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Managing Mental Health for University Students

Posted on 17 December 2020

There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a strange year for us all. As a university student, you’ve adapted to online classes, assessments and limited social bubbles. Now, with the arrival of the exam and holiday season, it’s essential we are doing what we can to look after our mental health.

Make a Plan

It can be tempting to hold everything in our minds, but this can cause additional stress and impact our ability to focus or study. Some methods you can use to organise your thoughts include:

Now, you know your strengths, weaknesses and can vaguely visualise what you’ll be doing in the time period before exams. You can use that plan to guide daily study sessions. This will make it easier to get started and avoid procrastination.

As you go along, don’t be afraid to adjust your plans. You might find a topic harder or easier than you thought, and may need additional time. Trust yourself and adjust your study sessions accordingly.

Look After Yourself

You now have an idea of what needs to be studied. That’s a great starting place, and has probably freed up some thinking space. But to ensure you have the mental and physical energy to study efficiently, you need to look after yourself.

Treat Yourself

Anyone would become tired of constantly studying. It’s important to take breaks and do something you enjoy. If catching up on a series you enjoy helps take your mind off things, treat yourself to one episode after completing a certain amount of work. If you’re worried about getting too distracted, ask a friend or family member to check you have gone back to studying after your chosen treat.

After a long study day, you can also spend some quality time with family or call a friend. These acts can give you the much needed distraction from exam stress and allow you to go back feeling refreshed.

Don’t Suffer in Silence

If you find yourself feeling persistently sad, demotivated, or anxious, reach out to someone. Sometimes it can be easy to think we are just being lazy but when such feelings persist, you might need to seek support and talk to someone. Even if that’s venting to friends and family about how you’re feeling.

Likewise, if you’re finding an aspect of studying hard, reach out to your lecturer or other students. Always remember, if things are really difficult for you, there are options – you can speak to someone at your university about accommodations that can be put in place, or even taking time off. You can also reach out to mental health services at your university for additional support.


Amirah is a psychology graduate, interested in improving perceptions of mental health conditions and promoting positive wellbeing.