Feeling stressed? Take care of your mental health

Why physical health is also important

Feeling worn and stressed out? Not having enough motivation and energy to combat the stress? If YES is your answer, then know that you are not alone! You are seen, we are feeling you and we are with you. The #studentsofTUdarmstadt wanted to throw a glance at this vital subject. Many people forget, especially due to the pandemic, that our mental health matters just as much as our physical health. Therefore, we have prepared some recommendations for you to maintain your mental health.

Masha,
Data and Discourse Studies M.A.

In order to feel good, I personally need a very well structured and organized day!

Portrait TU Darmstadt Ambassador Masha
Picture: Britta Hüning

Structure your day!

I need a very well structured and organized day to feel at ease! Last semester I realized that even after studying the entire day I had no sensation of accomplishment. This was followed by dissatisfaction and the feeling of unproductiveness. Since my studies are my current focus, the afore mentioned feelings had a negative impact on my mental health. It is scientifically proven, that success influences our mood. Shouldn’t success be followed by a feeling of accomplishment?

We wondered what we could improve the following semester. The following recommendations present various methods that helped me maintain my mental health.

To begin, routine helps tremendously to overcome stress. The power of habit is amazing, even if it is just a daily 10-minute walk. “You will find yourself looking forward to the routine you set”, says Xenia. Patrick mentioned the importance of prioritising in regard to time management to help you focus on essentials.

Every evening I write a To-do list that contains precise goals. For example, I complete essay A and then move on to the other goals I set. Throughout the day, I add checkmarks next to the tasks I completed. Every checkmark is accompanied by a sense of success and relief.

Nevertheless, it sounds odd but cleaning and organizing your workspace can drastically increase your focus and concentration. Try breaking things down. Finals or your studies are not a “one day event” anyway. Take breaks and do something to refresh your mind. Later on, you can come back and structure your day new.

Bunte Klebezettel mit Fragezeichen und Ausrufezeichen auf einer Pinnwand.
Picture: Natalie Wocko
Patrick recommends setting priorities.

Personal Development

I feel like personal development and growth are very important when it comes to your mental health as well. Take a look at yourself five years ago: What were your main goals? What have you been mostly interested in? Where did you expect yourself to be today? There are many more questions you can ask yourself in order to reflect your journey so far.

Sometimes it is important for your mental health to look back and see what you managed to achieve. But it is just as important, to look towards the future! It always helps me to remember, what drives me to work hard and not give up. For me it’s the vision of my future self.

Patrick tries to be friends with himself in the future, to avoid procrastinating and reattaining his focus. Remind yourself on what is important to you and what positively impacts yourself. Before doing something, I often wonder what feelings it will bring and whether I miss out on anything if I do not. For example, spending time on my phone, on the internet in general, or hanging out with people who are a bad influence.

I started reflecting. This is a process, but I can promise, it will increase the quality of life immediately. You will feel free and unbound. I often felt addicted to my phone, internet, or certain people that may have been toxic to me.

You evolve and grow every day. Always try to make the best out of it. Ask yourself similar questions as you did at the beginning of this section. Now looking up to your future self. Where do you want to be? What will you do? Where will you live? Who will still be there for you and with you? Would you maybe regret something, like spending the night home even though your friends went out? Spending more time on your phone than with your family? These are just examples. It is also about the presence of course. You can ask yourself everyday what you did well and what you could have done better. Set weekly goals. Try your hand at taking part in sports, eating healthy, taking more care of your environment, or living more sustainably? If you set goals like these and you reach them, it will make you happy and proud! Since they represent your personal values, they will help you grow and develop yourself!

Why physical health is also important

Since your mental health has an impact on your physical state, it is important as well to care about that. Therefore, we decided to pick out some of our personal suggestions, which can help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay concentrated in preparation for your exams. We sure hope they will be helpful for you.

Catalina,
Biomolecular Engineering B.Sc.

Stay active! I usually stretch when I watch TV, flip through social media feeds, or read books. Even when I brush my teeth, I do exercises for my legs.

Portrait TU Darmstadt Ambassador Catalina
Picture: Britta Hüning

Stay healthy

Any kind of movement and physical activity is a natural way to detox your body (also from the excessive amount of stress hormones). It does not have to be something extraordinary or exhausting, a 30 minutes’ walk, can be already enough to get some oxygen.

Lack of good sleep is the basis of stress and anxiety. It is very important to have a habit of going to bed and waking up at certain times. Reading, meditating, or turning off electronic devices one hour before bed can also help. Especially the flow of information from social media, news feeds and television can be toxic. Try to unsubscribe from unnecessary links, pages, and advertisements and set a time limit. This will help stop intrusive thoughts and reduce anxiety.

Stick to a healthy diet. What we eat affects how we feel. All types of foods can also have both short-term and long-term effects on your mental health.

Staying fit an university

You should definitely check out the programme of the University Sports Centre of TU Darmstadt. It is always fun to go out, do sports and connect with other students.

They offer several courses online.

If you prefer to work out alone, they support you with training videos.

There is even a specialized programme for health related sports.

Polina,
Linguistic and Literary Computing M.A.

Books have always given me the feeling of being part of an exciting conversation and give me inner peace. Immersion in a new world helps to change one's perspective on ordinary things and to rethink one's worldviews, priorities and sometimes habits.

 Portrait Polina
Picture: Britta Hüning

Free time and hobbies

We all know that free time is not always easy to find from day to day. Yet, those precious hours when you are free from your usual obligations can allow you to engage in activities you truly enjoy. Having a hobby is more than just doing something fun; it is devoting time and energy to something that brings you joy and enflames your passions.  

Hobbies can vary in shape and size. If you like reading, try getting lost in a book like Polina. Or, perhaps try to find new hobbies! Make a list of things you have always wanted to do but never had time to and try to achieve some of your dreams.

Masha, for example, has developed some new habits, such as, doing puzzles and baking. Even when you had a bad day, you know that you will bake a wonderful cake tonight and you are already looking forward to it.

And when you have had enough of your studies, do like Sophia, set everything aside and take a break. Put on your headphones, rest and let the music take you to adventures or places where you can relax!

Xenia,
Chemistry B.Sc.

Books have always given me the feeling of being part of an exciting conversation and give me inner peace. Immersion in a new world helps to change one's perspective on ordinary things and to rethink one's worldviews, priorities and sometimes habits.

 Portrait Xenia
Picture: Privat

Keep in touch with other people

At the beginning of the pandemic, I had little motivation to learn because I simply lacked the social exchange with other students. Nevertheless, this is currently necessary to fight the Corona pandemic. My motivation came back when I started meeting friends and fellow students online. You can even play board games together online; there is a suitable online game for every taste. That’s how I could stay in contact with my friends and do something together without violating the hygiene rules and measures.

Social activity has a positive effect on the state of the immune system. It promotes feelings of well-being and reduces the risk of depression. Show your love to someone important to you. A close, quality relationship is the key to a happy and healthy life.

Coming to an end of our mental health guide, we hope you could have learned something and took some tips into consideration for your lifestyle.