Taking care of your emotional health is very important when it comes to self-care. However, it can be hard to know where to start. We’ve interviewed the manager of Deakin Counsellor Services Burwood and clinical psychologist Karen Stuart, to find out what you can do to practice emotional self-care.
How do I check in on myself and my friends?
To check in on yourself you can do an honest audit of your social, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Ask yourself “have I noticed any changes recently?” and go from there.
Here are some guiding audit questions;
- Have you withdrawn socially, academically, and spiritually?
- Has your sleep and/or appetite deteriorated?
- Are you thinking more negatively or has your mood changed?
- Have you noticed a deterioration in your physical health?
- Have you noticed an increase usage of alcohol or other drugs?
For more information on how to look after your emotional health, you can visit these sites;
When it comes to checking in on friends, you need to check in on yourself first to ensure it’s the right time for you to support your friend. If so, then try asking some open-ended questions such as;
- How are you going at the moment?
- What’s new in your world?
- How are you coping?
Most importantly pause and give space for your friend to respond and then paraphrase their response, using their language to show you are listening and that you care. Try not to jump in too quickly with solutions. If your friend feels heard and understood, you have a good foundation to follow up with another conversation about solutions. You can find additional information about how to support someone you care about here;
How do I maintain a positive mental state in challenging situations?
- Focus on your goals (specifically what is within your control and influence)
- Be kind and compassionate toward yourself, and accept your functioning will be impacted at some level
- Ensure you don’t sacrifice the very things/rituals that help to sustain your well-being (eg. sleep, diet, social interactions, exercise, managing nonconstructive thinking)
How do I develop boundaries on protecting my own mental health and the mental health of others?
- Build insight into causes and mediating factors that can intensify your poor mental health, and take practical steps to minimise/address these
- Prioritise and routinely engage in self-care activities known to support your mental health
- Do regular audits regarding your mental health
- Behave towards others, the way you wish them to behave towards you. Consider how your actions can impact others’ mental health
- Give yourself permission to not sacrifice your own mental health in order to help support others who are experiencing mental health difficulties
How do I approach a counsellor when I'm struggling?
Visit http://www.deakin.edu.au/counselling or call 9244 5577 to book an appointment with one of our counsellors if you are located in Australia.
How much does it cost to attend a counselling session?
Deakin Counselling and Psychological support is free and available to all student within Australia!
How do I overcome the stigma around counselling?
View counselling as a proactive/preventive service or a solution focused tool that can help to develop strategies for navigating life and improving academic success. Counselling is a confidential and non-judgmental service where students are seen as individuals and can safely explore their feelings and challenges with a supportive and caring mental health expert.
Where do I find some resources for emotional support in Deakin?
Deakin has a range of online resources to support your emotional well-being including mindfulness videos, ask counselling, tip sheets and other external online resources. You can check them out here http://www.deakin.edu.au/counselling