It’s probably safe to say we’ve all felt overwhelmed at least once during our time at university. Attending your lectures and preparing for seminars, doing your coursework and juggling a part-time job, keeping an exercise routine and being active in different societies, maintaining your relationships and having some time for yourself – all of these can be quite difficult to handle. However, it’s important to realise that you don’t have to deal with everything on your own; there is a lot of support available to you at the University.
The Counselling Service offers confidential help with any personal issues affecting your work, relationships, sexuality, mental health and general wellbeing. Their team of professional counsellors not only offer students free one-to-one appointments, but also workshops – so, if you’ve ever wondered how it is like to take part in their workshops, then read on.
We all have good and bad days, and our mood is often influenced by external factors that we have no control over: gloomy weather, not getting a good sleep the night before, or an obnoxious driver puddle-soaking you on your way to a 9 am lecture. All these can set you on a downward spiral towards the mopes. But sometimes, your own thoughts can have a negative influence on your state of mind without you even realising it. Sometimes, it’s very easy to fall into patterns of thinking that are unhelpful and which can be responsible for feelings of anxiety, low mood and other negative emotions. If you think this might be you, then the “Challenging unhelpful thinking habits” workshop might help. At this workshop, you’ll be encouraged to identify your negative thinking habits and also learn about some methods you can use to challenge these thoughts and emotions.
Stress is something that all of us experience from time to time, and in this fast-paced age it’s very difficult to avoid it. There is, however, that time of the year when even the most “zen” of us might start to feel stressed out, and that is exam time. Before you take an exam, it’s really important to look after your wellbeing and not let the stress of a time-limited assessment affect your health. Regardless of how much you’ve prepared, panicking as a result of stress is not going to help you. If you feel like you can’t cope with exam stress, then come along to the “Get prepared: top tips for managing exam stress” workshop, where you’ll be provided with an introduction to some practical suggestions about how to manage anxiety, and which will also include some simple relaxation techniques to help you practise staying calm.
Another really effective way of managing stress and improving your overall wellbeing is practising mindfulness. Mindfulness is a kind of meditation, and besides helping you to manage stress, it’s also an effective way to improve your concentration and general health. By practising meditation, you can teach yourself to focus on the here and now, rather than worrying about the past or future. By meditating we learn to respond differently to our experiences and use awareness to undo our habitual responses. If you think this might be something for you, then the “Mindfulness: learn to relax” workshop is the place to be!
It’s normal to feel unmotivated from times to times, but if this has become a regular occurrence that started to affect your life, then come along to the “Finding motivation” workshop. During this workshop you will learn about the different types of motivation, discuss about what you can do to rediscover lost motivation, and get introduced to strategies to maintain it.
Exams can be really overwhelming, and the problem is that most of us feel like we have the memory of a goldfish when it comes to revising. Come to the workshop “Making the most of your mind: how to revise and study more effectively” if you want to hear about techniques that you can use to improve your memory and become better at recalling information.
For some of us, academic stress can have a significant impact on our general wellbeing, and ultimately on our performance. Too much anxiety can block thoughts, create a negative frame of mind, and lead to panic and poor academic performance. The “Managing academic stress” workshop provides an introduction to some practical suggestions on how to manage anxiety. During this workshop you’ll learn some simple relaxation techniques to help you practise staying calm during the semester.
If you find yourself postponing or delaying important tasks over and over again, the workshop “Managing procrastination” might be for you. This workshop can help you understand the main stages of the procrastination cycle and explore techniques on how to break it. During this workshop you’ll take part in a set of exercises which will prompt you to reflect on your own performance and map your steps in order to have a better understanding of how your brain reacts when it comes to stressful situations. This is an opportunity for you to brainstorm with other students different methods on how to reduce your levels of procrastination.
We really hope you found this article helpful, dear reader. The main point to take away from this is that developing all of the above-mentioned personal skills can have a positive effect on your work. Personal wellbeing is the foundation on which effective study is based, and there are many resources available to you, both on the Counselling Service website and on the My Learning Essentials online resources page.
By Anna & Ioana from the Student Team