Starting university is an incredibly exciting time. You’re possibly about to move away from home for the first time, you’re about to make a bunch of new friends and you’re about to begin a whole new adventure. As wonderful this is, you may perhaps be feeling nervous or stressed about the prospects of entering the unknown.
Whilst university can be great fun, it can also be extremely stressful and hard work. They say all you need to balance is work, sleep and play but in reality you’re balancing studying, a part time job, friendships, family relationships, romantic relationships, hobbies, getting enough sleep, staying healthy and finding peace. The pressure of all this can become too much for some people which can see them spiralling downwards into a dark and dangerous hole.
I’m sure you’ve seen on the news recently that issues with mental health among university students has raised drastically. Whether or not the occurrence has actually risen or whether we are now better at spotting the signs and actually having a conversation is a question for another day, but we are more aware of the issue and this is a huge step forward.
If you are perhaps worried you may be struggling with an mental health illnesses the most important thing I can suggest is going to see your local GP (if you don’t have one because you’ve just moved city, get one). It does take a lot of courage to make this big step, but it will be completely worth it once you have as you’ll feel the metaphorical weight of the world lift from your shoulders. If however you don’t feel quite ready to make that step that’s okay! I’ve put together a list of some books which are filled with a range of brilliant tips on coping with your mental health and finding peace within your everyday life.
Happy by Fearne Cotton:
“For many of us, life can feel like it’s moving too fast with pressure bearing down on us from all sides – whether that’s from school or work, family or social media. As a result, we find ourselves frazzled, lost and – too often – feeling blue.
It’s a subject close to Fearne’s heart. Drawing on her own experiences and including expert advice, HAPPY offers practical ways of finding joy each and every day. Happiness isn’t a mountain to climb, it’s just one foot in front of the other on the path of life, and here you’ll find little steps that will help make the differences that count. With workbook elements to help you start and end the day well; get in touch with your creative side; and find peace through written exercises, simple practical ideas and visualisations, these are daily tricks and reminders to help you unlock that inner happiness.”
Fearne has also released a second book titled Calm.
Looking After Your Mental Health by Usborne:
“We talk about our physical health – but not so much about how we’re feeling. With lots of practical advice, this lively, accessible guide explains why we have emotions, and what can influence them. Covering everything from friendships, social media and bullying to divorce, depression and eating disorders, this is an essential book for young people”.
This book’s target audience is clearly young people as it offers a very simple explanation of various feelings or emotions. This may be basic but I think this book is simply brilliant at teaching you how to understand how your head works and the emotions which you may feel as though you’re currently drowning in.
The Little Book of Peace by Tiddy Rowan:
“Modern life can often feel hectic, stressful and anxiety-inducing. Now more than ever it is harder to escape the sense of chaos in the world. Tiddy Rowan’s timeless book is designed to help us find a sense of inner peace and greater harmony with the people we live near, our environment and the world.
The Little Book of Peace is an anthology of musings, insights and stories on peace and how we attain it in life, drawing from the wisdom of philosophers, religious leaders, secular thinkers, writers, poets and artists. This beautifully designed book will inspire, soothe and uplift the soul.”
Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig:
“Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index.
After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him. Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the twenty-first century”.
Also have a look at Matt’s book, Reasons to Stay Alive.
This Book Will Makes You Calm – Jessamy Hibberd and Jo Usmar:
“Life in the 21st century is tough – new technology, constant change, more choice and extra pressure all add to our stress levels. And when you’re stressed or tired your insecurities increase and start to affect how you feel in your career, family life or relationships – so breaking that cycle feels impossible. But help is at hand: this book will show you how to beat stress and become more mindful, relaxed, positive and productive.”
Jessamy and Jo have also released books on how to be Happy, Confident, Mindful, Successful and Fearless to name but a few.
Of course these books are not the answer to fixing everything, but they are filled with a range of wonderful tips and pieces of advice from professionals and previous sufferers. Even if you’re sceptical of their tips you may find comfort in knowing that others have felt the same as you. You’re not abnormal, you’re not weird, you just need a bit of help and that’s okay!
The most important piece of advice which resonates in all of these books is to talk. If you don’t feel ready to speak to your GP you can always speak to university counsellors, local counsellors, your university lecturer, friends, family, caring strangers on the internet, and so many others, the list is endless!
If you find the task of discussing the way you feel with your nearest and dearest daunting why not ask them to read one of the above books? This is a brilliant way of breaching the topic and allows you go into the conversation knowing they will have at least some grasp of how you’re feeling.
Whatever you decided to do, please do not suffer alone. The world is full of beautiful things. Sometimes we just need a bit of help to look for the sunshine behind the dark clouds.