How to Maintain Good Mental Health – NCS grad, Tolu
Mental health is just like physical health – It’s something that needs maintenance like a well-oiled machine. Everyone struggles with lapses in their mental wellbeing from time to time, just like me, so I would like to share with you some tips for improving and maintaining mental health.
Get a good night’s sleep
Staying up till 3am watching Netflix shows is a dangerous practice, especially if you’re employed or a student. A good night’s sleep is integral to keeping your body in tip-top condition, reducing stress and feeling fresh in the morning. If your body feels great then your mind will too!
Don’t overthink it!
Have you ever said something or done something that kept you up at night? Have you ever interpreted another person’s actions as malicious when actually it could be benign? Have you ever been introspective about yourself as a person?
I’m sure that everyone has done this at least once. From my experience, it becomes damaging to your mental health when you do it often. In psychology, there’s a theory called Ellis’s ABC model: A – Activating Event; B – Beliefs; C – Consequence. It’s a theory that outlines overthinking an event and believing a truth about it that leads to consequential damage on your mental state.
It may be tempting to stress over not receiving WhatsApp messages or getting a bad grade, but I only have one message for you: Do. Not. Worry. Whatever you think is a bad thing in your mind is probably 10 times less important in reality. As people, we amplify problems in our mind. Everything is going to be okay – seriously!
Top grades aren’t everything
This is good segue into one of the biggest problems for students: fixating on failure. This is a sure-fire way to gradually make yourself more upset.
When faced with failure, don’t give up! You have the capability to reach your targets. Giving up is easy, persevering is harder to do. I’m not saying that being disappointed is necessarily a bad thing; disappointment is better than apathy because disappointment forces you to adapt.
Many consider going to university to be the end goal, which is why they stress themselves out trying to get amazing grades and feel bad if they get rejected, but it isn’t the end if you don’t get into a ‘top’ university. Every university experience is worthwhile and will give you the tools you need to study and succeed.
That being said, you should still reach for the stars because even if you fall, you’ll land on the moon. In addition to that, uni isn’t the only option – consider apprenticeships, degree apprenticeships, internships, work or even volunteering.
It’s not all about school ...
Finally, you can help yourself by getting out of bed and getting involved with something beyond the education system. Find a sport you like or a skill you want to learn. Work with a charity and give back to society.
Having something to look forward to every week can improve your mental health, especially sports. Sports and exercise can relieve stress so much. Not only that, they can give you a colourful Personal Statement/CV when you participate in such activities.
My suggestion is to affiliate yourself with a local sports club and with charity programmes like NCS!
Keep smiling – you’ve got this!
I’m not an expert in mental health – these are just things that I currently do that have helped me. I hope that some of them will be useful and help you out too!