How I manage my mental health issues at SHU
Yes, dealing with mental health issues whilst at uni can be a massive struggle and sometimes it can all be a bit overwhelming.
There are a lot of things that make it worse such as exams, deadlines and home-sickness, and I myself struggle with anxiety, and coping with this whilst being at uni is challenging...
But I try to remind myself that there are many ways that these issues can be made more manageable!
The start of my 1st year at Hallam was tough as everything was new and many times in the first few months, I wanted to drop out. Anxiety tends to prevent you from doing anything that seems too far out of your comfort zone and the whole uni experience was definitely like nothing I'd ever done before. My anxiety has always put thoughts in my mind and has made me think; "can I actually do this?" but 1st year taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to, as now I really enjoy university and I’m extremely glad that I didn't drop out!
Well, how can YOU deal with the thing’s university throws at you whilst coping with your mental health issues? I've included a few tips that have helped me in my 1st year and continue to help me along my journey:
1. Talk about it
If everything gets a bit too much and you feel as if you cannot cope, just know that you certainly are not alone and that it's okay not to be okay. It's so important to be able to talk about how you’re feeling because bottling this up will only make you feel worse. Who should you talk to? A number of people are there to help you - it could be a friend, a colleague, family or university staff members.
Sheffield Hallam offers many support services:
- Hallam Help
- 1-1 wellbeing sessions
- Group sessions
- Disabled student support services - help with a learning contract and drop-ins.
You can also visit your local GP who can talk through ways that they can help you with your mental health.
2. Join a society
One of the things I regretted not doing in 1st year was joining a society. The main reason that I didn't join one is my anxiety - it held me back. I was afraid I wasn’t going to fit in, and I was too nervous to attend. I decided to push myself in 2nd year to join a society and it made me feel a WHOLE lot better! Attend the societies fair and see what the university has to offer and pick your favourite. If you’re too nervous to attend on your own, why not ask a friend to tag along?
Keeping yourself busy is a great way to tackle anxiety as it keeps your mind focused and active. This is something that a society can help with as you can focus on taking part in one of your favourite activities and meeting new friends at the same time. A society also gives you a well-deserved break from assignments and revision - ahem to that!
3. Meditation apps
There are SO many apps that you can download that help you relax - my favourites are Headspace, Calm or the Mindfulness app. I use Headspace regularly and I have found it has massively helped me take a break from my work and actually makes me sleep better and stops me from overthinking. These apps work by allowing you to take part in a variety of short meditation activities depending on whatever situation you are in, whether that be just before you go to bed or whether you're trying to get some relief from a panic attack.
Please remember that you are not alone and that there are many ways to help you cope with your mental health issues. Just know that you're strong, powerful and you can do this - you made it this far, and you can go a lot further!
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