Do you know that over 60% of students say their wellbeing and mental health has declined ‘since the start of the autumn term last year’, according to ONS report? Moreover, recent student interviews highlight other core issues: from climate change to job insecurity and social inequality, young people are anxious and tired.
We are saddened by this and we feel we can help by sharing resources that bring order and balance into their lives. If you know someone in school, show them this guide and, if you’re a student yourself, let’s walk you through our top tips!
From minimizing stress to boosting satisfaction, here’s the action you can take for each part of your life, Grid-style.
Personal Life Wellbeing
1. Form a strong support system! Whether it’s for academic reasons or a budding friendship, reach out to other students and beyond them to people who will listen and support you. Talk to other students in your seminars, or fish for a study buddy using your University’s online platform or group chats. If you feel timid, remember that making the first step can lead to great memories, and everyone you’re calling a friend today was once a total stranger.
2. Don’t bottle things up. When negativity adds up, you’re bound to have a bad time. There are plenty of services that offer a listening ear to students, such as the London Nightline. You can text or call trained student volunteers at night during term time and simply vent. Alternatively, the Harvard Medical School has long proven that journaling your emotions can ease your stress. Consider slowly adding this into your weekly routine! If you adopt the Grid method, make it a task to support how you self-care.
3. Surround yourself with inspiration! While we know positivity alone can’t save the world, it offers a powerful touch among our days. Our @maketimecount Instagram account has some really great reminders to be gentle with ourselves, take breaks and celebrate success. Little acts such as writing down affirmations, having fresh flowers, or building a mood board can lift mood and change critical mindsets. All this builds to a greater experience of day-to-day satisfaction.
Self Care and Mental Health
- Listen to your body. Neuroscientist and coach, Dr. Magdalena Bak-Maier feels that our bodies are often neglected, although they pose a critical role in keeping us going. A big part of her teaching philosophy is mind-body connection, something she explores in her book, Body Talk. Body Talk is all about tuning in to listen to what your body needs and addressing those needs. So, if you hear a definite “Sleep!” or “Back hurts!”, don’t ignore it and push through. Do something about helping your body be well instead. Often rest and sleep is all that’s needed.
- Exercise. It’s no secret that physical exercise releases endorphins; if you’re not keen on hitting the gym, a 5 minute yoga ‘workout’ is easily achievable, even in your Uni dorm or how about a walk to a local store to pick up fresh fruit. Even if you’re not a yoga fan, a one-minute Savasana pose, where you lie down and simply rest to release tension from both your body and mind will help. Pretty much any movement is good and too much sitting down frozen beyond a computer or phone screen is creating stress for your body.
- Put yourself first. Like Dr. Bak-Maier says, “Self-love requires that my feelings and needs matter as much as everyone else.” If you feel overwhelmed, trust your judgement – saying no can be a powerful way of supporting your mental health. Alternatively, saying yes to ‘me-time’ activities such as bubble baths or your favourite film can help you disconnect and recharge.
Healthy Ways to Work and Study
- Spread your energy intuitively. If you’re familiar with the Grid method, then you’ll know what we mean. Rather than forcing yourself to start with the tasks you’re dreading, ease your way into your task list by choosing a task that you feel ready and willing to do. Soon enough, even your last action will feel like a breeze or a triumph that makes you feel proud about all you managed to achieve.
- Break down your activities into short tasks. The first step is always the hardest, so make it as easy as you can! If you’ve got to write an essay, start with a task such as ‘plan my essay’ or ‘break down the essay question’. If you’re still struggling, seek out academic advice from your University, as many do offer essay-writing tutorials and/or workshops.
- Get planning! Check out these examples of how other students plan their time, including an interview with Ipek, a Goldsmiths UoL student.
Personal Development without Worries
- Don’t ignore issues you care about. Almost a third of students interviewed by the Guardian during Covid listed mental health and climate change as huge sources of stress and worry. Knowing you are making a difference can ease your mind and soothe feelings of anxiety. If attending marches, volunteering or researching ways to contribute brings you comfort, make time for these actions – don’t dismiss them. Grid can help you make time for things you care about.
- Actively work on your CV. Job searching can be daunting if you’re unprepared, and the pressure of writing the perfect resume can raise your stress levels. Open a Word file and jot down experiences, volunteering or skills you are already putting to work during your studies. When it’s time to apply for a job, it will be easier to edit what you have rather than start from scratch.
We are always on the lookout for students who may wish to share their experiences and thoughts with us. If you have a story you’d like to share, reach out to us!
In the meantime, we invite you to join our monthly newsletter community. Here, we share reminders and tips on how to be well and do well when it comes to keeping your mind, heart, body, and spirit in top condition!