Sophie kicks off the ‘Mental Health Over the Summer’ blog series by sharing her story about her summer experiences with a mental health issue.
Hey, I’m Sophie and I am a sub-editor of the Student Minds Blog. I’ve been a blogger for four years now and have also recently started my own YouTube channel where I share my experiences of mental health, university and life in general! I usually share my mental health story when I am at university and (understandably) extremely stressed. However, I rarely talk about my mental health during the summer, as this should be a time when I relax. However, mental health issues don’t rest, even when you’re meant to. This is why this blog series is so important: by raising more awareness, we can help students who struggle during the summer.
What do you do to help with your mental health over the summer?
Whenever I am having a particularly down day, I try to give myself something to do. I find it hard during the summer because I have gone from having something to do 24/7 at university to doing nothing, and it leaves me feeling worthless. To keep my mind active, I like to blog and make YouTube videos; I also like to do some painting, or to see loved ones. Spending time on creativity keeps my mind active and stops me from overthinking and worsening my mental health.
What do you like to do during the summer?
During the summer, I try my best to see my friends, even though we are all busy working or on holiday. I like to spend days with my boyfriend by either going on days out in London, or by simply chilling in bed with Netflix. Simple things like this make me feel truly happy and help me wind down after a stressful year at university.
Do you have any advice for other students who struggle with their mental health during the summer?
My main piece of advice is to keep your mind and body active. Last summer when I was told I had social anxiety and depression, I got into exercise. It balanced the chemicals in my brain and made me feel a lot healthier mentally and physically. Keeping your mind active is also so important. Of course, you need to rest after a long and stressful year at university. However, a complete wind-down can lead to an extreme feeling of emptiness, if you struggle with such thoughts to begin with. This also makes it harder to get back into university once summer is over. Start a blog, make YouTube videos, find a new hobby, write for Student Minds! Doing little things like this can help you wind down without leading you to completely switch off and go numb.
What do you find hardest in the summer?
I struggle to find the motivation to start the day. When I have no job or any responsibilities, I technically have no reason to get out of bed unless I have something planned. I find myself spending full days in bed, forgetting to eat a proper meal or drink enough throughout the day. I don’t bother to shower and I just spend the whole day either on my laptop or my phone. Sometimes we need days like this, but I know that truthfully, I feel even worse after.
What differences have you found in your mental health over the summer compared to when you’re at university?
I find that I ‘accept’ my mental health issues when I’m at university because it is usually down to the workload and stress. However, when it’s summer, I struggle to come to terms with my mental health issues as I feel I shouldn’t be struggling. But we all know that mental health issue don’t take summer holidays, which is why this series is so important. We need to raise awareness about students’ mental health and the support they can get over the summer if it is needed.
Are you interested in getting involved in the “Mental Health over the Summer” blog series? Please do not hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.