Mental Health Tips for Students Studying Abroad
You have moved across cities, countries, and perhaps continents to seek education. While this sounds exhilarating, we know it can be emotionally and mentally taxing. But fear not, you are not alone in this journey. Together, we will look at 6 tips to improve your mental health while studying abroad.
Tip 1. Do not Judge Yourself
You have taken a great step in your academic AND personal life. You have left everything you know back home and, most importantly, your support system. The change is HUGE. It is only normal that you face some difficulties adjusting to your new life. No matter the situation, it is imperative that you are most patient and understanding when self-reflecting. Remember, mental health struggles are not a sign of weakness!
Tip 2. Keep Yourself Grounded:
It can sometimes be challenging to stop your mind from racing or spiralling into anxious thoughts. However, you can practice grounding to keep you from drowning in the sea of your thoughts. Grounding exercises gently shift your focus to the here and now, at the moment. It allows for a sense of presence and a connection to your five senses.
Grounding exercises vary from using a fidget tool\toy, breathing exercises, and mediation. If you’re new to this, we suggest you try guided mediation sessions on applications such as Calm and Headspace. Some may require paid subscriptions, but others have free memberships.
Tip 3. Move Your Body:
Whether it’s joining the gym or following a ten-minute yoga routine video on YouTube, moving your body is proven to boost your mood. Regular exercise significantly decreases stress levels and helps alleviate mental health struggles. Increase your levels of activity slowly and consistently for more sustainable change. Perhaps you could start taking the stairs or riding a bike on Sundays. Perfection is not the goal here, consistency is.
Tip 4. Be Kind to Yourself:
You should be proud of how far you’ve come. Practice self-compassion: accept your imperfections and appreciate all that you are and aren’t. Celebrate your little wins and forgive yourself for the lost battles. Be kind to yourself. Become your own best friend to help push yourself forward. If you find this difficult, practice these positive affirmations every day.
Tip 4. Find Connection:
Humans are social animals. No matter how strong you are, you need a social connection for your mental health and general well-being. It is easy to find yourself very isolated; therefore, use social media to connect with family and old friends. In addition, focus on making new friends in your new home. Having a community that you can fall back on will give you a sense of security and belonging.
Tip 5. Ask for Help:
Reaching out is crucial when you’re struggling. If you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, or any other mental health complication, remember that you are not alone. If informal support from friends and family is not enough, it is time to turn to professionals. Reach out to the university counsellors and mental health workers. There is no reason to carry the burden on your own!