March 5, 2019, by Tatiana

UoN Mental Health Day: How Instagram helped me improve my mental health

In light of the Mental Health day of the University of Nottingham, there are lots of activities related to wellbeing. The University has frequently touched the delicate matter of mental health in various ways such as student life blog posts and a dedicated UoN page.

To avoid replicating what you can find in the resources above, I will narrate my take on the story, which is slightly off the beaten track. My mental health was improved due to Instagram. Sounds cheesy? It is true! Being a PhD student is hard enough. I decided to make my life even harder and complete my thesis writeup away from my PhD friends, starting a new life in another UK city. This means that people in my close environment now are all working and none gets the difficulties of #phdlife! So, I managed to change this by starting an account specifically talking about my PhD life- struggles and successes-, becoming a member of the worldwide postgrad Instagram community!

What did I gain:

  • More than a thousand virtual friends around the globe, that feel my everyday struggles and share my happiness of achievement. I now see that we all share the same concerns and worries, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
  • Following on from that, daily messages and constant interactions that encourage me when I am down or tired, and cheering me up when I have accomplished something!
  • Insights into how I can make my life easier with ‘mental health tricks’ (see below).
  • Access to big Instagram accounts that are daily embracing student life problems. They are also opening up the dialogue around mental health issues as they are solely dedicated to grad self-care!

Tips I learnt:

  • Can’t focus? Take a break and meditate. Download Headspace app, then Calm app and finally Insight Timer app. The two first are only free for a trial period, then you have to pay. Insight Timer is completely free. I tried them all and I can’t recommend them enough! Not to mention, (sleep) meditation also works for me whenever I can’t sleep!
  • Start what makes you happy! I went back to my passion, yoga, which I am practising 4 times per month for the last 2 months and it really has made a difference to my mental health!
  • Increase your productivity with apps such as Forest or BeFocused, which helps you keep track of your time and remain focus! In the end, this gives you a sense of accomplishment!
  • Not all days are productive. Try to embrace this! When you recognise one of these days, learn to let go for a few hours! Don’t push yourself to study. Go for a walk, read a book, watch a TV series, go out with your friends, or take the whole day off!

Wanna learn more? Comment here with your questions and hopefully, I can help!


Posted in Tatiana