I’m returning to university in a few days for a second degree in Social Work. Because of COVID, all of my classes are online which really scares me. I was really looking forward to going “back to school” especially during the winter months when I’m usually stuck inside... because, who wants to drive in 3 feet of snow!?!? I’ve taken online classes before but only one or two at a time. Taking five will definitely be a challenge but I am up for a challenge!
When I started my first year of university at age 18, I was struggling immensely with my mental health. Let’s just say that my university experience was not the best (and I talk about it in one of my podcast episodes). In a way, going back to school at 25 years old is like me paving a new path for myself; I’m finally going to school for what I was meant to do. But there is a huge difference because when I was 18 I didn’t have many coping strategies for stress, anxiety and depression. Now I do!
HERE ARE SOME SELF-CARE TIPS:
It’s okay to say no
Setting boundaries is such a good thing to do. One boundary I’ve put into place for myself over the years is to learn how to say no. When you say yes to everyone and everything you leave little time for yourself and a risk for burnout. Often, students are studying, working and also balancing friends and family; time is essentially tight and you can’t do it all, all the time.
Saying no sounds like:
“I really appreciate the offer, but I’m just too busy right now”
“Thanks for thinking of me, but I can’t right now”
“Maybe next time”
“It sounds great but I’ll have to pass this time”
“I can't, I’m too busy”
“I can’t take on anything else right now”
Make your mental health a priority
I used to think that grades meant everything. I would pull all nighter's, study till I physically fell into bed of exhaustion and cried because I was so tired. I finally learnt that grades don’t mean everything and chose to put my mental health above anything else.
A grade does not equal your worth
Getting a lower grade or failing a test does not change your worth. Similarly to how failing a test does not make you lazy or inadequate or a failure.
I think sometimes we can feel pressured by friends and family to get the best grades and to put our best work forward but at what cost? Your physical health? Your mental health? Stress affects every part of our bodies and minds in so many ways. We are always growing and learning about ourselves and part of that is learning how much you can handle and at what point do you need to put yourself first over everything.
Stay safe and take care