Looking after your mental health

Contents

As a student, it’s important to look after your wellbeing. Academic environments can be tough: a lack of concrete feedback and structure can lead to uncertainty, and many students feel under pressure to excel, or anxious about the job market. We’ve collected some resources on how to take care of your mental health and manage common challenges. 

We’re not mental health professionals, so if you’re acutely distressed or unwell, we suggest that you seek further support. There are some resources on finding a therapist at the end of this post. While we hope this post will help you decide on some first steps, it isn’t comprehensive. If there are any resources you think we should add, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Managing depression and anxiety 

If you think depression or anxiety are causing or contributing to problems in your life, the posts below might be helpful.


 

Dealing with impostor syndrome

You may have impostor syndrome if you:

  • persistently think that you’ve only succeeded in life due to luck.
  • overly focus on setbacks.
  • struggle to internalise others’ positive views of you, or recognize your own accomplishments.
 

Here’s a post where researcher Luisa Rodriguez describes her own and others’ experiences with impostor syndrome. She talks about the impact that impostor syndrome can have on your career, and offers some strategies for managing it. 

 

Increasing your self-compassion

Building your self-compassion can improve your wellbeing whatever you’re struggling with, helping you feel more resilient and less stressed. Here are some resources for building kindness towards yourself.


 

Working sustainably

These posts talk about the importance of self-care and working sustainably, and offer ideas for cultivating balance.


 

Managing procrastination

Creating structure and support

  • Rob Wiblin talks about self-improvement and research ethics on the Clearer Thinking podcast. At around 27 minutes, Rob suggests that students might benefit from arranging a weekly meeting with a peer where they check in on how their work is going and how they’re feeling, set goals for the following week, and brainstorm solutions to problems together. 
  • You might want to try FocusMate if you’re socially motivated to work but tend to work alone. It pairs you online with someone else for a 25 or 50 minute session of focused work.

If you’re stuck on a specific research task


Ugh fields


 

Avoiding perfectionism and guilt

People who care a lot about making the world better sometimes feel unhelpfully intense guilt about not doing more. These resources might help you feel more at peace. 

 

Getting back in touch with your motivation

If you’ve started to feel like your research is an obligation or chore, check out ‘Not because you “should”’, which offers advice on how to stop worrying about what you “should” be doing and get back in touch with what you want to do. 

 

Other resources

Books

Podcasts

Podcasts can offer advice, help you identify what you’re struggling with, or even just reassure you that you’re not alone.


 

Seeking further mental health support

There’s no one-size-fits-all advice on finding a therapist who’s a good fit for you, but these posts offer some guidance:

 

Many of the students we work with are interested in effective altruism. EA Mental Health Navigator can help you find a therapist who’s familiar with EA. You could also sign up to this newsletter for updates on upcoming mental health workshops.