29 April 2024

Looking After Your Mental Health

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Juggling schoolwork with making big decisions about your future can be challenging. Here at RateMyApprenticeship.co.uk, we believe your mental well-being is just as important as your career.

Perhaps you’ve already had your own experiences with mental health or been a little stressed out. It’s a bit cliché, but try and remember that you aren’t alone.

Now more than ever, it’s so important to look after your mental health.

How common are mental health problems?

A lot more common than you think. Unless you have the emotional range of a spanner, everyone will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives.

Mental health charity Mind reports that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem every year, with 1 in 3 receiving active treatment.

What can affect students’ mental health?

Several different factors, or even a combination of them, can affect your mental health. These include…

  • Personal problems
  • Schoolwork
  • Future decision-making
  • Finance
  • Stress or anxiety

These aren’t the only factors, and sometimes, the reason for feeling low might not be immediately clear.

The good news is that there are multiple ways to look after yourself…

How can I look after my mental health?

Looking after your mental health is a constant task. It’s like looking after a house plant. You keep it watered, happy plant. You don’t, not so happy plant.

According to Pion, 72% of Gen Z (that’s you) really care about their mental health with 52% of you actively looking for ways to self-care.

There are so many ways to look after your mental health on a regular basis. And we’ve put together five tips to help you do just that.

Everyone is different, so pick what you feel will benefit you.

1. Find an outlet

Emotions can be overwhelming. The key to preventing them from damaging your mental well-being is finding a healthy outlet for them. In fact, hobbies and spending time with loved ones were two of the top ways young people were choosing to better their mental health.

There are a couple of options you could try…

  • Writing: This could be poetry, short stories, songwriting, or even journaling. Getting your thoughts and feelings down on paper is a great way to make sense of them.
  • Arts and crafts: Try your hand at painting, bedazzling or pottery — these are all jolly ways to relax and take your mind off things. You don’t have to be a pro, either.
  • Music: Whether singing or playing a musical instrument, music is powerful and has a healing element that all our favourite pop starlets swear by.

Not all outlets have to be creative. If you’re more sporty, you can do that instead. Plus, exercise does wonders for your mind (we’ll get onto that).

2. Don’t take on too much

It’s okay not to go to every single thing you’re invited to, and it’s okay to say no.

Saying yes to all the plans and tasks can lead to a point where you spread yourself too thin, like a piece of badly buttered toast. This can become stressful, and you’ll burn out very quickly.

Instead, only take on what you can and make sure you’re carving out some time for yourself to do the things that you want.

3. Stay in touch

Humans deal better with stress when we work together and share our feelings with others.

If you feel stressed or anxious or are experiencing negative thoughts, reach out to somebody. Modern tech allows you to connect remotely with those in your life with just the tap of a few buttons.

It’s easier said than done, and it can be difficult to reach out to loved ones when you’re feeling down. However, social interactions can help to provide clarity.

A quick check-in phone call or coffee date with family and friends can do wonders.

4. Keep your living space tidy

Believe it or not, your immediate environment can also impact your mental health.

Clutter and mess can cloud your thoughts. So put on some music and work on decluttering and cleaning up your living space. It’ll feel good, too.

5. Get active

You don’t have to be the next Messi, but exercise is a proven way of improving mental health.

Activities like running, going for a walk and picking up a sport (for example, basketball, tennis, squash and football) are integral ways to boost your mood, reduce stress and improve self-esteem.

Getting sporty doesn’t have to break the bank, either. Gym memberships are expensive, even with a student discount, so a local run or even a quick 15-minute walk is enough to get the endorphins flowing.

Where can I go to get support?

It can be tough to make the first step in admitting that you need help. The great thing is that there are multiple ways to get the support you need.

The NHS Mental Health & Wellbeing site has some handy resources. Student Minds is also a valuable source of support.

If you are experiencing negative thoughts, it’s crucial to seek help. If your symptoms are severe, you can speak to a trained mental health advisor using the helplines below…