Depression in itself is a marathon. Depression at university is a marathon up a Mount-Everest-type mountain.
Here’s some statistics about university students suffering from mental health issues:
In 2015-2016, 87,914 students requested counselling and these numbers have risen since then. A survey in 2016 found that 1 in 4 university students reported having mental health issues.
So potentially, around 8 people in your class of 30 have experienced or are experiencing mental health problems and 24 people in this class will know at least one person suffering.
Half of the students surveyed reported that mental health problems made daily tasks seem impossible.
7 in 10 students said that studying for university was their main cause of stress.
However, there are ways to ease the stress of doing a degree with depression. You are not alone in this. Don’t fret, it can be done.
So, here’s a few tips on how to deal with the “big D” during your degree.
1. Set yourself a routine
Routine is so important to ensure that you get up every day and motivate yourself. By getting up at around the same time every day, you will be giving your body little burst of energy to help when depression is draining the little energy you have.
2. Set small goals and celebrate them
Setting big, unachievable goals just makes everyone feel blue. So, set small daily goals that are easier to achieve which will radiate positivity. I usually set goals even as small as getting out of bed before 9am or drinking one bottle of water a day. So even on a bad day, you can feel as though you have achieved something.
3. Conversation is key.
Tell people how you are feeling and have a chat about it. Shutting yourself away will allow for rumination and anxiety to kick in. So, throw them out before they attack. Talk to your housemates, trusted friends or even the student support at the university. Sometimes by talking, you begin to understand your own feelings and thoughts a lot better.
4. Eat well to feel well
Depression can either make you comfort eat or lose your appetite completely – and neither of these are desirable. Make sure that you are eating enough each day to keep energy levels up and your body running smoothly. Cooking can be a therapeutic activity as it can occupy your mind and allow it to rest from any stressful thoughts. Plus, yummy food guarantees a feel-good boost.
5. Plan your time
University involves multiple deadlines and lots of work. Don’t leave assignments to the night before as it creates a negative, stressful and anxious environment. Give yourself time to write a plan, read sources, re-read essays and submit everything in a relaxed and positive environment.
Try and go to as many lectures as possible as these revolve around the assignments so will make the actual assignment process a lot easier. If you miss any, make sure to email the lecturer and get the notes to make sure you don’t fall behind. This way, you can leave yourself time for yourself to relax, watch a favourite series on TV or hang out with friends.
It is okay to have off days, everyone does. But, even being at university is one step closer to kicking depression’s butt and succeeding in life.