Source: Brittany England
Essays, submissions and quizzes... These words undoubtedly evoke much dread in us all. With the never-ending stream of deadlines and piles of readings, I’m sure that this sem has been really hectic for all of us. Yet, in the midst of all work, don’t forget to take good care of yourself.
It may not always be obvious that your mental health is declining. If you are unsure whether you are experiencing a burn-out, fret not.
Here, we have compiled some signs that you should be aware of.
1. You experience rapid mood shifts.
Do you find yourself going through an emotional rollercoaster? One moment, you could be feeling happy and the next, you could be crying uncontrollably. Nothing may have triggered the wild emotional changes, yet your emotions have been fluctuating unpredictably. Due to this, you may feel like it is hard to think clearly and focus on work, which can in turn stress yourself out, even more, resulting in a vicious cycle of stress.
2. You start to feel disconnected from your loved ones.
Do you feel distanced from your friends and family? Do you find yourself withdrawing from them? You might be isolating yourself due to the fear of being judged. Revealing your thoughts and feelings is a sensitive subject for us all and it is common that we fear being misunderstood. However, social connections and intimacy can help greatly. Perhaps, you could start small by having a simple conversation with a loved one, talking about things you're more confident of. Through this, you can gauge your loved one's body language and tone to ascertain that they will not judge you negatively before continuing. Starting small is a good way to slowly open up.
3. Your sleep and eating habits change.
Our lifestyle habits can be very telling of our mental state. If you find that your sleep schedule has changed drastically, something may be off. For instance, you may be sleeping too much or getting too little sleep. Having too little sleep also impacts your studies. Many studies have drawn connections between a lack of sleep and a lack of proper concentration. If you find yourself struggling to stay awake or focus on your lecture materials often, it might be a good idea to check your sleeping habits. While caffeine may be the classic solution for a perk-me-up, a reliance on caffeine is detrimental to your health. High intakes of caffeine can increase your blood pressure levels greatly.
Eating habits also play a major role in your well-being. Have you ever resorted to rushing your meals to get back to your assignments or even skipping meals just to focus on meeting deadlines? Unhealthy eating patterns can cause us a lot of emotional instability. If you have been eating too little or binge-eating, you should try to balance your diet.
4. You lose interest in your hobbies.
When your mental health is affected, the same hobbies that used to bring you joy, may not be as appealing anymore. Perhaps once, you used to look forward to cracking open a fresh novel, however, these novels now lie untouched on your bookshelves. The guitar that you used to play so often might be reduced to no more than an ornament, collecting dust in a corner. Aside from this loss of interest, you may not feel the urge to involve yourself in new hobbies. If this sounds familiar, you should start to pay more attention to your mental health.
If you do identify with any one of these signs, it would definitely be a good idea for you to spend more time pampering yourself. When you feel burnt out or exhausted, do take a break! Taking a step back from the stresses in your life is very important. You can always come back to your work with a fresh mind. Keep yourself active! Go for a short exercise session to sweat out the stress. Eat well, sleep well and drink plenty of water. Last but not least, don't forget your support system. Reach out to your friends (they might be going through the same thing too).
That said, do not be afraid to seek out professional help if you feel too overwhelmed. Please remember to check in with yourself to make sure that you are coping well with the stress.
NUS Student Support Resources:
CNM Undergraduate Counselling Team
University Counselling Services
Hotline: +65 6516 2376