Hiya! A theme that is never discussed enough is mental health, especially our own mental health! Honestly, lately I have been struggling with it and I am trying my best to recover, but it is not easy at all, and I hope that someday I can say “I made it! I am strong!”.
I am not discussing what led to my struggles, but I can write that the consequences are intense anxiety and lack of concentration. What I am going to do is write about what I am doing to feel better, and about what I should have done in advance, so you won’t do the same.
I am listening to an audiobook (when I am on the bus or just walking) about the specific cause of my anxiety. If, for example, you are afraid of dogs (it is just an example), the library is your best option. Go to the self-help section and find your issue there. You can even ask the librarians in our school or the well-being service. Whenever the struggle starts, don’t think “Oh, I’ll think about it after my exams, my birthday, the holidays…” the sooner you do something, the easier it will be.
An easy thing, always helpful, is to start a diary. I have two at the moment, and there is a reason. The first one is that writing helps rationalise the chaos we have in our mind – it is more or less like having a messy ball of yarn, and a report can help unwind the skein of your thoughts. The second is “the 6-minute diary” – it is like a gratefulness journal that enables you to focus on positive things in your life instead of the negative ones. I first saw it at university on Wellbeing Day, and I decided that it could be helpful. Honestly, I still can’t give feedback about it, but I am sure that it doesn’t harm in any case.
Another thing I am trying, but it is one of the most difficult, is meditation (if you have it at home, ask Alexa). I can’t stay still, but I am trying. Again, in any case, it doesn’t harm. I tried even with a bath and a nice smelling bath bomb and, honestly, I hope that my efforts will bring something better than two minutes of relaxing. Still, it’s worth a try, and it smells nice (but don’t do it too often because of the waste of water and the issues with the environment). A lavender bath is the best option to relax, but you can try something else if you don’t like it. Another nice thing can be to burn a candle while bathing.
Another thing I ask Alexa before sleeping, despite my age, is to play Disney lullabies. My favourite is “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. For some reason, this method works. If you don’t like the idea, there is spa music or relaxing sounds.
Physical activity: it can be challenging to decide to run or go to the gym, but afterwards, you’ll be grateful that you have done it. The reason is scientific – physical exercise makes your body release endorphins, hormones that make you feel better, even with the period. You can even just have a walk in a park. To improve mood, sex can be included in the physical activity section, as it releases endorphins.
Remember to take care of your body too. You can put on lotion, book a massage, make a face mask. Take time for yourself, or the burnout is behind the door.
Last, but the most important advice I can give you, is this: don’t be afraid or ashamed to speak to a psychologist. They are here for us, and our University supports that. If you feel you need it now, ask for it now, don’t wait for your issue to be significant. It can be just a single consultation or a cycle, but do it.
Take care of yourself, and be strong. Ask for help when you feel you need it.