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I have been struggling recently. This is the first time I have really admitted it to myself in a deep introspective way, but the state of the world has been so overwhelming. From things opening up while cases are still rising, to feeling socially anxious around crowds of people, it has been truly exhausting to even step foot outside of my college dorm. However, in admitting that I am not okay, I hope to reach out to others that might feel the same, and let you all know that it is more than okay if you are not okay right now. 

To give a little bit of background about me, I have never been the type of person to really value and implement self care in my life. I know that it is so important, but it is almost exhausting to think about how I can improve my life. There are so many different avenues you can take: reading, journaling, setting a sleep schedule, going to the gym, meditating more, etc., but so many of these tasks seem artificial to me. I never really stuck to these kinds of coping mechanisms because none of them felt like they truly worked. I know that is part of the process of trying new things, but when I am feeling down, usually I want an immediate fix to my problem, not something that will take weeks to finally start working.

However, recently I have started to really try to work on my mental health. I think the sign to me that I was not doing well was my lack of motivation. In school, I was never a student that did not complete my assignments or not attend lectures. I have always been super on top of my work, but this started to change during the beginning of the semester.

When I began to notice this, at first it was hard to act on it. I felt overwhelmed by this new change in my behavior and emotional state, and it took me a while to internalize these feelings. I thought that these new feelings were very abnormal, and I was even ashamed of having them. The first thing that I did was suppress my feelings, but over time they just got worse and worse and did not go away. I knew that I needed to try to fix my situation and in order to do so, I decided to reach out to friends and family. Even talking about it and putting my thoughts out there allowed me to fully grasp what I was feeling. This in itself made me feel far less alone, and even if you do not feel comfortable talking to others, I would recommend writing your thoughts down or creating art for example, to fully have a sense of what you are feeling.

Additionally, I started to create boundaries and set a firm schedule for myself, which I cannot recommend enough. It is okay to say no to things that will make you feel drained. I know for me right now even going to classes in person can be a lotm and I feel super tired. I have learned that rest is so important and that if my friends ask me to hang out and I do not feel up to it, I can say no. Putting yourself first is so important, and in order to take care of yourself, your first step is to be your own self advocate.

Scheduling time for myself has also been a really helpful tool. Throughout my day, I will put time aside not only to do work and complete my assignments but also to do things that I enjoy. I will set aside time for the gym or watching Netflix, which is so essential to feeling like I can do small things for myself throughout the day. I also have even scheduled times that I will not be on my phone. Having constant access to the overwhelming world around us can be a lot, and limiting access to that throughout the day is so important.

self-love
Original Illustration by Gina Escandon for Her Campus Media

I hope that my own journey with my mental health has been helpful to all of you. Make sure that you are doing what is best for you. It might take some trial and error, and it does take some time to start feeling better, but once you start to take charge of your own health it begins to feel so much less overwhelming.

Mental health is not linear and you will not feel the same every day. Keep fighting and please always put yourself first!

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Alice is a Boston University sophomore studying political science and environmental analysis and policy. She is passionate about politics, music, and fashion.
Autumn is a junior studying film/television & journalism at Boston University. She is extremely passionate about writing & film, traveling, her family and friends, and telling stories.
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