Even in ordinary circumstances, things like personal stress, homesickness and academic pressure can take a toll on students’ mental health. After the last two years, our brains have been through the wringer — bouncing between on and offline school while worrying about loved ones and the world at large. Fortunately, even when you’re struggling, there are plenty of little things you can do to help ease the weight.
University is a time for challenging yourself and making new friends and memories, but as wonderful as these things are, remember that it’s okay to take a step back sometimes. Carve out time to get enough sleep and eat healthy food, and don’t feel obliged to put yourself in situations that stress you out. If or when you decide to test your limits, have a fallback plan: maybe have a friend check in with you or do something you enjoy after. Your health and happiness should always come first — trust that it’ll make you much happier and more productive in the long run.
Every little bit counts
In the age of #fitspiration and lifestyle bloggers, it’s easy to forget that self-care doesn’t always have to look a certain way. As the year goes on and the assignments pile up, the idea of trying to stay healthy can seem cliche at best, and impossible at worst. Even if it doesn’t seem like much, begin by taking baby steps that you enjoy, and continue taking them — short walks to your favourite music, five minutes of meditation, etc. — and eventually they’ll make a difference.
Be kind to yourself
It’s hard not to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other people — but ultimately, applying more pressure doesn’t help. We’re all still learning all the time: give yourself some grace on the days when you’re not at your best, and try to see your mistakes as a chance to improve.
Reach out to a support system
Sometimes, it might feel like no matter how hard you’re trying, there’s no breaking out of toxic thought patterns. The feeling is valid, but it might be a sign to connect with someone you trust — whether that’s a friend, a family member or a mental health professional.
campuslightbox.com is a great way to find mental health resources on campus and filter the suggestions to your specific needs.
UBC Counselling offers a range of services, from a shorter wellness appointments to a longer counselling appointment and both group and private counselling. They can be reached at 604.822.3811, Monday to Friday.
If you feel most comfortable talking to a fellow student, the AMS also offers confidential Peer Support, which connects you to trained volunteers who have a handle on student struggles.
Should you need financial help accessing outside services, the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan covers $1,000 of therapy.
Crisis Centre BC can be reached at 1.800.784.2433 or at crisiscentre.bc.ca.