Whether its friends, relationships, families or studies its sometimes really easy to put everything else before yourself. Taking care of our own needs is often secondary to taking care of the needs of others, but this can have a serious impact on your mental health. Here’s why you should prioritise yourself:
So you’ve started University, you’ve (probably) left home and the chances are you’re parents aren’t thrilled about it. It’s totally normal. For my first week at Uni, my mum called me at least five times a day ‘just to say hi.’ Now, things have probably died down a bit since then but the fact remains that, if you’re anything like me, you probably still feel a lot of pressure from your family. Feeling guilty for missing birthday celebrations because you don’t want to travel all the way back home, trading a family holiday for a week away with your friends or choosing studying over lunch with your little sister are all common during the transition into University life. But they’re also all perfectly okay.
You moving to University is a big change for your family but its a bigger change for you. Its important you prioritise yourself, no matter what they try to guilt you with. Your family will get over it. It just takes time.
Friends & Relationships
This one is a little trickier to navigate. Moving to University means you’ve made a whole new group of friends and likely had more than you fair share of flings (or maybe even found someone you like when you’re sober). Its natural to want to impress these people, and sometimes that means compromising what you want to do. But remember: you come first. Skipping on a night out because you have an early lecture is okay. Telling your boyfriend he can’t stay over because you want a night to yourself is okay. Not replying to texts because you need some head space is, you guessed it, okay. It can be hard to find the balance here but if you find you’re not focusing on yourself as much as you should then talk to your friends. They’ll understand.
Hands up who’s pulled an all nighter to finish an assignment. Spoiler alert: that’s everyone. Okay, sometimes that’s just part of the University experience. But the pressure to do well on your course often means you spend far too much time and effort stressing about work instead of doing things that will actually help you. Taking a night off studying to chill with your friends, having a break from coursework writing to get some fresh air or giving yourself a day of doing something totally non- Uni related is perfectly fine. In fact, I’d recommend it. Nothing is more important than your mental health, not even a degree.
The bottom line is that learning to prioritise yourself takes time. But just remember that the most important thing in your world is you: without that, nothing else would exist anyway.
Want to help make your University a place that supports your mental health and academic success? Fill out this quick survey and make a change.