BLOG: 4 Ways To Protect Your Mental Health During The Cost-of-Living Crisis As A Student Or Grad
Our 4Youth Community provides some helpful tips to protect your mental health during the cost-of-living crisis.
Ahhh it’s Christmas time and nothing screams cosy, festive feelings like a cost-of-living crisis (not!).
It’s important, now more than ever, that we all make a conscious effort to protect our mental health, and that goes for students and graduates too. Here’s 4 ways to make sure you’re doing just that.
Budget – just one of a student’s least favourite words.
Budgeting, and doing so realistically, will help you to protect your mental health during this oh not-so-fun time. Get your pen and paper out (or excel sheet) and make a note of exactly when your student loan or wage drops and how much you’re expecting. Then factor in your bills, subscriptions, food shops and any extras like birthday gifts. Once you know exactly what you NEED for the month, you can start thinking about what you want. This includes things like new clothes, nights out, Domino’s and Dukes Donuts.
It might sound super boring and thinking about money (or rather your distinct lack of money) can make you feel low. But if you don’t know what you’re spending, why and where you’re spending it, you’re only heading for more stress…and your overdraft.
“If you don’t know what you’re spending, why and where you’re spending it, you’re only heading for more stress…and your overdraft.”
Stop Scrolling (Or At Least Reduce Scrolling)
If you’re an avid TikTok or Instagram user, it’s pretty much a guarantee that at some point or another you will be (if you haven’t already) convinced to buy something.
If you’re trying to survive the cost-of-living crisis and protect your precious mental health, nothing makes you feel worse than watching a bunch of influencers open free PR packages and sell products to you as “a must” or “the best thing they’ve bought in months”. Steer clear of TikTok shop and following a load of new influencer, model types that are only going to make you feel like you absolutely need to buy that new skincare product, Dyson Airwrap or Ugg Tasmans.
Protect your sanity and your bank account, especially when you know it’s not something you ever wanted before you saw it online.
As much as we all say, “it’s the thought that counts”, sometimes you really want to buy your mates and your mum a really good gift. But who says this actually has to cost you the world?!
Get creative with your gift ideas this Christmas because spending a load on presents this year is not going to make your January 2023 self feel great. If you have money to spare, use sites like Vinted or eBay to get your gifts a little bit cheaper and make sure you’re intentional with what you’re buying. Amazon Warehouse deals are great too (the product is still good to use, the box might just be a little bit bashed or opened but then returned). Maybe even think about getting yourself to Home Bargains to pick up a basket and fill it with small treats for your favourite people.
Homemade gifts are a shout too. Think baking someone their favourite brownies, writing down your favourite recipes for that one friend that just can’t cook to save their life or using the skills you already have (painting or sewing) to make someone a small gift.
The chances are everyone you know is feeling the pinch this year. The fact you’ve thought of them, and want to spend anything on them, is something that will make anyone feel good. Protect your mental health by reminding yourself of what actually matters.
“If you have money to spare, use sites like Vinted or eBay to get your gifts a little bit cheaper and make sure you’re intentional with what you’re buying.”
There’s nothing like a cost-of-living crisis to really emphasise what you don’t have. All of which makes you feel pretty rubbish.
Staying grateful doesn’t mean that the struggles you’re facing right now aren’t completely valid – because they are and it’s not a situation any of us want to be in. But make sure to check in with yourself every now and then to remember what you do have. Do you have a Christmas dinner to attend? A warm bed to wake up in on Christmas morning? Family waiting to ask you a million questions about how uni is going or to quiz you about your first “adult” job?
Look after your mental health by focusing on the good rather than dwelling on the bad (and we all know it’s a lot easier to let yourself feel rubbish than actually pick yourself up).
P.S students and grads, if the cost-of-living crisis is getting you down, reach out to someone. Have a look at what your uni might be emailing you, putting out on social media or advertising at the student union. Some unis are providing extra grants, discounted food, more deals and support on hand if you need to talk.