Improve Your Mental Health as a Learner in Tech

Mental Health Awareness animated graphic

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time in which the nation comes together to discuss mental illness, acknowledge the stigma surrounding it, and encourage support through comprehensive education and mental health-focused policies. At Kenzie Academy, this time of the year is extremely significant.

The Kenzie Team recognizes just how important your mental health is to your continued success and knows that bridging the two can sometimes feel like a tall order. One of the best ways to keep moving forward is by discussing some of the issues learners face as they work toward a bright future. Remember, we’re always ready to listen and give you the support you need, so read on and take care of yourself.

Impostor Syndrome

Have you ever felt like you aren’t actually as good as you thought you were at something specific? Perhaps you recently began to notice many of your peers are breezing through the course material you’re given and excelling in assignments while you feel as if you’re lagging behind. Or, maybe things are more serious than that. Maybe you always considered yourself a great web developer and always confident in the skills you learned. But your recent lack of job interviews and the influx of denial emails you’ve received have made you reconsider your prowess in development. It makes you think you don’t have what it takes and wreaks havoc on your confidence. In a nutshell, this state of mind makes you feel less than. This is impostor syndrome.

This isn’t necessarily a diagnosable medical issue, but it can be a problem that fills your head with self-doubt. The trickiest part is that, no matter how much evidence you’re presented with that proves you’re amazing, you are convinced you’re not smart enough or worthy of success. Unfortunately, this pattern of thinking can worsen over time if you leave it unattended. However, there are steps you can take to help you feel better.

  1. One of the first steps you can take to separate yourself from your imposter syndrome is by taking inventory of your successes. Acknowledge the approving comments you’ve received, the remarks on your excellent work, and the progress you’ve made toward a bright future.
  2. Next, you need to foster your ability to differentiate between fact and feeling. This begins by understanding that you’re going to have feelings of impostor syndrome at some point in your life — it’s a normal feeling to experience! Once you’ve done so you can pinpoint that feeling of inadequacy and convince yourself that it isn’t factual. For instance, if you begin to feel as if you’re never going to learn the lesson taught by a specific assignment, remind yourself that you’ve already made amazing progress and learning this difficult subject is only a matter of time.
  3. The final step involves something that most people deal with: comparisons. Sure, one of your fellow learners may have done an outstanding job with an assignment or received countless job interviews after graduation, but their successes are not indicative of who you are as a person. Your achievements are yours and should never be held up to those of others. Instead, marvel at what you’ve done so far and keep a positive outlook about the things that are still to come in your future.

Fear of Failure

The feeling of failure can appear in just about any situation, when you least expect it. Maybe you failed that assignment you felt so confident about or have received more rejection emails than you ever thought imaginable. Or perhaps you didn’t get the job after the first interview. Yes, these situations can really take the wind out of your sails, but should they keep you from doing more?

When you’re trying to achieve your goals the last thing you should do is avoid anything out of fear of failing at everything. It can be a difficult thing to accept and accomplish, but there are certain things you can do to make it happen.

  1. If your fear of failure is keeping you anchored to the ground, the first thing you need to do is identify what that fear actually is. Maybe you’re afraid if you don’t nail your job interview you’ll be penniless. Great, we have located the source of your fear! Now we need to determine what your plan of action would be in that hypothetical situation. So, if you don’t nail that job interview, we can determine you need to have a second interview ready to go and maybe even prepare better with a mock interview.
  2. Another crucial thing you can do is keep your eye on the path to the goal and not on the goal itself. This sounds counterintuitive, right? Well, look at it this way. You could say your goal is to get your first job in tech shortly after graduating, but what if you focused on things that will actually help you get there? Think of actions such as expanding the knowledge on skills you’re currently learning, becoming a coach for peers, or even doing mock interviews to help you prepare for the real deal. Focusing on this process will make it easier to get to your end goal. And, even if you were to fail, the process has helped you grow in ways you maybe never thought imaginable.

The Importance of Accepting Help

Sometimes it’s difficult to reach the levels of mental health we deserve no matter how hard we try. In these cases, outside help may be the catalyst we need. However, it’s not always easy to accept it. The key word in this process is “acceptance.” In order to accept the help we need we need to accept ourselves.

One way to do this is by surrounding yourself with people who are supportive and encourage acceptance for better mental health while revoking the stigma that often surrounds it. You should also accept the fact that your mental health troubles aren’t what define you as a person. In fact, you can be an amazing employee, friend, or family member while struggling with mental health issues. Getting to a point where you can accept yourself, your life, and your specific situation, means you can finally begin to accept the help you feel you need.

Remember, contrary to what you may feel, accepting help is not a failure or a weakness. You are not alone in these feelings and you are definitely not alone when it comes to leaving them behind. In fact, Kenzie Academy provides support systems to help you feel included and because there are others who feel the same way you do.

Resources for You

At Kenzie Academy, we know just how much of an impact your mental health can have on your success and the people around you. It’s why we’re so excited to share HelpU and Talkspace, resources designed to support your mental and emotional health. Both resources can be accessed via MyKenzie — HelpU is located in InScribe and Talkspace is located on the MyKenzie dashboard.

Both of these resources are available to all Kenzie Academy learners and provide access to sessions with licensed professionals, apps, guides, and other tools that can help you manage stress, family, work, and education in ways that will benefit your mental health. The best news is these mental health resources are available to you for absolutely no cost at all.

If you haven’t felt like yourself lately or are struggling with stress, anxiety or other mental health issues, don’t hesitate to reach out and make use of these amazing resources. As we continue our way through this Mental Health Awareness Month, remember that you are not alone. Kenzie Academy is always available to listen and provide the support you need to keep moving forward.

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