Our UTS LSS Brennan Program Director and UTS LSS Student Wellbeing Blog contributor, Alice Zhang writes…
Mental illness is something that’s very prevalent in Australia, yet we often forget that mental illness cannot be switched off while you work, study, etc. Here’s some tips and resources to help navigate tricky emotions and symptoms while in law school.
Setting up some background noise can help increase productivity and also help with insomnia.
- Coffee Shop Sounds: https://coffitivity.com/
- Rain: http://www.rainymood.com/
- Google other relaxing noises such as rain on a tin roof, rainforest, heartbeat, traffic
- Generate your own noise suited to you: https://mynoise.net/noiseMachines.php
Keep putting off studying?
Procrastination is just a way of coping with anxiety or stress about the task you are trying to achieve. Try and take a small break and revisit the idea of the task, or break the task down to make it much more accessible and seem less scary.
- Go for a walk
- Make a to-do list with small achievable goals
- Set a very small goal to get started
- Get the supplies you need
- Turn off your phone and close any social media
- BoosterBuddy Phone App
- Help your buddy by helping yourself! This app is particularly good for mental illness. On bad days you can select what you are struggling with and the app will give you small tasks to help you feel accomplished and get you out of bed or motivated.
Trying some slightly more creative study methods than just reading can help your memory and learning while making study a little more fun. Things to try:
- Mind maps
- Colour coded highlighting i.e. titles, terminology, definitions
- Also helps you see how the piece is structured
- Try different styles of handwriting
- Pretend to teach
- Spend a bit of time before and after class reviewing the material, and in a week, and a month review it again to refresh your memory
If you’re feeling like your anxious or negative thoughts are snowballing, try distracting yourself for a bit with some relaxing activities:
- Draw a galaxy: https://29a.ch/sandbox/2011/neonflames/
- Draw Something: http://weavesilk.com
- Put a stressful thought into a star: http://www.pixelthoughts.co/
- Talks you through it and helps contain the thought or worry, and watch your worry get smaller
- Time into colour: http://whatcolourisit.scn9a.org/
- The Quiet Place Project: http://thequietplaceproject.com/thequietplace
- Walks you through 30 seconds of just being with yourself
- The Thoughts Room: http://thequietplaceproject.com/thethoughtsroom/?page=thethoughtsroom&lang=
- Type your thoughts into an imitation status bar and watch them fall into the night sky
- Do nothing for 2 minutes: http://www.donothingfor2minutes.com/
- If you move or touch your keyboard the timer resets
- Sound of the waves
- Schedule a ‘worry time’ for later in the day or write down how you feel so that you can revisit it later and have it off your chest
Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness is a great way to curb unhelpful habits or ways of thinking! Try these free mindfulness and meditation apps:
- Smiling mind
- Stop, breathe, think
- Compliment generator (refresh for more compliments: http://ourstereo.com/compliment/)
- The Dawn Room:
- Be comforted by kind messages while the night sky turns into dawn
- Interrupt your negative thoughts and try to bring it back to the task in front of you
- Remember that you are your own parent – speak to yourself and take care of yourself like you would your child!
Remember to seek professional help when it all gets a bit much to handle on your own! There are great services around such as headspace and Kids Helpline which are specifically targeted for young people under 25, Lifeline, the UTS Counselling service as well as bulk billing private psychologists that you can visit for free with a referral from your GP under the Mental Health Scheme (10 sessions) or ATAPS (12 sessions).