Whilst the arrival of summer can equate to the arrival of happiness and good times for many people, for others it isn’t always the best time of the year. People can feel down all year round and during summer is no exception, especially as a student. Whilst taking a break from studying is always welcomed, it can be difficult to have such a long period of time away from your ordinary routine. You may start to get bored – as I certainly do, miss friends, and when your mind is your only company it’s common to start feeling overwhelmed by the next stages of your life. With that in mind, below are some of the main problems summer can attract and some potential solutions.
PROBLEM: Loneliness & boredom
Whether you’ve gone back home to see your family, or you’re in Manchester when most of your friends have left, a long summer holiday is bound to have you feeling lonely and bored at some point. It’s a big transition to go from living with friends and having university work to do every day, to suddenly having a much shorter to-do list with less people around you.
SOLUTION: Loneliness and boredom have an inevitable negative impact on your overall mood, so when you start to feel lonely or bored it’s important to try and counteract the feelings. Look for ways to meet people or keep in touch with friends and keep busy. For instance, volunteering or taking on seasonal work is a great way to stay busy and meet new people. You can use CareersLink to find roles in and around Manchester, or if you’ve returned home you can look for vacancies in your area. Make sure you keep in touch with your friends and make plans to look forward to. Or why not try something new to keep yourself occupied? Read my article on side projects and their benefits!
PROBLEM: Thinking about the next step & feeling overwhelmed
Whether you’re heading into third year and have to think about life after being an undergraduate, or you’re making the jump from first to second year, you may be feeling overwhelmed as you make your transition. It’s only natural, and you’re not alone. There are ways to make yourself feel better by getting prepared and doing your research.
SOLUTION: Be sure to set some time aside this summer to get prepared. This will help you to feel better as you’ll be organised for what lies ahead. Essentially, it’s all about doing your research, whether that’s researching for your future career, internship and placement options, or your modules and options of next year. Use MyManchester for information on modules or contact the necessary staff on your course. For career information, make use of the University’s Career Services and use online resources to look at different pathways and opportunities. If you have some idea of what you’d like your next step to be, you’ll feel more prepared for what lies ahead.
PROBLEM: The effects of social media
Social media can be a negative place at times. Even if the content we see isn’t particularly harmful on the surface, it can still have a negative impact on our wellbeing and mental health. Summer can be a tricky time on social media, especially with issues surrounding body image and confidence. Social media can also be a tough place when you are feeling lonely and see others out with their friends keeping busy.
SOLUTION: Just remember social media is not real, and so we compared our lives in their rawest and truest forms to filtered glimpses of others. If something is having a negative impact on your mental health, do what you can to cut it out of your newsfeed and avoid it. Remember to be kind to yourself and surround yourself with good people. Look out for inspirational and motivational accounts to follow to fill your feed with positivity! Make sure you limit your time on social media too and get out and enjoy time with friends and family. You can also check out my tips on things to remember when scrolling on social media.
Things to remember this summer:
- Look after yourself! The hard work will begin again soon. Make sure you recharge your batteries and get yourself ready for what lies ahead by feeling refreshed and prepared.
- It’s a great time to try something new to benefit your mental health. Whether it’s exercise, mindfulness, or exploring a museum, you might just find the tool you need to combat any negative thoughts.
- You are not alone! The Counselling Service is still available Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm if you need to talk to anybody about issues that are affecting your mental health and wellbeing. If you have any careers concerns, make sure you speak to the University’s Career Team in The Atrium on the 1st floor of University Place.