Lambda School is an exciting time of growth and opportunity, but it can also be very stressful. There’s a lot to learn in a short amount of time, and we also understand that everything else going on in your life doesn’t pause while you’re at Lambda. It’s a lot for anyone to take on, so if you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression, burnout, or another type of mental health issue, you should know that you’re not alone.
Consider the following statistics shared by our friends at Modern Health:
Here are 6 ways you can take care of your mental health while you’re at Lambda School, and beyond.
Get enough sleep. Many of our students have to make sacrifices to come to Lambda School, and one of those often ends up being sleep. But when it comes to bringing your best self to class, work, and your family, getting enough sleep is critical. Skimping on sleep can make you irritable and forgetful, sap your energy, and weaken your immune system.
Try to aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night, and don’t forget to give yourself a little time to wind down before you lay down. Staring at your computer screen as you code late into the night can keep your brain in overdrive and prevent you from drifting off as easily.
Get active. When you’re spending hours at work and then several more hours attending class at Lambda, it can be hard to squeeze exercise in. Fortunately, you don’t have to train for a marathon or spend a lot of money on an expensive gym to reap the benefits of movement. Even taking a 10 minute walk around the block between classes, stopping to stretch, taking a dance break with your kids, or riding your bike to the store can do wonders for your mental and physical health.
Exercise releases endorphins, boosts your mood and energy, and gives you a chance to blow off steam if you’ve had a frustrating day. Even if all you can squeeze in is a quick jog in the morning before breakfast, your health will thank you.
Find meaningful connection. Call a friend, visit your mom, or volunteer your time. Social interaction is an important emotional need – humans are social creatures that crave personal connection. Even if you work at home most of the time, make an effort to leave your house and get face time with others as often as you can. Working from a coffee shop or co-working space can make the experience of remote work feel less isolating.
Because Lambda School is 100% online, our students don’t have the chance to connect with their fellow students as often as they might at a traditional school. To encourage connection and friendships, we host regular student meetups in cities across the US, and we’ve recently moved the Lambda Connect community abroad! Meetups are not only a great networking opportunity, but connecting with others face-to-face can be a great stress reliever and may help you meet others who are experiencing the same feelings of stress or anxiety that you do.
Practice being present. It’s easy to get caught up in the future and the what-ifs of life, especially when the possibility of a rewarding new career seems much more exciting than completing sprints in class. However, being physically present in your personal and professional life can help prevent feelings of anxiety, dissatisfaction, and stress.
Focusing on what’s happening right now, rather than what might happen or what assignments you have coming up will help you to perform your best in class and to more fully enjoy your precious time with your loved ones. Yoga is a great way to practice being present, as is meditation. We love apps like Headspace and Calm.com that make meditation easy – even 5 minutes of mindfulness a day can do wonders for your mental and emotional well-being.
Need a quick way to relax and focus on the present moment? Try this simple breathing exercise to calm your mind:
Eat a healthy meal. If you’re not feeling like your best self, it’s a good idea to take a pause to consider whether you’ve eaten in the past 3-4 hours. If not, take a break and get a healthy snack. The food you put into your body is the fuel you give it to run, so to ensure that you stay healthy enough for your school work, family obligations, and hobbies, aim to eat a variety of healthy foods and to eat regularly. Low blood sugar can be a mood killer, and impedes your ability to focus and do your best work. Less soda, more water; less sugar, more whole foods.
Consider talking to a professional. If you’re experiencing feelings of depression, anxiety, burnout or hopelessness, don’t discount the value of professional help. From traditional office visits with a therapist, to virtual visits with a professional coach or counselor, there are lots of options for finding the best care for your personal needs. There’s no shame in asking for help, and with a rapidly changing technological world, there are many solutions that don’t even require leaving the house.
Soon we’ll be rolling out a new partnership that will offer better mental health and wellness support to Lambda students and staff. We’re committed to making Lambda a healthy and supportive place to be, and this new program will provide our Lambda community with individualized resources to improve their mental and emotional well-being.
Taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health, and at Lambda, we know that you need both to best provide for yourself and your family. Incorporating these tips into your life can help you have a more positive experience at Lambda School, and set you up for a lifetime of good health and wellness.