10 Tips to Look After your Mental Wellbeing for International Students

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Its Mental Health Awareness Week this week. As a student, school or university can be a stressful time. Being away from family, studying long hours and difficult social interactions can lead to mental strain. Here we provide a list of 10 things you can do to manage stress and look after your mental wellbeing.

What is your psychological or mental health?
When your mental health is well managed you are happy, confident and relaxed. A wide range of conditions can affect mood, thinking and behaviour – these are mental disorders (i.e. anxiety, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar, obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD), and many more).

1. Counselling/therapy
Talking to someone is always a great way to prevent stress/anxiety from overwhelming you. A good counsellor or therapist will help you sort out what is causing you discomfort and how to deal with your problems. Sometimes having someone to listen to your problems is all you need to feel better. Most schools and Universities in New Zealand have free and easily accessible counselling/therapy services for students.

2. Get some sleep/power nap
Sleep is an extremely important part of keeping a healthy mind. Often students will stay up late to get an assignment/homework done, or be out late with friends. Sometimes sleep must be higher on the priority list, so that you can function at full capacity the next day. One of the main reasons your psychological state is upset is due to sleep deprivation - this can cause a vicious cycle of not sleeping and mental fatigue.

3. Exercise
By doing at least thirty minutes of exercise a day (2 and a half hours per week), you are helping both your body and mind to get better. You are using all your crucial muscles and feeling good while doing so. Sure, there may be some pain when you are doing the activity, and it may be draining on the mind briefly, but you will never regret doing it when your mind and body benefits!

4. Listen to music
A simple and easy way to feel better and more relaxed when you are stressed out. A good tune can quickly put you at ease. Listen to music you like with headphones in and suddenly that big assignment or project you are working on doesn’t seem as difficult to complete. Put on music you know will make you happy, relaxed or focused.

5. Eat healthy
Eating healthy foods like fruit and vegetables is a great way to prevent your mind from fatiguing. Nourishing your body and mind with good food is essential to ensuring you are productive and fully functional. Eating food replenishes your energy and helps you feel better. Eating healthy food makes you feel great, keeps you mentally strong and your mind balanced!

6. Stay organised/use a planner
Clutter causes stress – it’s a fact. That’s why being organised and knowing what you have planned each day can ensure you avoid being stressed. Keeping a tidy room/study area and having a to-do-list of daily activities can help you to avoid distractions and keep you calm. Students often try to cram too much information into their days, proper planning will ensure your day is less headache, more organised!

7. Positive thinking
Being optimistic and thinking positively has been scientifically proven to benefit the person who thinks that way – banishing negative thoughts and inspiring equally positive actions in the thinker. A trick when you are feeling down is to think about things that make you happy.

8. Be kind to yourself and others
If you can accept who you are, then you can use your energy for good and share it with those around you. Everyone loves acts of kindness, a smile, laugh, or a conversation shared. We all like sharing positive thoughts/experiences. It starts with being kind to yourself.

9. Communicate with loved ones
Talking with family and friends is important, especially if you are missing home. Getting on the phone, Facebook or Skype and calling your family is an important part of maintaining a solid mental base and enjoyable NZ life. Speaking frequently with loved ones helps you to stay grounded and maintain focus on your goals.

10. Make time for friends
Friendship is very important to our wellbeing. Sometimes you can feel isolated at a new place of study, so making friends with like-minded people is crucial in helping maintain your calm and helping you find fun things to do. Group social activities such as sports, games, dinners or trips around NZ together are a great way to counteract stress. Doing activities with friends across the country is an important way of doing something different. It can be a great way to de-stress and come back to your routine refreshed.

Who are iStudent Complaints and what can we help you with?
iStudent Complaints is an independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Government. Our objective is to encourage swift settlement of contractual and financial disputes between international students and their providers in New Zealand.
As an independent and impartial service, we are not affiliated with any Education providers.

Why did we do this blog?
Even if we need to step in one day to help you resolve a dispute, we want you to enjoy studying and living in our amazing country as much as we do. To that end, we’ve created this content so that you may continue to explore and experience the best New Zealand can offer.