According to current government guidelines, all students are able to return to in-person teaching. For some students, integrating yourself back into an educational setting may feel like a daunting feat after so much time learning from home. We recently posted some general advice on how to approach the shift back into a ‘real’ learning environment and in this post, we hope to cover some useful tips on working on your mental health to attain a more positive mindset to returning to higher education.
Here are some helpful practices you can implement in your life to achieve better peace of mind and mental health.
It is easy to feel like we’re all alone once in a negative frame of mind so first and foremost, realise that you are not alone. The past eighteen months have been tough on most, if not all of us. There are plenty of other students who are similarly apprehensive about being in a class setting again. It is not at all uncommon to be experiencing anxiety about how things will proceed now that life as we know it has changed it so drastically.
Once you realise and address that it is the return to an educational environment that is affecting your mental health, there’s a number of techniques you can practice to help combat your anxiety. An effective method for making sense of your thoughts and emotions is journaling. Journaling is a useful tool that involves making notes of your thoughts, goals, emotions, affirmations, etc to better understand the extent of how you’re feeling and how you may be comfortable proceeding.
Similarly, your mindset plays a large role in relieving your nerves of returning to education. Self-reflection (i.e. journaling and affirmations) is key. Moreover, highlighting the positives of returning to education can help. For example, maybe you’ll see friends and colleagues for the first time in a while or perhaps you’re excited to receive in-person hands-on support in your studies. Try to remember the plentiful positives, such as being back in the presence of teachers and the opportunity to interact with colleagues, to remain upbeat in your thinking about returning to the classroom.
Next, there are also a number of resources available that could help aid your mental wellbeing. These are in place to offer guidance to mental health sufferers. Examples include the charity Student Mind (https://www.studentminds.org.uk/ who aim to ensure students have speedy access to support and resources. Similarly, the NHS offers detailed information on different mental health conditions and provides options for treatments ranging from talking therapies and counselling to medicines and psychiatry.
In this way, it is important to ensure you prioritise your mental wellbeing. It is crucial you don’t ignore or put aside how you’re feeling. Our mental health has surely taken a hit as the pandemic has all but changed life as we know, at least for the foreseeable future. So please do not underestimate such drastic changes and their impact on your health.
If the thought of returning to a physical learning environment is causing any MRC stress, then please do get in contact with our Welfare Department: firstname.lastname@example.org or on extension 1022.