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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As autumn begins to draw us in with its leaves of bright oranges and reds, it’s obvious that the season of sweater weather, cozy fall mornings watching seasons of Gilmore Girls, and pumpkin spice latte galore is upon us. As the weather continuously changes, this comes with early seasonal depression, which is a mood disorder where people develop depression at the same time every year. As fall break ends and midterms occur, it’s important to take time and leave the library to practice small acts of self-care. 

Gilmore Girls walking through Fall Festival
Warner Bros. Television

There are ways to cope with certain things and there are ways to have these practices become part of your routine. For the fall, something I encourage people to do is to try finding things that bring them comfort and happiness as well as taking a break every once in a while from our busy lives as college students. One of the most important things you can do is stay organized and be well-prepared.

I would consider myself a very organized and well-disciplined person in terms of my study habits. For me, this was something that was important to me all throughout high school. I kept a planner and wrote down all the things that I needed to do. Starting in a new place this year it is a lot different than I previously anticipated. My life still consists of long to-do lists and I find myself constantly thinking about what comes next. I thought that coming to college would be a break and I wouldn’t have to jump straight into the next thing, but that has not been the case. It is something that I have been struggling with and working to change my mentality. 

Over the past couple of weeks, there are ways that I have been trying to de-stress while focusing on the things that are beneficial for my mental health. One of these things is running. Ever since I started playing field hockey my freshman year in high school, I have been an avid runner. When I’m running, I don’t have to think about anything stressful and it helps clear my mind. There are few things in life that you can control but when it comes to running, you are in control of how fast you run, how long you run, and the distance that’s ahead.

Another way I have been practicing self-care is through meditating. I know this might be a term that will make some people roll their eyes; I myself never used to have any interest in it either. My junior year of high school, I took a mediation class during the winter and I feel like it drastically changed my mood and the way I did things in my daily life. I always thought it was a challenge trying to find time to meditate during the day but there are ways to practice even when there isn’t enough time. Sometimes when I am walking to class I will look at the trees and observe the world around me or talk a minute before studying to clear my thoughts through breathing exercises.

I also attempt to sometimes distance myself from people even though I love having conversations and being social. I need a break every once in a while to do something by myself, whether it’s starting the morning with a coffee, watching Netflix, or going to bed early. These are ways that change not only how you see yourself but also the world around you. As this next week filled with midterm exam approaches, I encourage people to take a break, whether for just five to ten minutes, to think about what they can do for themselves to be happy and enjoy the little things. 

My name is Caroline and I am a first-year at Denison University and am from Boston, MA. I am studying psychology and considering a pre-med track. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, reading, playing tennis and spending time with my friends. I'm writing about topics I am passionate in and hope to form connections with people through my writing.
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