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University Mental Health Day

3 May 2021

This University Mental Health Day, let’s talk, connect and learn from each other

Tomorrow, Tuesday 4 May, is University Mental Health Day (UMHD), which brings together the university community to put mental health under the spotlight and create ongoing positive change.

As our campuses and the wider community start to rebound from one of the toughest years we’ve ever known, many of us are still coming to terms with the ‘#2020 goals’ we didn’t meet. Perhaps you’re wary about returning to campus, catching up with friends or visiting public places after months in lockdown. That’s okay!

Open and honest conversations are more important than ever. So take a moment to reflect on how you’re doing and what personal, study or social expectations you have of yourself. Are they realistic in this new COVID-Normal world?

Whether you’ve always had to manage your mental health, or you’re trying to adjust to new ways of living and studying, it’s just so important to share how you’re feeling and seek help if you need it.

Advice from Wellbeing Ambassador Simran

Wellbeing Ambassador SimranDeakin’s student Wellbeing Ambassadors promote the importance of health and wellbeing among our community. To mark UMHD, we chatted with 2021 Ambassador Simran about setting healthy expectations and how she’s coping after such a tumultuous year.

Thanks for catching up with us, Simran! How is your 2021 going so far?

My 2021 is going great with full-time study, helping out students and also getting back to some creative activities like photography and modelling outside of my university life.

How did you feel when the world ‘opened up’ and you could suddenly do things you’d previously taken for granted?

Finally getting rid of the mask was the best feeling for me, although seeing huge numbers of people on trains and in the city didn’t feel as pleasant as expected.

I always love meeting people and not being able to do group study in person or hang out with my buddies was really difficult. My friends and I were so excited to finally see each other, but I must admit the first catchup was weird because we didn’t even know what to talk about. It will definitely take some time to readjust.

We take a lot of things for granted. I used to complain about having 8am seminars and dance classes on the weekend. I can now say that I would gladly attend 6am seminars with no complaints!

This pandemic was super eye-opening. I think it will make people more compassionate and appreciate being outdoors and doing activities outside the home.

Was there a gap between what you expected you could do, and what you could actually do?

Yes, definitely. I was planning on spending every day catching up with friends, celebrating their birthdays and going on adventurous activities. But it didn’t really work out as planned because I needed to get my study and work routine back, and make sure I wasn’t doing too much.

How did you recognise that your expectations were unrealistic? How did you change them?

I realised it was only my over-excitement, because I had other responsibilities like study, work and, most importantly, self-care. Hanging out every day and tiring myself out was super unrealistic and mentally draining. I switched to healthier and more realistic expectations like seeing friends once a week while balancing study and work.

Have you adjusted your routine? What advice would you have for students wanting to do the same?

I use a daily planner to write my goals, making sure I don’t miss my five minutes of mindfulness and one hour of dance to keep myself calm and active. I’ve written down all my assignment due dates in my trimester planner so I can keep track of my busiest/easiest weeks, and fit in my photography and adventurous stuff on the weeks where I don’t have much going on. I usually catch up with friends on Wednesdays for study and we have dinner together, which is a great way to socialise.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Get back to socialising with friends slowly and use a daily planner to write down everything you’ve got to do. Keep hydrated. Use Deakin’s amazing resources, such as assignment planners, to keep track of everything and master time management. Find study buddies and plan things together to keep you motivated. Ask for help because there’s so much support available at Deakin.

Ready to focus on mental health? Here’s how

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