Donnie reflects on the importance of self-care for students

Donnie writes about how her work with CEMind highlighted the importance of daily self-care and even helped guide her career path.

Hey, I’m Donnie. I am a 19-year-old student currently studying Childhood Studies at the University of Leeds.

I first accessed Carlisle Eden Mind as a sixth form student at Kirkby Stephen Grammar School. I joined the Share a Smile Project ran by Carlisle Eden Mind in order to show my support and to promote the message of positive mental health within the community. Not only did the project show other people how important mental health and self-care is, but it also showed that everyone has mental health and that we need to look after ourselves and others. At first, I did not realise what I struggled with, but now I am aware and I can carry out the necessary actions.

Working alongside Carlisle Eden Mind has made a massive contribution towards my present self. Every member of staff that I interacted with was amazing; they were lovely and super friendly. Thanks to Carlisle Eden Mind and their support, my confidence has flourished. At times, social events can still seem extremely daunting but using a range of techniques has helped me to take control of my nerves. I now have a greater understanding of my own mental health and the self-care tactics that work for me; they may vary for others but that is okay as we are all unique individuals. For me, going on walks or spending some time baking certainly helps.

I still find it challenging but I am starting to understand that taking a break is necessary and should not be used as a reward for doing a set amount of work. Especially with the large university workload, breaks are needed, and this is when I will go for a walk or go to make some food.

Carlisle Eden Mind were super useful with offering personal advice towards any of my current concerns, the reactions given showed that they cared. The advice given was always looking at the different sides and possibilities so that you can think on it more and come to a decision or help you with self-doubt.

I had decided to do an extra year at sixth form rather than go to university. Naturally throughout that year I questioned if I had made the right decision. I knew that I had made the right decision when I got to work with everyone for another year, I was given so many amazing opportunities that I have learnt from. These opportunities have made it clear to me that I would love to work within a mental health project for young people once qualified. I would like to take this opportunity to give Lynsey a massive thank you for all the support she provided and continue to do so. It was an absolute pleasure to work alongside you, you are an absolute inspiration. I shall continue to support Carlisle Eden Mind in any way possible and cannot thank everyone involved enough.