You may have taken care of all the practical aspects of university life such as packing up your belongings and choosing your accommodation but have you thought about how you are going to cope mentally with such as big life change?
Did you know that 75% of mental health problems are already established by the age of 25?
This means that young people starting university are already in the most vulnerable age group for mental health issues, and that’s even before you take into consideration the additional stress that comes with starting a degree.
From anxiety to depression, eating disorders to self-harm, the pressures of university life can trigger a wide range of mental health conditions in both men and women.
That being said, there are ways in which you can ensure you are as mentally prepared for university as possible, as well as resources that can help you to navigate this challenging time.
Accept who you are
This will be more difficult for some than others, but accepting who you are and not trying to pretend to be someone you are not will massively help keep you mentally strong throughout university life. Namely because pretending to be someone else is exhausting!
Think you know who you are but not sure exactly what kind of student you are going to be?
Take this quick and easy Fresher’s quiz to discover your student personality, plus, get some amazing tips on how to navigate that overwhelming first week as a university student.
Create a routine
Of course, the beauty of university is that you are thrown into a completely new and exciting environment that is full of possibilities. That being said, for people who are prone to mental health disorders, a sudden change in routine can send them spiralling into a cycle of poor mental health.
Therefore, it’s a good idea, even if you don’t currently suffer with mental health problems, to get into a routine as soon as possible. This will be different for each person but may include getting up at the same time every day, ensuring that you get some form of daily exercise, and planning healthy and nutritious meals (well, you can try to!).
Use stress-busting techniques
Before you leave for university and start this exciting new chapter in your life, it can be beneficial to practice some stress-busting techniques that you can turn to during times when you feel under pressure or overwhelmed.
Popular stress-busting activities that you may want to try include:
- Listening to music
- Going for a walk outside
- Breathing exercises
Seek help when needed
All universities should have a student mental health and counselling service that you can turn to during difficult times in your university life. Don’t feel that you have to have an existing mental health condition to utilise these services; they are open to all students. If you do not feel comfortable physically talking to someone in person, there will be many online forums that you can turn to that offer 100% confidentiality and ongoing support.