How to Look After Your Mental Health as a Student

If you’re looking to climb up the career ladder or are wanting to learn new skills, many people make the decision to become a student to achieve their personal objectives and goals. While there are tons of benefits that come with learning something new, the stress of trying to keep on top of your studies can be overwhelming for many.

Whether you choose to study at a brick and mortar establishment or you would prefer to study online, many students struggle to maintain a healthy work and social life balance. To get the most out of your studies, it’s important that you look after your mental wellbeing. Knowing the right tips and tricks can be hugely beneficial and help you retain a positive mindset throughout your student life. With that in mind, here are some of the ways you can look after your mental health as a student.

Pick the Right Course

First and foremost, it’s important that you pick a course that you’re passionate about. If you’ve chosen a subject that you don’t feel comfortable with, it’s likely that your mental health will suffer as a result. The last thing you want is to feel anxious about your coursework, so picking a degree that suits you and your needs is crucial.

For those who don’t like the idea of studying amongst others, you may be interested in choosing an online course instead. If your end goal is to be a midwife, for example, you may want to consider signing up for a course at Baylor University, where you can learn how to become a nurse midwife. Many students prefer to study alone, and with a wide range of courses and subjects to pick from, online courses are becoming increasingly popular amongst students.

Talk About Your Feelings

Even if you’ve picked your dream course, there may still be times when you’re not feeling your best. Instead of bottling up your thoughts and emotions, it’s better to talk about your feelings with your loved ones. Being honest about how you are doing can take the weight off your shoulders and help you feel more relaxed. While there may be some obstacles and challenges to face along the way, having a strong support network behind you can make all the difference, helping you stay on the right track and excel in your studies.

Keep Active

We all know how important regular exercise is for our physical health, but you may not realize the mental health benefits that it provides too. Not only can regular exercise boost your confidence and self-esteem, but it can help you concentrate better on your work, improve your sleep, and help you feel better overall. Exercise also helps keep your vital organs such as your brain healthy and functioning at its best. 

There are lots of ways that you can incorporate regular exercise into your routine. Whether it’s by going for a jog around your neighborhood, signing up to your local gym, or doing a workout from home, finding a window of opportunity to cram in some exercise around your studies can leave you feeling more positive and optimistic about the future. 

Eat Well

Following a balanced diet is just as important as regular exercise. For your brain to function at its best, it needs a variety of nutrients to stay healthy – like every other organ in your body. Changing your diet and factoring in plenty of vitamins and nutrients can help change your mindset for the better. A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as nuts and seeds. If you’re prone to consuming lots of high-caffeine drinks, it’s advised to limit your intake, especially before going to sleep. While you may get a burst of energy at first, you will soon feel run down and sluggish, which can have a big impact on your studies. Instead, make sure that you consume plenty of water throughout the day to help you stay hydrated and alert.

As a student, it can be all too easy to reach for processed foods and sugary snacks to get you through your learning. However, the more junk food you consume, the more at risk you are of developing heart disease, obesity, and depression. 

Drink Sensibly 

After a long day of studying, it can be all too easy to reach for a glass of wine. While no one is saying you can’t have some time to relax and unwind, it’s important that you drink sensibly as a student. As you’re putting your time, money, and soul into your degree, the last thing you want to do is take your eye off the ball in favor of alcohol. Keeping an eye on your consumption levels can help you stay in control of your drinking. 

When it comes to mental health, there are lots of reasons why students drink more than usual. While some students will drink to deal with the pressures of coursework, others may drink because they are lonely, so it’s important to note that, while you may feel good at the time, drinking isn’t a good way to combat and manage difficult feelings.

Take Some Me Time

Whether you’re studying online or at a brick and mortar establishment, we all need a break to do the things we love from time to time. While it’s great to be focused and driven to succeed in your studies, it’s just as important to factor in some ‘me’ time too. Having a break from your coursework and doing something you’re passionate about can provide you with a much-needed release.

A change of scenery or pace can do wonders for your mental health. Whether it’s by taking a 5-minute breather to get some fresh air or ringing up a friend for a much-needed catch up, taking your mind off your learning for a bit can do you a world of good. Also, why not take up a hobby that can give you something to look forward to? Having a healthy balance between studying and having fun is crucial, as the last thing you want is to burnout and fail your course.

Try Relaxation Techniques

If you’re prone to high-stress levels, you may benefit from trying out some relaxation techniques as a way to unwind after a busy day of studying. Trying out deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or simply putting your feet up can make a big difference and help you feel more relaxed and calm. We all experience stress in day to day life. However, for some, it can have a huge impact on how you function each day, so listening to your body and taking a break may be best, allowing you to return back to your studies with a clearer mindset.

To get the full benefits of yoga and meditation, you may be interested in signing up for a class where you can learn all the techniques and routines that can help keep you relaxed and calm first hand. If you don’t feel comfortable being around others, why not head onto YouTube and find some tutorials that you can learn from? Even taking 15 minutes away from your coursework to do some meditation can help clear your mind and give you the opportunity to focus on something else.

Set Small Goals

As a student, mental illness can make some of the smallest tasks seem like an impossible mission, so if you’re having a bad day, try and set yourself small but attainable goals. We are all in our own lanes as students, so while you may see others excelling, you should remember that we all learn at our own pace. Try not to be too hard on yourself, or you won’t get the full benefits from your learning. Instead, make a to-do list that’s realistic and achievable regardless of how big or small your task is. Whether it’s writing a section of your assignment or simply tidying up your room, you will gain a sense of accomplishment and control that can take you one step further to excel in your education.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

If you aren’t getting enough sleep, chances are that you won’t be functioning at your best when studying. The last thing you want is to wake up feeling groggy and low in energy, so making small but subtle changes to your bedtime routine can help you get some much-needed shuteye, leaving you feeling fresh and alert in the morning. If you’re not in the right headspace, it’s likely that you won’t put your all into your education, so there are various tips and tricks that you can take on board to help you get a better night’s rest.

Creating a sleep schedule should be your first port of call, which will help you adhere to the same bedtime and wake up time, helping your body clock to adjust and ensuring you get enough sleep. If you’re struggling with your sleep, it’s best to avoid naps (however hard it may be!), as this will only make it more difficult for you when it comes to hitting the hay later. Also, the type of mattress and pillows you have can play a major part in how much sleep you’re getting, so if your mattress has seen better days, it may be time to get a new one.

Recognize the Signs

To ensure you’re looking after your mental health, it’s crucial that you know what signs to look out for. Like with any other health condition, mental health problems require special medical attention, so if your friends and family have noticed a change in your behavior, it’s important that you take them seriously and seek help. Remember that mental health can be present in many different shapes and forms, such as anxiety, addiction, and eating disorders, making it increasingly harder to pinpoint and recognize. 

See Your Doctor

If you’re struggling with your mental health as a student, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor. While it can be hard to ask for help, you will be thankful in the long run, especially when it comes to getting the most out of your degree. Health professionals are there to help you, so speaking to someone who understands your worries and concerns can make a big difference and help change your mindset. 

You need to remember that none of us are superhuman. While you may see some students flourishing in their learning, that’s not to say everything is rosy on the inside. If things are getting too much and you’re struggling to cope, it’s crucial that you ask for help sooner rather than later. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to your doctor at first, having a friend or family member that you can confide in can be just as useful. Having a shoulder to cry on and receiving practical help from your loved ones may change your mindset and leave you feeling more positive and optimistic for what lies ahead. 

Accept Who You Are

It’s important that you understand that your mental health should never hold you back in any area of your life. While it can be hard to stay committed to your learning, accepting your condition, recognizing the signs, and seeking relevant treatment may help you enormously. Having the right support network around you is key, so if you don’t feel that you’re around the right people, it may be best to mix with others who love and support you.

Picking the right course, talking about your feelings, incorporating regular exercise into your routine, and eating a balanced diet are just a few key tips on how to look after your mental health as a student.

If things are spiraling out of control and you don’t know what to do, it’s important that you seek help as quickly as possible. Your doctor, family, and friends are there to help and support you, so opening up about your thoughts and feelings can help you feel more relaxed and in control of your learning.