While studying at the IoPPN it’s important to take care of your own mental health. For this last blog, we will share some things we do for self-care and introduce you to services at King’s that can support your mental health. We hope you this will help you take care of yourself as you begin your journey at the IoPPN.
1. Sleep: During my undergraduate degree I would often sacrifice sleep but it took a toll on my mind and body. This year I made a conscious decision to get 6- 7 hours of sleep as often as possible. For me, this is the minimum amount I need to feel alert and maximize my daily productivity.
2. Keeping a journal: I like to write my thoughts in a journal anywhere from weekly to monthly. It serves a dual purpose. If I’m feeling low it allows me to get my thoughts and emotions on paper rather than ruminating. It also allows me to keep a record of all the new experiences I’ve had throughout the year.
3. Staying in touch with friends and family: When life gets really busy and stressful (e.g. exams or dissertation time) it’s tempting to cut myself off from the world and focus intensely on work. It’s important for me to foster my relationships with friends and family so finding the time for a quick text or chat really helped me feel supported so far away from home.
4. Sweet treats: Although I try to eat healthy most days I also have a massive sweet tooth and like to indulge in a sweet treat because it brings me so much joy! It’s hard to pick a favourite but at the moment I’ve really been enjoying Flake Mcflurries with raspberry sauce.
5. Staying active: This one might seem ironic given #4 but I’m all about balance. For me staying active can mean an intense session at the gym or just taking a light stroll on my lunch break. Staying active really helps me feel my best both mentally and physically. It’s especially useful after spending hours sitting in front of a computer screen.
6. Praying/ meditation: As a muslim, I find a lot of comfort in prayer especially when stressed, however, the same comfort can be found in any type of prayer or meditation. It’s just nice to take a step back and think of the bigger picture, realising that grades are not the “be all and end all of life”, finding a greater and more holistic purpose. For spiritual guidance or advice, you can always go and talk to the chaplaincy.
7. Nutrition: During the academic year, as I become more stressed I often neglect my diet, resorting to fast, cheap convenient foods and often don’t have enough iron, fibre and vitamin B12. Increasingly nutrition has been linked to academic success and mental well being, so it is very important to have a balanced and healthy diet getting lots of fruits and vegetables. Although this might not be as quick and convenient the long-term effects will definitely make it worth the extra time and effort. I find it very helpful to spend 2 days a week meal prepping so that the rest of the days I have healthy and convenient food ready.
8. Drinking Water: Keeping hydrated is extremely important for keeping a healthy mind, often we substitute water for caffeinated drinks which dehydrate is even further. There are lots of water coolers all over King’s so I like to bring my own bottle with me to fill up throughout the day.
9. Keeping up a hobby: Make sure that your whole life isn’t just about work, and that you actively pursue other hobbies throughout the year. Progressing in your hobby can give you a sense of gratification that will leave you feeling happy and productive.
10. Balance: Personally, the most important self-care tip is to maintain a healthy work-life balance. One way I do this is by making sure I never work where I sleep so that my resting time and working time are completely separate. I actually try to only work at the library so that I can completely separate my work from my personal life. This also ensures you have a set time for working.
Services at King’s College London
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with coursework, have a lot going on in your personal life or have trouble adjusting to university life, your programme leaders can be your first point of call. Your personal tutor can help you access the appropriate resources to help you. They may signpost you to the services below or support you in other ways. If something is not right, the worst thing to do is stay silent. The staff at the IoPPN are there to help!
Counselling and Mental Health Support:
If you are suffering from mental health issues counselling meetings can be arranged through King’s, where counsellors can help to walk through your problems and you find solutions. The initial screening session will assess what route of support should be taken forward, whether that be a long-term therapy group or follow up sessions with a training counsellor.
Same day 20-minute appointments can also be made to see a Mental Health Practitioner. These appointments are a way to discuss your concerns and get help accessing the necessary support to ensure you fulfil your potential whilst studying at King’s College London.
Peer to peer support
It’s difficult adapting to hectic University life in London and sometimes you just want a friend to talk to about it. Peer support workers are here when you just want to have a friendly chat with a fellow student going through a similar experience as you. They are trained to listen and give sensitive advice or provide referral to other services when needed.
Health and wellbeing
King’s wellbeing can help you manage the different areas of your life that contribute to you feeling happy and fulfilled. This includes health, money, personal growth, recreation and academic studies. They offer free confidential one-to-one coaching to help you maximise your potential. They also offer different events and workshops at all the King’s campuses you can follow them @kingswellbeing on facebook, instagram or twitter to stay informed about upcoming events.
This is our last and final blog, we hope that you all have found these both entertaining and useful. We wish you a great time on your journey at King’s!