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Posted July 19, 2021

Looking after your mental health & wellbeing as a PG student

Postgraduate student mental healthSpending time as a postgraduate student is a rewarding experience that comes with many benefits, including experiencing the freedom and independence of university life.

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However, independence and freedom can come with their share of stress such as money troubles, with living away from home for long periods of time and the pressure of achieving study goals preying heavily on your mind. Try and bear in mind that if you are stressed or anxious about your postgraduate studies, you are probably not alone. Many students will wonder where the stress is coming from, while others may not even realise they are suffering. Thankfully, there are coping techniques that postgraduates can use to keep stress at bay.

1. Body & mind exercise

Exercise is among the best activities you can do for reducing stress, maintaining mental fitness and improve concentration. As much as your body tires during exercise, the process helps in reducing fatigue and the development of the overall cognitive function. The concept of exercising does not need to mean undertaking a gruelling gym session; you only need to make your heart race through simple activities like bike riding and brisk walking. Another added benefit is the release of endorphins during exercise sessions that make you feel great! To put it simply, regular exercise goes together with good mental health.

2. Eat well & regularly

Another significant aspect of reducing your stress levels and ensuring your overall wellbeing is making sure you take care of yourself. Eating well is an essential factor that can help boost your immunity and play a big part in determining how anxious (or good) you will feel throughout the day. As a busy postgraduate student it is sometimes all too easy to rely on fast food, takeaways and microwave food when studying hard. However, according to research, limiting sugar and increasing fresh fruits and vegetable intake can improve good mental health. To ensure you eat well whilst fulfilling all of you academic commitments it can be a good idea to bulk cook some healthy food – such as a veggie ratatouille or pasta bake – at the weekend or the start of the week, that you can consume throughout the week. Taking a packed lunch instead of relying on chips in the uni canteen is also a great idea – both for your overall health and for your pocket! Also, visit your local supermarket and stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables for everyday consumption with more focus on superfoods, rather than reaching for a chocolate bar or a packet of crisps.

3. Sleep well

Sticking to a regular and quality sleep routine is paramount in managing stress and improving mental health, and stress is known to be a destruction that can interrupt sleep patterns. A good sleeping routine includes going to bed and waking up at the same time every day if possible. It is recommended to have at least seven to eight hours of sleep each day and it is also vital to take a few minutes to relax before sleeping to improve your overall sleep quality. To relax before going to bed, you can take a bath or read your favourite book. Ideally you should also reduce your screen time prior to bedtime, hence you should switch all screens at least an hour before sleeping. And if you use the same room to study and sleep in, you should cover your desk and books to create a peaceful and natural environment to sleep in.

4. Interaction with others

Interacting with others, having people to talk to and not feeling lonely is another major way to stave off the stress. Over the last few months many students may have experienced periods of enforced isolation as a result of Covid-19, and staying in isolation can have a substantial adverse effect on your happiness. If this is the case, the first step is accepting that you need help, followed by talking to someone. Once you have been released back into society make sure you involve your favourite friends in your daily activities and spend as much time with them as possible. Friends and family members will offer you a listening ear and this will be essential in reducing any inner burden hence aiding your stress management.

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