Hey there!!

I hope you’re well, and feeling positive about yourself because, let’s be honest, you’re great and you matter.

Dealing with mental health obstacles can be very tricky and can sometimes really test your ability to feel optimistic and hopeful about your day. It’s hard, no two questions about it.

Myself and others have and still do experience battles with our own thoughts, and these may feel everlasting. You may find yourself in daily mental conversations with yourself, filling in the gaps in your mind with negative perceptions of the world. But it’s ok. Everyone can feel like that once in a while, and what matters is how you deal with these situations.

As a University student, I have come to realise that it’s not healthy to take on too many activities. The issue I have, like many others, is that I like to keep busy. Perhaps this is so I don’t have to deal with my own thoughts, but in the long run it became physically and, what a surprise, mentally exhausting.

Suffering with a mental illness during University can be difficult. You expect and desire a fun-filled experience; making lifelong friendships and getting outstanding grades. But this isn’t always the case. Everyday life responsibilities and activities can clash and have a negative effect on your mental state. Relationships, heavy work load, and just wanting to fit in – life can sometimes be so hectic that our little brains and bodies become unable to handle the stresses and as a result feel defeated.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep a well-organised, balanced, and healthy lifestyle. Being on top of everything and having your s**t together is proving to yourself and others that you’re a strong and powerful human who is able to control life’s glitches.


Five coping mechanism whilst at University

In my first year of University I was still finding my feet, and the perfect ground they would stand upon. I can assure it wasn’t easy. So, as a “Fresher” I decided to implement 5 different ways to help myself and improve my mental state.

1. Purchasing a whiteboard

You can do this really cheap, £4.00 from Wilkos. This just allowed me to be organised and keep on top of my duties. It enabled my mind to relax, and I avoided being overwhelmed about having to remember the long list of duties I had. The whiteboard was and still is my daily calendar, diary and physical reminder of tasks, events, and other things.

2. Purchasing a few colourful, artsy, and authentic notebooks/journals

I LOVE STATIONARY. However, this wasn’t the only reason why I purchased so many notebooks…(lol). The difference in front covers, weirdly, helped me through my anxiety. The bright, optimistic colours, fonts, and designs made me feel positive and at ease. They’re nice to look at and really compliment my bookshelf. These journals also allowed me to note my thoughts, rather than having to deal with them mentally. And finally, once I closed the notebook, the thoughts were closed, too. Again, these too can easily be bought from your high street stores like Wilkos and B&M or online retailers and authentic websites such as Etsy.

3. Following positive social media accounts on the controversial social media platform, Instagram

Yes, the word “Instagram” is being used in a mental health article, how BIZARRE! However, let’s cut to the chase and praise this platform for once. It allows us to seek advice and support from others in the same boat. Instagram has definitely helped me be positive (in one way or another). Positivity centred accounts such as @emilycoxhead, @spoonie_village, @journey_to_wellness, and @stacieswift upload some great content including daily quotes, images and stories of their mental battles– reassuring us that it’s ok not to be ok, and if you’re down in the dumps, they’re there as a pick-me-up. (If you’re an Instagrammer, these pages are worth a follow, you won’t regret it).

4. Joining the Outdoors Society

This society not only allowed me to enjoy the great outdoors and be one with nature, but also to take in the world’s natural beauty. Reassuring me that it’s ok to just be me, no amendments, just me, myself and I. Being a part of this society allowed me to look forward to something other than lectures and work. In general, joining a club really opens up social pathways, allowing you to make real connections with people you may have never met otherwise. University isn’t always about experimenting with all the different ways to become intoxicated, it is also about making true networks with individuals that you can socialise with whilst sober. Be cultural and intrigued by the unknown, and step outside of your comfort zone. You can do it!

5. Seeking professional care.

Every University will have a place you can go to when in need of help, both in person and online. There are a host of opportunities waiting for you to grab them: workshops on improving your academia, mental health, fitness, and finance. Here in Leeds, the universities are close, supportive hubs which have tonnes of useful information on how to deal with student life. Just ask, and perhaps do your research, I am positive that you’ll get the help you need. You’re not alone, and there will always be someone to turn to. Personal favourites are: Mindwell-Leeds.org, LeedsMind.org, Doinggoodleeds.org and IAPT Leeds.

(Photo Credit: @journey_to_wellness_ )