How can I achieve mental well-being as a university student?

With the long commutes, lack of sun, and shorter days; all to head towards a long day of classes (or a monotone prof!), we may often find ourselves struggling to stay healthy mentally. It is no doubt that we’ve had our days when we just felt drained by our current circumstances.

You may have either been the individual who overlooked mental health, thinking “Well, yes my mental health is just fine,” or maybe you actually did and are struggling with the adverse consequences of a mental illness. Nonetheless, we often find ourselves asking the same question, “How realistic is it to achieve mental well-being?” It may seem like an unreachable place of freedom and bliss, but you CAN get there starting TODAY.

Truth is, as university students, it is not uncommon to face these 3 BIG BULLETS to our mental health.

ANXIETY

DEPRESSION

STRESS

Do these words resonate with you? Maybe you can totally relate, but you’re not alone.

Many of us face this at some point in our lives, whether it be stressing about an upcoming exam or assignment, the feeling of being overwhelmed by a busy schedule, suffering from anxiety due to unwanted circumstances, the fear of the unknown in the future, or just the routine and mundaneness of everyday life. We have all been there, and despite the feelings you feel, you can do something about it. Whether you’re a student or an adult, this affects all of us, and it never really escapes unless you learn how to combat it right NOW.

With 2017 that has come our way, we as students, may have the desire to start afresh, stress less, sleep more and work harder. However, it’s important to realize that self-care is incredibly important and something we can’t avoid. We all need it, and for both the typical workaholic or sloth, we can often neglect taking good care of our bodies through: eating nutritiously, engaging in physical activity regularly and being around the people we care about. Bottom line:

Self-care is not selfish. 

 

Another important thing you should focus on is caring for others. Oftentimes we focus only on our own problems, but never give our time and attention to others. Being fixated on the negativity clouding our minds and the problems we face exacerbates the deterioration of your mental well-being. When you actively listen and invest some time in the lives of others, you may feel very liberated as the act of caring for others does spark joy in the heart.

However, depending on the individual, it can either be easier or more difficult to achieve mental well-being. The concept of resilience is what allows us to combat the stresses and pressures of life. It all goes back to the mindset you have; how you view the world around you and life you live.

It’s absolutely necessary that you get the SUPPORT you need from family, friends, counsellors and other available health services because your health is fundamental. It can either allow you do to amazing things and love the life you live, or hinder your ability from doing so.

At Ryerson, we have a program called SHARP (The Student Health Assistance and Resilience Program) which was designed to specifically help STUDENTS like YOU develop the lifelong skills that manage your health and well-being.

Healthy students are better learners, and the SHARP Ambassadors (your fellow peers!) will guide you in this journey of making healthy lifestyle changes through a personalized wellness plan. Here is the link if you’d like to find out more.

TODAY, you can CHOOSE to be happy.

Live life one day at a time and cultivate a heart of gratitude. Be mindful of what you are doing right at this very moment, and invest your thoughts, energy, time and efforts in the PRESENT.

Stop looking at your past and worrying about the future.

You are here.

You are breathing.

You are alive and well.

You have the OPPORTUNITY to go to school (something we aren’t thankful for enough).

 You have a great life.

When you start transforming your mindset into a positive one, learning how to take better care of yourself, loving the person you are, and genuinely caring for others, I assure you that you are investing in your mental health – a human right that you deserve; allowing you to enjoy this life you have been given.