Attending University can be a fantastic experience full of new and exciting opportunities. However, it can also be a challenging time for many, especially if you experience issues with your mental health.
Attending classes and independent study can be a challenge when your energy levels are low and motivation is lacking. That’s why the Screen and Film School Student Support Team are here to help you out with a few strategies to make studying more manageable whilst coping with mental health difficulties.
Deadlines for assignments and projects tend to creep up ‘out of nowhere’ and it can become hard to focus and overwhelming to deal with them all at once. Bring a planner to class and/or make notes of deadlines and tasks on your phone. It’s also a practical idea to make a plan or a list of what needs to be done in advance. This means that you can work on a small task every day, rather than having a whole essay or project to finish overnight.
By keeping on top of things and dealing with tasks, assignments and general life admin as you go it becomes manageable to stay in control and it helps prepare for those days when your mood is low and it’s hard to function, or even get out of bed. Try to keep a designated study area and avoid getting it messy, as tidying up before being able to study could become a significant reason for procrastinating.
Talk To Someone
It’s beneficial to talk about how you are feeling to anyone you trust, feel relaxed and comfortable with. If for any reason poor mental health is hindering your learning, informing your Head of Year, Tutors or Student Support Team can be very helpful so we can support you to make a plan when circumstances become tough. Remember that the Student Support Team are available to talk about anything and can also signpost to external services for further professional support.
When times get stressful, and University certainly can be, it’s important to do something for yourself that makes you feel good. Self-care is a deliberate activity one can do to take care of emotional, physical and mental wellbeing- it can be something as simple as taking a bath, reading a book, listening to a great song or even making a cup of tea.
Mindfulness is also a brilliant way of taking care of your mental health- it’s a practice that is scientifically proven to calm the mind, create stability, increase focus, heal from trauma, reduce anxiety and many more things! The practice of mindfulness happens by focusing on the present moment as much as you are able. Mindfulness can help to train your mind to think more rationally and clearly by reducing negative thought patterns. Our in-house counsellor Debs runs guided Mindfulness sessions every Monday and Friday morning on Zoom- make sure to follow the SFS Support Instagram for more information!
Try Not To Isolate Yourself
When we experience moments of low mood it can be difficult to leave the house, or even get out of bed in the morning. However, there are solutions to make us feel more connected, for example taking a walk to get some fresh air or spending time with friends, and it will most certainly have a positive effect on your mood and sense of achievement.
If starting out in higher education and moving away from home for the first time has left you overwhelmed, why not sign up to our Student Mentor Scheme? The scheme is open to new students and enables you to get help and advice from those that know Screen and Film School best: our recently graduated students. Once you sign up, we’ll put you in touch with one of the mentors to help you settle in to SFS life. Whether it’s just for a few questions at the start, or a regular check-in throughout your first year, our mentor scheme can help you adjust to your new start in Brighton as a Screen and Film School student. You can apply to join via this application form (link here). We will match you up with one of the mentors who will get in touch with you via Screen and Film School Connect.
Although late nights with friends is known to be part of the University experience it is important to prioritise sleep as it is crucial for our wellbeing and has a major effect on mood and ability to focus and learn. This also goes for what we choose to eat and drink too- try to eat a nutritious and balanced diet and don’t forget to bring that water bottle with you to class!
Mental Health vs Grades
It is very important to prioritise your personal needs and your mental health; it is certainly more important to focus on best efforts and personal achievements rather than getting the highest grade. Always strive to do your best and to meet deadlines, but also go easy on yourself in the process. Remember: don’t work all of the time, but do work some of the time!
If you’re looking for a place to learn new skills to improve your mental health, make sure to download the Fika Mental Fitness App. Fika has created a dedicated series of programmes specifically designed to help combat the challenges of remote study and the mental health impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Programmes and audio guides cover topics including managing distractions and uncertainty, maintaining motivation and positivity, staying connected, self-care and healthy habits. Screen and Film School students now have access to the free area of the Fika Mental Fitness App until December. To register you will need to select ‘BIMM Institute’ as the university , and you will need to use your SFS email address to create your account