Hi there! My name is Alex and I'm currently undertaking my Creative Writing PhD at the University of Lincoln. I'm a big fan of lots of streaming services, books, and am a published poet! I aspire to be a multi-genre,…
When it comes to going through the motions of leaving university and going back home, whether it be for the summer break or for good, that sudden change in environment and pace can easily trigger a slump in your mental health. By having your routine change as a result of your living dynamics, it can be difficult to find your footing as you acclimatise to a situation where learning is not your main focus. However, there are plenty of things you can do to help maintain your mental health while you’re at home!
Something I think is really important for maintaining your mental health is communication with the people you care about the most. One of the most jarring things about being away from university for many students is suddenly being separated from friends. Luckily, we have access to an incredible plethora of applications for messaging, calls and video chatting, so you can stay in contact to your heart’s content. Your friends will undoubtedly be feeling the same strangeness as you from being brought away from your social routines, so staying connected and chatting about how you’re doing with each other will help make the distance feel much smaller.
Getting outside and getting active can be beneficial for your mental health in addition to your physical health, but this doesn’t mean you have to be training for a marathon! Getting out into the fresh air for anything as little as a 15-minute walk to the shop can do you a world of good. When your mental health isn’t at its best, the temptation is often to drift towards seclusion and introverted behaviour, but even a little time outside each day can help combat those urges. Also, encouraging yourself to get outside every day helps motivate you to keep on track with other routine tasks like sorting fresh clothes, showering, and making food for yourself so you have the energy you need – putting a little portion of outside time into your day could be the start of you building your perfect routine for home!
Often the transition from academia to home leaves you not knowing what to do with your time, so to help with that you can pick up a new hobby! With academia, all the work you’ve been doing had expectations attached, the need to arrive at a successful result to continue your higher education and achieve those milestones. With a hobby, you never need to set deadlines or any sort of stressful standards. The only question you need to ask is if you enjoy it, and if the answer is yes then that’s all the answer you need. Crafting hobbies like crocheting, scrapbooking, or diorama-building can be particularly therapeutic and soothing with their creativity, but at the end of the day just pick whatever feels right for you!
Conversely, just as it’s important to be productive and active, it’s also important to balance those activities out with relaxation. Allowing yourself the time to settle down so you can pamper yourself, or indulge in a little film or TV show binge, is really important. This can help you to wind down and enjoy some entertainment, which is just as important to your mental health as activities are. You do not need to feel guilty for giving yourself dedicated time for doing absolutely nothing, because at the end of the day, it will truly help your mental health in the long run.
So when you’re at home, however long it may be, keep these things in mind. Communication, activity and self-care are the key elements that will help you to maintain your mental health whilst you’re at home. Always remember that you are not alone in how you feel, and it is okay to put yourself first.