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The importance of looking after your mental health at university
Hello, my name is Faiqa and I am a second year Psychology student at Leeds Beckett University. In this blog I will be discussing the importance of looking after your mental health whilst at university. I’ll be talking about how the university has supported me, my experience living with my South Asian family and the ways I cope with stress and mental health, especially procrastination.
A day in a South Asian family
Living with a South Asian family where nothing is private, I sometimes struggle with my online learning and concentration. Especially within the South Asian community, where I've found it’s a taboo to talk about mental health wellbeing and it's often ignored. Due to COVID-19, I’ve noticed that I’ve been procrastinating more, and my stress levels have increased which impacts on my mental health. What I like to do whenever I’m feeling stressed is to read my five daily prayers and by doing that, I leave everything to God and the large amounts of stress I once had then feels lighter. This is a part of my everyday routine and other things include my skincare routine which is important for self-love. The main thing to remember is that it’s necessary and okay to take a huge breather when feeling stressed. For me when I don’t take a break, I tend to get migraines and that is really annoying, so by including some self-care into my routine, it helps to prevent this.
Importance of balance
The balance of online university and home life is sometimes difficult and sometimes I find it hard to keep up and juggle the two. However at Leeds Beckett I am grateful that there are copious opportunities to keep us busy, support us, as well as mental health support available which is truly amazing to see. Since studying online, I feel that my sleep schedule has improved which has been a positive for my mental health. For everyone it is different but waking up in time for lectures has conditioned my body to go to sleep early and wake up on time. Proper sleep schedule plays a huge part of improving my anxiety. Remember taking a nap is not a crime and is actually beneficial for you.
Discovering new things
A tip that I was told by my friend to minimise anxiety and stress is to count backwards from 10, unclench your shoulders and take a huge deep breath with your eyes closed. Sharing tips and confiding in each other is something that really helps me. Another thing I’ve discovered this year is that reading helps me to cope with my mental health. I often read in my spare time instead of scrolling on social media, which can be tiring and can give me more stress and anxiety. From reading to exercising and self-care, anything you enjoy can be helpful to relieve stress and anxiety.
Mental health is important and the more we bottle up our emotions the worse we will feel. By discovering something new it may be a good distraction and may relieve stress. Whether that be a new tv show, baking or making TikTok’s, open yourself up to falling in love with discovering new things. Remember you are not alone; mental health does not define who you are as an individual and support is always available.
Give yourself credit
Studying at university is not always easy, with exams and assignments, so give yourself credit for getting through it all and don’t be hard on yourself. I am so happy to see Leeds Beckett providing so many resources for students to keep us busy and supported, ranging from career opportunities and career fairs to mental health support that includes Leeds Beckett being constant on social media platforms like; Instagram and Twitter. You are not alone at LBU, whenever you feel like you need them, the wellbeing team will be there to support you.