Looking after your mental health while you study.

The last two years have been extremely challenging for most.

While our freedoms have been curtailed and our work lives changed dramatically, one thing has remained constant; the ability to learn, study and achieve goals academically and personally.

That’s not to say it hasn’t been without difficulties!

Because of all that has been going on around us, it is safe to say that for many of us, our mental health has suffered in ways we didn’t know was possible.
This can affect the way we believe in ourselves which incidentally will flow onto the way we cope with the stresses that studying brings.
Topped with lack of motivation, I am sure that some have decided to put their education on the back burner, for the time being.

While understandable, I am writing this post to let you know that there is a way to find that motivation again, pacing yourself gently to avoid burnout.

Firstly, routine is essential.
Setting out your days in segments in the most effective way to ease anxiety of not knowing what to do with your time, when to start and when to end.
Making sure you have a neat and tidy workspace will enable you to concentrate without any unnecessary clutter which will no doubt mean you will get not distracted.
This also stands for television and mobile telephones!

Throughout this pandemic and isolations, we have relied heavily in the world that social media offers us. A portal to move away from the stark reality of our lives while stuck at home, sometimes without another adult to converse with, in person.

I could write forever about how this has had a detrimental effect on our mental health, comparing our lives to those who seem to have it all together, still able to be out in the ‘real world’, all the while forgetting how little squares on a social media app are highlights that are shared and not always based on truth.
Saying that, finding connections is never a bad thing, so long as we don’t allow a virtual reality world to become maladaptive to us and how we view our own life.
Allowing ourselves time away from the little piece of technology which permanently resides in the palm of our hands, is a great way to realign focus and prepare you for the task at hand; your future.

And what better way than to invest in your future than by way of education?
With a wealth of information at our fingertips it’s an easy way to broaden our horizons, both personally and professionally.
Learning a new skill for personal gain or a new employment opportunity, is an investment in yourself and one that will help your personal and/or professional growth and lead to a confidence boost you may have been waiting for.
This mindset shift is key as when we invest in ourselves, we are acknowledging that we deserve this, and with that, we give ourselves a sense of accountability as we feel more determined to succeed.

Managing our mental health while we study, is paramount to the successes we will reap as a result of making ourselves a priority.
Make sure to take breaks. Psychologists say we can only concentrate properly for 30-45 minutes so if you are beginning to feel overwhelmed or even frustrated, get up out of your chair and take some time to gather your thoughts.
Make your to do list achievable and realistic. Whether it is about your studies, tidying up your bedroom, going for a short walk and even perhaps taking a bath.
A problem shares is a problem halved. Studying and exam pressures can be a lot to take. If you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious, reach out to a family member, friend, your course tutor and even your local GP.
Nothing is too silly. You are full of value and worth and your emotions are completely valid.

Look after yourself.
I can understand how sometimes this is much easier said than done, but even if you have set timers to remind you – eating and drinking properly will not only stop your tummy from rumbling while you study but give you that boost of energy and clarity that you need to concentrate on what you are doing.
Sleep. While it may sound so simple and obvious, if there is one thing that is affected when we are stressed, sleep is top of the list.
Getting an appropriate amount of sleep is not only beneficial to your overall mental wellbeing, but in the repair that your body needs after the physical motions it is put through when we are not quite alright.
Switch off from your studies at least 2 hours before you go to bed and instead do something you enjoy to settle your mind; watch a movie, read a fiction book. This will help you relax and take your mind off your course.

When it comes to online distance learning, you are in complete control of when you choose to spend some time studying.
This means that you can decide when you believe you are in the right frame of mind to get some work done.

All in all, keeping a positive mental health mindset is possible, while handling all that is thrown at you on the daily. Studying, work and personal life included.

We just have to remember to prioritise our own well being, reminding ourselves that all is achievable.
In time.

Life Coach
Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Life Coaching
Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Personal Development
Level 3 Diploma in Domestic Violence & Abuse

Student Services Advisor at Oxford Learning College.

Courses relating to Mental Health I find helpful to have a deeper understanding of how it impacts ourselves and those around us.