Looking after your mental health at business school is important in more ways than one—a healthy body and mind is likely to lead to a higher-quality of output and an overall more positive experience.
Not to mention that tackling arising mental health issues during your master’s degree will better prepare you for the workplace as you’ll be attuned to spotting when it’s time to seek help.
Here are some useful ways to look after your mental health at business school:
1. Engage in mindfulness
It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of your master’s degree so taking some time out can be valuable and help you gain a fresh perspective.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that emphasizes focusing on the present moment.
Mindfulness techniques have been linked to a reduction in cortisol—a hormone that’s produced as part of the body’s fight-or-flight reaction.
There are several mindfulness apps that offer guided meditation exercises—including Calm, Headspace, and Meditopia—in as little as one minute or less.
Some business schools have even embedded mindfulness principles in the curriculum.
Thailand-based Sasin School of Management offers a ‘mindfulness in management’ course and invites monks to campus to speak with students about the value of mindfulness, merging Thai culture with the business school environment.
2. Speak to a mental health professional
Some master’s students may need a little more help than that offered by mindfulness techniques. Therapy or counselling sessions can give students the support they need and provide a safe space to talk about mental health issues.
One business school tackling mental health by providing professional mental health services is NEOMA Business School, which is based in France.
At business school’s Wellness Center, students can access psychological counselling and other forms of support, such as advice on nutrition, sexual violence, financial management, addiction, and more.
For students who don’t wish to seek support face-to-face, the business school offers mental health support in its 100% virtual campus.
“This is an example of how we’re combining technological innovation and student services,” says Delphine Manceau, dean of NEOMA.
3. Engage with your business school peers
If you’ve heard the phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’, then you’ll understand why peer support groups or community networks are popular at business school.
Master’s students can join a variety of societies and groups at business school depending on your interests—these range from career-focused groups, diversity-driven societies, or even just safe spaces to talk about your mental health.
London Business School runs an annual student-led Mental Health Action Week, which works to encourage students to be open about their mental health and signposts places of support.
4. Try out new forms of exercise
This will come as no surprise: exercise can make a real difference to your mental health.
Physical activity has been linked to improved self-esteem, better sleep, improved mood, and reduced stress and anxiety.
That’s why business schools often integrate exercise into their annual mental health weeks. During NEOMA’s Wellness Week, for instance, students can try out mood-boosting activities such as yoga or self-defense, helping to take the focus away from life’s stressors.
At London Business School, the Men’s Rugby Club has previously led the Mental Health Action Week, encouraging students to use physical activity to improve mental wellbeing.
Plus, joining sports teams or activity groups at business school can help you forge important connections and improve your networking skills, so it’s a win-win.
5. Take time out of your master’s if you need to
Everyone can benefit from some time off and this is no truer than at business school.
It can feel tempting to spend most of your evenings or weekends working on a course project or learning about a new business topic, but your mind will thank you if you use periods of down-time to engage in something unrelated to your studies.
This could include spending time on a hobby you haven’t had time for, cooking your favorite meal, or exploring the city you’re located in.
Yet, if you still feel that your mental health is getting the better of you, business schools have dedicated student service departments to speak to and discuss your options, such as whether a period of leave would benefit you and how to minimize disturbance to your studies.
Remember, business schools want you to do well, so there are systems in place to support you every step of your master’s journey.