Mental health throughout the application window

The relationship between mental health and the application window is usually a bitter one with many ups and downs. Balancing applications, university work and having a social life can be overwhelming and lead to stress. So, what can you do to ensure that you remain productive while maintaining a good level of energy? This article discusses some tips which helped me throughout University and beyond.

Exercise

Personally, exercise is one of the most important factors in maintaining a good mental health. By engaging in intense sports such as Football and Basketball, it becomes relatively easier to forget about any challenges you might be facing (even if it’s temporary). Also, it provides the opportunity to step away from books or a computer screen which can be really helpful in recharging your brain power.

Furthermore, the demanding nature of the application window often means that people feel like they have to sacrifice their hobbies in order to be productive. Although this is unavoidable at times, it is really important that you make the time to do activities that you enjoy. This will make the entire process less daunting, as you will be adding an element of fun into your life which goes beyond work. A few ways I try to exercise and be active include taking walks, playing football and going to the gym. However, if you are extremely busy and can’t afford to step away from the desk, try to work while standing for certain periods of the day. Remember, “a healthy body, a healthy mind”.

Organise and prioritise

With the workload inevitably increasing throughout university, it is important to stay organised and prioritise. You need to be able to stay on top of work without feeling overwhelmed or ‘burnt out’. This means that you must spread your workload across the entire week in order of priority. This can be done through a weekly to-do list which can be completed on Sundays. Once you have the to-do list, you should ask yourself what needs to be urgently done and what can be left for a while. This will help you focus on the immediate matters and prevent stressing over work which can be completed at a later date.

However, make sure you remain realistic. If you put 10 items on your agenda for the day, you might find that it is not possible to complete them all, which can lead to a feeling of dissatisfaction. Moreover, you might force yourself to complete the 10 tasks which can have a negative effect on the quality of work. Therefore, it is important to assess what you are realistically capable of doing in a day and sticking to that plan.

Socialise

in addition to making time for hobbies, you should also find time to step away from work to socialise with family and friends. Personally, the guilt of socialising instead of doing work is one which consumed me for the most part of university. However, I learned that with organisation and planning, it is possible to incorporate times to socialise in your schedule.

As students often move away from family to live in student accommodation, one of the biggest challenges that they face is loneliness. This does not mean physical loneliness, but instead, the feeling of detachment from society due to overworking. Therefore, it is important to find a work/life balance by actively engaging in social activities, despite the guilt you might feel. This can include joining university societies, sport teams, or regularly visiting family.

If it’s not in your control, forget it

Finally, worrying about things which you can’t control has a significant impact on mental health. This can include worrying about rejections; the outcome of an exam; things that will happen in the future; or things that happened in the past. Although This is something which we all struggle with, it is important to remind yourself that there is nothing you can do to influence certain things. As long as you have prepared for assessments effectively or tried your best in applications, that is all you can do. Worrying about things you can’t control can lead to demotivation which often leads to procrastination. Therefore, be kind to yourself and try, as much as you can, to limit the distress on your mind and believe that what you have done is enough.

Helpful resources to improve mental health

  • Headspace
  • Catch it
  • The Mindfulness App
  • Calm App

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