We all deserve to feel good about ourselves, but sometimes life gets in the way! Understanding that we are all unique, with our own strengths, qualities and interests, as well as challenges, is hugely important for our well-being and can help us to build self-esteem. We also know that through having a balanced view of ourselves, we can feel better equipped to cope with life’s difficulties and make better connections with others.
Being a student is an exciting and stimulating experience, but can also be very challenging, particularly if you are returning to education after several years, are trying to balance the demands of studying with family and work commitments, or feel isolated in an unfamiliar environment. Coping with new challenges can have an impact on your mental health and you may experience anxiety or stress, triggered by deadlines or impending exams. Some students may have ongoing mental health issues and may need to manage stress before it overwhelms them and impacts on their studies.
The Student Welfare Team are here to help you stay physically and emotionally well, so that you are able to fully engage with your studies. Many of us know from firsthand experience that talking to another person can be invaluable in helping us to understand ourselves better, or in unravelling experiences and situations that we are struggling to come to terms with or would like to change. If you feel you would benefit from talking to a professional counsellor, we offer a calm, confidential and supportive environment in which to do this, albeit one where challenging questions can be addressed. Our counsellor is trained to listen and respond without judging you and will help you to feel empowered to make your own choices and decisions.
Finally, here are five steps to wellbeing, researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation. There is a wealth of information about these steps on several websites, including www.mind.org.uk.
- Connect with the people around you. There is strong evidence to indicate that feeling close to, and valued by other people is a fundamental human need. Social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health.
- Be active. Regular exercise is associated with lower rates of anxiety and depression. Discover a physical activity you enjoy, one that suits your level of mobility and fitness.
- Take notice. Be curious. Savour the moment. Being aware of the world around you and what you are feeling ‘in the moment’ can enhance your understanding of yourself and reaffirm your priorities in life.
- Keep learning. The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of motivation and wellbeing.
- Give. Seeing yourself and your happiness linked to helping others is rewarding and creates connections to the people around you.
Spending a little time each day on these five steps can improve your level of wellbeing, can help you meet the demands of study and student life, and can enhance your ability to fulfil your academic potential.