Celebrate University Mental Health Day 2020!

Posted 5 Mar 2020
By Dr Dominique Thompson

When did you last do something just for fun? Not for your CV (treasurer of DramaSoc?), not for your academic course (field trip?), not just because you had to do it to survive (eat/ exercise?) but really just for the fun of it? Maybe even something brave?!

One of the many things that I noticed when I was a university GP was the increasing number of students who only did new things if they were ‘useful’ for their future, or ‘good for their CV’.

Students seemed to be choosing much more to take up activities that would reflect well on them, or be something of ‘value’, and were moving away from trying new things just because they were there to try, because the opportunity arose for a new experience, or just because they felt like it. I’m sure that there are many young people, of course, who do still try lots of new things for no reason other than because it might be fun (or scary, or thrilling, or challenging) but are you one of them??

It’s actually really important for us as humans to take ‘good risks’ and test ourselves and stretch our comfort zones (which is one way to have fun, sometimes unexpectedly!), so that we discover more about ourselves, as well as meet new people, see new places, and experience new feelings. Humans didn’t evolve from our caves by sitting inside waiting for Deliveroo to deliver a barbecued buffalo- we had to go outside, face our fears and hunt down our lunch! We became brave and adventurous and strong (and tried a variety of new lunches!) and even had fun, by taking important risks and having new adventures on the way.

If you want to live life to its fullest, it will be so important for you to be adventurous and stretch yourself sometimes (and have fun on the way!) too.

So on this day-  University Mental Health Day 2020- do something that is great for your wellbeing and do something just for fun (and maybe even brave)!

Not because it’s good for you, but because you really feel like doing it and it might even challenge you a bit! Visit somewhere new, talk to someone you don’t know, paint every toenail a different colour, cook something tricky (barbecued buffalo anyone?!), or try a new sport. It doesn’t matter if you’re rubbish at it, if it doesn’t go on your CV, if it won’t get you marks and credits for your course- it just matters that you have fun, feel proud of yourself,  and enjoy trying, whatever the outcome.

Remember, having fun and trying new things is vital for your wellbeing, so on this year’s University Mental Health Day-try something fun, try something brave or try something new (but don’t hurt any buffalo)!

For more advice or support check out Dominique’s Student Wellbeing Series of books.

Posted 5 Mar 2020
By Dr Dominique Thompson