You’ve probably heard a lot of people saying, “your mental health is as important as your physical health”, what does that mean though? we all know that the way to look after our physical health would be by doing regular exercise, eating healthy, having a good sleep pattern, etc. But what do we exactly mean when we say mental health? Is it how we control our emotions and feelings? Is it how we perceive different things or is it our view on our self or is it how we deal with things. Honestly speaking there’s a lot things that fall under the mental health umbrella, but majority of us (especially as students), we seem to neglect this said umbrella and only realise when our mental health seem to have reached a point where it’s an issue now, hence becoming a mental health issue, and now that things have been taken to a different level, we are struggling with stress, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, insomnia and etc, which is then effecting our physical health: it’s become a loop where whatever you are doing you just can’t seem to get yourself out of this perpetual cycle further damning yourself.
This brings me back to the whole point of this blog; how do we keep track of our mental health and physical health (to a point) and ensure that we don’t end up too far down. This can be achieved by incorporating “self-love” and “me time” in your life. I can imagine what everyone is probably thinking now, like seriously self-love, what do you want us to do? Wake up in the morning and hug ourselves or read self-help books and etc (you can do that if you like; up to you honestly), but the self-love that I want to talk about is somewhat different to this, is understanding how you can be happy in your own skin and with your own company. A lot of the time, we are so busy in our day to day life, working, doing assignments, cooking, and going out and socialising with friends, trying to get enough sleep, attending lectures and much more, that we so often forget our own personal company, we just get this autopilot switch turned on, which essentially becomes our lives as we forget to turn it off from time to time.
So, step one for your self-love journey, would be to find some time to turn this switch off, and once you are able to do this you will start to appreciate the little things (that are forgotten in your life when it’s too hectic), eventually taking a big breather from life, enough to calm the storm in your mind. Now let me ask you a personal question, you can either answer this or ignore this question and carry-on reading. How comfortable would you say you are right now to take yourself out somewhere for a meal, just you by yourself, on a scale of 1-10? Sometimes, we forget the beauty of our own company, why is it that most of us feel weird doing anything like going out for a meal, taking ourselves on dates not okay. Why is it that we need other people’s company, why are we not happy with just being with ourselves. Well, let me tell you something, we are too busy constantly gaining others validation that it sometimes diminishes our own validation. You will start to become comfortable in an environment, where other people will always tell you your importance (which is great to an extent), however, what happens when you don’t have people to validate you, how are you going to be okay then? This is why in your life you need to be the most important person to you, and this is a hard pill to swallow, a lot of us don’t like giving ourselves too much value. You may even argue that it seems a bit egocentric. But understand this, once you will start appreciating your own company, it’s literally a cheat-code to having a better mental and physical health, so essentially life. Just think about it, if you accept your yourself and stop trying to change yourself for other people, you will also appreciate people that value you as you are and don’t expect you to change, and if you value yourself, you would want to wake up in the morning and make the most of your day, you would want a better diet and all the other things because you genuinely feel happy and content within yourself.
Now that you understand the importance of your own company, let’s move on to step 2: after simply taking out the time, take yourself somewhere just you by yourself; this could either be a date where you dress up and go to a fancy place or it could either be grabbing your favourite drink or book and enjoying that. The key here is that you are going to be alone by yourself, sit in your favourite restaurant alone and appreciate the food and treat it as a blessing. Swiftly, moving on to step 3: treat yourself. This could be as little as buying yourself some of your favourite flowers, food, anything. It must be something that would make you happy and allows you to be grateful to able to that.
Lastly, for the sake of your mind, you need to enjoy some peaceful and quiet time by yourself, this is going to allow you; firstly, to really take in your surroundings, you could be at a park, a library or a beach wherever, just witnessing the beauty of nothing but at the same time of everything. And if you think about it your mind is a total tornado or a concert majority of the time, it’s telling you have to do this and worry about that and yada yada. So, these moments in tranquillity would allow you to reflect on your life, which is something we often forget to do. On that note, you can even start journaling in order for you to fully comprehend your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Journaling is a great tool to express yourself.
Remember, this self-love journey is a personal journey where no one can judge you and you can be who you are, without the fear of being criticised for anything.
P.S. You are beautiful, valuable, and important, don’t let anyone dim the light inside you or tell you otherwise!!
If you need support with your mental health and wellbeing support is available. Contact the University Counselling and Wellbeing service firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)1274 235750. The Counselling and Mental Health Service are in Student Central, level 01
24 hour helpline: 0800 028 3766 Free and confidential service for students operated by Health Assured. Students at the University of Bradford can now access a range of mental health and other support online. The uobwell app is free to students and hosts an array of support and is aimed at increasing mental health support amongst students. More information about the app and wellbeing events taking place at University can be found at @UoBWell and uobwell.info. To find out how you can get involved get in touch by email- email@example.com.