Everybody has things going on in their personal lives and as a result, our mental wellbeing can vary day to day. It's difficult to take action to help your wellbeing, especially when you're not feeling your best.
There are small steps that we can take each day that will help look after our mental wellbeing. According to the British Medical Association, research has shown that there are many benefits of taking action to support your wellbeing. These include:
- Greater self-confidence and control
- Improved quality of life
- Healthier behaviours
- Better understanding of your own health
I don't have a lot of time. How can I improve my mental wellbeing?
It's important to notice when your mental wellbeing spiralling, so that you can take action to prevent it and help yourself.
There are some questions that you can ask yourself if you think you are experiencing mental wellbeing issues.
Spot the signs, reflect on how you feel and ask yourself:
Helpful questions you could ask yourself:
- Have you been avoiding socialising recently?
- Have you been distancing yourself from friends or family?
- Have you felt that your academic, sporting, or extracurricular performance hasn't been where you'd like it to be recently?
- Have you experienced a significant change in your eating habits - having a much smaller, or bigger, appetite than usual?
- Have you noticed that you're sleeping more than usual, finding it difficult to fall asleep or having difficulty staying asleep?
- Have you recently found it more of a struggle to take care of your personal appearance?
What can I do if I don't have a lot of time??
University can be very busy and stressful sometimes, which can make it more difficult to find the time to look after your mental wellbeing. When you're busy, stresses can pile up and have really damaging effects, so it's important to take some time to prioritise your own mental wellbeing. ?If you have:
- Make a brew and enjoy it without being distracted
- Cuddle with a pet or teddy
- Set out a to-do list (so you have a clearer picture of what you can do and when)
- Text or call a friend
- Watch and follow a guided meditation video
- Go for a quick walk
- Do a quick tidy and clean of your room or workspace
- Listen to a few of your favourite songs
- Get some exercise; whether that's going for a run, doing some yoga, going for a brisk walk
- Call a friend or family member for a good catch-up
- Have a nap
- Watch an episode of your favourite TV show
- Grab some coffee with a friend
- Cook a delicious meal or bake some tasty treats
Take small steps; all of them count
Finding the time to look after your mental wellbeing can be difficult. Try choosing one way to prioritise your mental wellbeing this week. It is best to anchor your intention to a known time or other commitment, e.g. 'after my lectures on Thursday'. Use the phrase "I will do this specific action on this day." and see how it goes!
Sometimes, the thought of doing anything is just too much. If this describes your situation, don't punish yourself. The great thing about taking small steps is that it doesn't matter how small your goal is. You decide what you want to achieve and what is realistic for you to achieve. That way, the completion of any task - no matter how simple it may seem - is recognised as the achievement that it is.
You may find it useful to record how you felt during/after doing things to support your mental wellbeing in a journal. Doing this means that you can look back when you next feel low and remind yourself of what has helped you in the past and some achievements you've had (even if they feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things!)
If you experience mental health difficulties which are preventing you from doing the things you want to do, seek help - whether through friends, family, a doctor, or your university support services.