Did you know that 1 in 4 people will suffer from mental health issues at one time in their lives with stress and anxiety being the most common?
This could be something you recognise – the very nature of postgraduate study can make it at times a solitary and stressful experience. If you are a research student you are more than likely the only person working on your project, especially if you’re studying a humanities subject. If you’re just starting your Masters, there’s the change in expectations – with an increased workload and smaller class sizes; not only can this compound stress levels but can mean a dramatic reduction in your support network.
Whilst you can rest assured that you are not alone if you experience any of these feelings it’s important to know that help and support is available if things become too overwhelming. As well as offering appointments with trained counsellors, the University’s Counselling Service has lots of practical advice for managing your mental health.
Of course, there are also some simple measures to you can try in everyday life to care for your mental wellbeing, here are just a few:
- Whilst solitude is sometimes necessary (even welcome) when studying isolation isn’t. Try and make time to meet friends and colleagues frequently, whether it’s for work based discussions or a coffee and chat. No matter how pressured you feel make time for some human contact.
- Keep an eye open for events and networks run by your School, Faculty and across the University. Taking part will keep you social, may help you make new friends and also help start to build the professional networks you’ll need ( especially as a research student).
- If you are feeling overwhelmed by your course or research know who you can talk to. Your first port of call should ideally be your supervisor or tutor. If not, try someone else in the department you are comfortable with, the Students Union advice service . Sometime a chat with fellow students can also be a great source of reassurance.
- Don’t work from home too often – this might never be an option for you if you’re lab based – but if you can work from home, enjoy the benefits sometimes but recognise how isolating it can be and try and get into your school study spaces or library. This will also help you work for a set number of hours a day.
- Think about strategies to manage your time. It sounds simple, but planning and working to that plan can really help keep your stress levels under control. My Manchester learning essentials run a workshop specifically aimed at managing your time when researching.
- Take time out – without feeling guilty!
- Take advantage of some of the wellbeing workshops run through My Learning Essentials, including Challenging unhelpful thinking habits and Reducing the stress of perfectionism