April 30, 2019, by Shweta
How To Beat The Blues
Having been over a year since I began contributing to this blog, it has become increasingly difficult finding new and engaging content to talk about with my readers. However, with exams looming, it seemed obvious that the best way to reach out to my audience was to lend a helping hand to those of you who are starting to feel the pressure. After being diagnosed with depression in October 2017, I spent the last year and a half moulding my lifestyle into one that nurtures success without jeopardising my own health. The importance of mental health and its de-stigmatisation are close to my heart and if my advice helps even one of you, I will know that I have succeeded. After all, what better use of this platform than to spread love, positivity and to extend help. Having said that, a few rough days does not reflect clinical depression or anxiety and my advice is not a replacement for professional help. If that is what you seek, the university has amazing counselling services that would be happy to help.
As previously mentioned, I’ve had to make a few changes in my life and my new mindset and way of living has become one of my proudest accomplishments in my time at university. For most of my life, I was a high-achieving, extremely driven, type A student. It wasn’t until medical school that I faced competition that truly left me exhausted and in tears. It took me a long time to realize that competition, academic or otherwise, is meant to encourage, not destroy, you. Here are some of the things that I currently do to help me handle daily stressors and keep me happy, motivated and calm.
- Take a day off every now and then, even if you don’t think you deserve it. Giving yourself time off only when you think you deserve it is detrimental in the long-term because your expectations of yourself will only increase until you find yourself never having a minute to breathe. At least once a week, give yourself an evening off to head to the gym, listen to your favourite Spotify playlist, read a book or take a long, hot bath. During this time, keep your phone away and don’t attend to any work or academic demands. Instead, reflect on your week, think about the things that make your heart soar and close your eyes for a minute. Trust me, it will make a world of difference to your energy levels and productivity.
- Ask for help when you need it. I don’t just mean professional help; I’m talking about the little things. Ask your friend to sit and have a cup of tea with you, even if it’s in complete silence. Speak to your tutors when things get difficult. You might think they won’t offer much help but often, lending an ear is enough.
- Be proud of yourself, even it’s just a small task. Everyone tends to feel like accomplishments worthy of a pat on the back are those that took months and 110% of your effort to achieve. But when you’re having a hard day, washing your face is still better than not having a shower at all. Picking your clothes off the floor is still better than not cleaning up at all. Focus on the little victories. They’ll give you the energy to strive for more whilst making you feel productive and successful.
- Finally, stay calm and look at the bigger picture. It’s a lot easier said than done but stressing out over a mean comment from a friend or a single bad grade is unnecessary. When irrational thoughts make your head a home, take a step back and think about the larger meaning of your life. Follow the internet famous 5-year rule: if it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t think about it for more than 5 minutes.
I hope you find my little tips and tricks helpful; or at the very least, mildly interesting. They have helped me more than I could have ever imagined and I’m so grateful to be able to share them on this platform.
Stay tuned for more!