This time of year can be a struggle. The holiday break seems so close, and yet there are still course assignments, projects, and exams to stay focused on. I’ve definitely felt a bit of burnout creeping in this week, and I know I’m not the only one.
I originally planned to write a chipper blog about my snowy day-hike in the national park south of Stockholm last weekend. But honestly, I went on that hike because my eyes hurt from too much screen time, and I needed the mental break; that’s a reality of being a student sometimes.
I always consider my mental health important, but I find that feeling well requires more attention and maintenance during the winter months or the busy end of a study period. Lucky for us students, KTH also takes mental health seriously. Since I started studying in 2020, there has been a big emphasis on student wellness, especially in the context of the pandemic and remote learning:
Course instructors have been proactive about avoiding Zoom burnout and have incorporated our feedback along the way. The student union, THS, has been offering students up to five calls with a psychologist, for free (it’s guaranteed through January 2022, though we’ll see if they extend it). Mental health is common knowledge: Osqledaren, the student union’s official magazine, often features raw and honest articles on topics like mental health struggles, imposter syndrome, or eating disorders.
At KTH, the talk about mental health is also backed up by resources for students. Vivek, a previous blogger, has written about this Mental Health Support, which includes things like Stockholm Student Health Services, confiding in chaplains, and psychological support through the Swedish healthcare system.
An unofficial resource I’ve also found to be really important for my own well-being is nature, and living in Stockholm means having tons of access to it. Sometimes, a lunchtime walk on the trails behind campus does wonders. Other times, taking a Saturday afternoon off to hike through Tyresta and drink hot cocoa is warranted.
Mental health is, of course, personal. Whether a student seeks out “official” resources or not, it’s reassuring just to know they’re there.