Happy New Year to you all! To celebrate the new year, a friend from the US came to visit. We first met during my trip to Thailand in June, where we only had a few hours together. Little did we know that we’d be reunited so soon. On New Year’s Eve, we met with my uni buddies in London where we all counted down and started 2018 together!
Although the New Year is a great excuse to celebrate, January is also a very dreaded season for students as coursework deadlines and exams are looming! I came back to uni a week early, just so that I could get up to speed with my work and meet up with my Drama group to rehearse in preparation for our final performance.
Sometimes whilst being so caught up with studies, students (including myself) often forget to take some “time-out” to just wind-back, maybe go for a meal with friends or just relax and enjoy some time alone. That’s how pressure builds up, and quite often, stress. Really little things can dramatically affect our mental health without us even realising! Coming back to uni after spending quality time with family over Christmas may trigger homesickness. In fact, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression which comes and goes in seasonal patterns, especially winter. So feeling “under the weather”, especially at this time of year, is completely normal, especially as a student. But the greatest thing is that there’s so much help available, especially here at Loughborough (you can find a list of contacts at the end of this blog).
Quite often I find friends telling me that they feel mentally unwell but shy away from seeking support. From many conversations I’ve had, I’ve noticed that there are many negative stigmas associated with mental health, especially in black, Asian and ethnic minority communities. For instance, some have admitted that the idea of reaching out for support makes them feel like they have accepted defeat, and other male friends have said that their culture teaches that mental health is a sign of weakness instead of masculinity.
I think these types of stigmas derive from a lack of education on mental health. What’s key to remember is that mental illness is the same as any other biological illness, fact! If you break your leg, you’d never suffer in silence, you’d go to hospital to get it checked out and treated; in the same way, mental illnesses such anxiety, stress or depression are a completely normal part of life that can easily be treated in different ways that can help to lighten any burdens.
With exams and deadlines around the corner, I wish you all the very best. Remember, there’s plenty of support available if things start to get a bit too much, so let’s make the most of the facilities we are so fortunate to have! Here’s to a great year!
More support available at:
Loughborough Counselling Services- email@example.com
Loughborough Mental Health Support Team firstname.lastname@example.org
T: 01509 228338
NHS Helplines- http://bit.ly/2B8AOha