Looking After Your Mental Health At University
Going to university is a challenging time for most but when you throw anxiety into the mix, it can become a terrifyingly daunting experience. Leaving home, making new friends and facing fears – all big steps. We’ve come up with a list of tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.
- It might not be easy but it really helps to be open about your struggles. Don’t be afraid to talk to lecturers, tutors, student services, friends, charities like us ….. anyone! If you tell them that you are having a hard time then they can support you.
- You are not the only person suffering from anxiety on your course. Your bravery for speaking out might help others to do the same.
- At your university, there will be a student support team that will probably offer one to one coaching and interventions such as mindfulness groups. They will also have a health centre on campus if you feel like you need urgent help.
- Don’t feel embarrassed about asking for extra time or support if needed. Your mental health is a priority and if any kind of anxiety is stopping you from achieving, then you are entitled to reasonable adjustments to make sure that you are able to perform at your best.
- Find a GP at the university who is supportive and understands the rigours of student life – one who can get you a repeat prescription at the last minute if needs be or who can liaise with your mental health services at home etc.
- Create a huge support network of friends, family and health professionals (this can be online of course). It’s important that you feel able to talk to people who understand whenever you need to.
- Be realistic. There will be times that are more difficult than others, so put together a sort of “emergency contingency plan” – who will you contact, – what will you do etc. if things get hard?
- If you’re worried about having a panic attack during a lecture sit next to the door so you can slip out and do our three-minute panic buster or listen to the No Panic Crisis Message
- Be kind to yourself. Take things easy – especially at first. Take time to relax and make sure you get enough sleep. No Panic’s Top Tips for Better Sleep
- Prepare a self-care routine in advance, even before the year starts: – assemble a set of easy/healthy recipes to keep at hand, – start up an exercise routine that you enjoy, – take up journaling, making sure you note down things that lift your mood and ease your anxiety.
We have a really good animation to help you slow your breathing to reduce panic or anxiety. It might be a good idea to bookmark this link on your mobile phone or computer so you have it handy in the future. It is simple and easy to relate to, it can be found here: Breathing Animation
Scarlett has struggled with anxiety for a while. She often compares herself to others and feels she is being judged all the time. Feeling sick, sweating, difficulty breathing and headaches are common symptoms. One day it all gets too much………..Scarlett’s Story