The very nature of postgraduate study can sometimes make it feel a solitary and stressful experience.
Whilst you can rest assured that you are not alone if you experience 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. See our student blogger, Unene’s piece on the value of having a crew for her take on how having people on your side really helps you get through your studies.
- Where possible try not to work from home – 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.
- Take time out – without feeling guilty! See student blogger, Meredith’s favourite day trips or take a look at our recent piece about what’s on over summer if you need inspiration to get away from campus!
- Take advantage of some of the counselling services drop in sessions.
If things are still overwhelming make sure you seek professional help. I foyu need to talk immediately, the Samaritans are available 24/7.