one right? If the thought of opening up to someone close is too scary or you really don’t want to burden your relationships, reach out for professional help. UTS offers counselling services and there are plenty of third-party free helplines available such as the one at BeyondBlue.

Don’t forget to ask for help if you need

If uni is really stressing you out and you find that you’re struggling to keep up, there are plenty of services available to assist you in your studies. Reach out to your tutor to ask questions about concepts and tasks or inform your subject co-ordinator about your issues and discuss possible solutions with them. UTS HELPS (Higher Education Language and Presentation Support) provides English literacy support if needed and plenty of students within societies are willing to help with content if you just drop a question on social platforms!

There are plenty more methods to help you handle your mental health during tough times, but these are a handful which you can try when you have no idea where to start. I hope these will help and remember, have fun! Life is about living.

Mental Health Support Services

Lifeline Counselling Service: 13 11 14 (24-hours)
NSW Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511 (24-hours)
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital crisis service: 9515 6111 (ask for after-hours crisis workers)
Beyondblue Support Service: 1300 224 636
Headspace on 1800 650 890
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467