17 November 2020

Last month, the Business School held a special online event on the topic of 'Mental Wellbeing and Developing Resilience'. The session was hosted by mental health expert Patricia Santelices, who works for the City of Edinburgh Council. It was such a delight to have her share some of her knowledge with us, and on such an important topic.
Mental Wellbeing and Developing Resilience Event

During a time like this we could all use some tips on taking better care of our mental health and building resilience. With the current restrictions in place, it's so important to make our wellbeing a priority during this time.

Connections are crucial

One of the points Patricia made that really resonated with me is the importance of keeping connected. With current social distancing guidelines, it's easy to feel isolated at times. Patricia stressed that this is exactly why it's so important to: "take a leap of faith and reach out to others", because it's very likely they're currently experiencing the same feelings as you. Even if it's just encouraging yourself to sign up for a society, or host an online study session, it's important to keep challenging yourself to build connections.

Are you doing things that make you feel worse?

Many people are currently struggling with adjusting to this ‘new normal’, myself included. Some days can feel overwhelming, which can be exhausting. In the session, Patricia talked about the importance of prioritising. She said we should evaluate what it is we are prioritising and if it’s making us feel better or worse. She also shared with us a list of ways we can better ‘weather the storm’ and combat burnout.

  1. Focus on things that are under your control
  2. Concentrate on the present
  3. Actively make time for things that support your wellbeing
  4. Show compassion for yourself and others

I found this list to be super helpful, because from my own personal experience I know how important practicing self-care is right now. I always feel so much better after doing a zoom yoga class, going outside and hiking, or even just walking around the meadows. Being kind to ourselves and others is so important during this time because you never know what people are going through.

What to do if you notice someone is struggling

If you notice that someone is struggling it’s important to recognise it. Patricia suggested different ways to do this:

  1. Notice: Pay attention to the clues and check if they are okay
  2. Listen: When someone chooses to talk to you, listen carefully and reflect back what you hear
  3. Question: Help them find solutions (although you're not expected to solve the problem or have the answers)
  4. Sum-up/next steps: Help them feel safe by clearly closing the conversation

Now more than ever it’s so important to check in on our classmates, friends, and family to see how they are and provide them with support if they need it. I really took a lot away from this session, and will definitely keep these tips in mind. Thank you, Patricia, for all of your lovely advice!

Lauren Maher

Lauren Maher is from Chicago, Illinois (USA) and is currently working towards an MSc in International Human Resource Management.