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my friends and I at a red sox game
my friends and I at a red sox game
Original photo by Riley Kay

How to prioritize your mental health this semester

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emmanuel chapter.

As a college student, it is growing more and more difficult to find time to prioritize myself as the semester is progressing. In between all of the group projects, papers and presentations, I admit it is a challenge for me to dedicate intentional time to self care and general mental health. As a freshman transitioning into a new chapter of my life, it comes with many challenges inside and outside of the classroom whether it is missing friends and family, struggling to make lasting connections, or trying to find your independence. All of these factors can weigh on your mental health and make it hard to succeed in college. I am here to remind you of some old tricks to instantly make you feel refreshed or maybe teach you a few on the way. 

I think we all underestimate the power of a good hot girl walk. Put on your headphones and maybe a workout set then walk around the fenway area. I have done this many times since arriving at campus. It is also a good time to call friends and family from back home without being too loud for your roommates. I could never turn down a time to have peace and quiet to listen to Taylor Swift, Zach Bryan, or one of my favorite podcasts. 

church in boston at sunset
Original photo by Riley Kay

 The first thing that  comes to mind for most of us when we think of self care is a more traditional self care night with an everything shower, extra skin care and generally relaxing vibes. This is basic because it works. After a long day of a class, homework, and extracurriculars we could all use a self care night. It can also be beneficial to do them on a sunday night to reset for the upcoming week. 

Some​​thing that has helped me in the past when going through a rough time or a season where I am generally overwhelmed, is writing a list of things that make me happy and bring me joy and peace to my life, then adding them into my daily life when possible. Some examples include reading, writing, listening to music, spending time with specific friends, cooking, etc. This exercise makes it clear what brings you joy and by including more of these into your days, you  prioritize your own mental health.

notebook and coffee on table
Original photo by Riley Kay

Grabbing your laptop and watching a comfort movie or tv show is a great way to destress, and prioritize taking breaks to benefit your mental health in the midst of the semester. Some of my favorites are Gilmore Girls, Grey’s Anatomy and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Whatever yours is, grab some fall snacks and hot chocolate to have a cozy movie night in.

Gilmore Girls on computer in dorm room
Original photo by Riley Kay

Making new friends on campus is a great way to get yourself out of a rut and improve your mental health. I know for me I can start to feel a little down when each day starts to feel repetitive so it is important to find small things to try every day. College is an exceptional time to create lasting friendships. Consider joining a club, going to a campus event, all residence halls have events for students facilitated by RA’s, or even striking up conversation with someone in one of your classes.  

my friends and I at a red sox game
Original photo by Riley Kay

I can not say enough good things about the benefits of journaling for me personally. I was a doubter that writing my thoughts down would provide even minimal clarity on the daily stresses and anxieties I faced. Especially in times of transition, journaling can help you set personal​​ goals to encourage and motivate yourself to grow. Journaling can also be a tool for self reflection which can find the root case to your stress therefore improving your mental health. Journaling is a great habit to implement on a regular basis.

journal sitting on bed
Original photo by Riley Kay

A messy space leads to a messy mind, I know this is cheesy, but couldn’t hold more truth. Next time you are feeling overwhelmed in your space, set a timer for five to ten minutes and tidy as fast as you can. Before you know it you will have a sense of accomplishment and a clearer mind. Sometimes when you are overwhelmed it seems that you don’t have enough time to clean, you need to be focused on the tasks at hand. In the long run it can provide you with a clearer mind which will make it easier to complete your work.

my desk
Original photo by Riley Kay

I want to end my article by encouraging anyone that feels it is needed to seek professional help to prioritize your mental health, privately or through campus resources. The counseling center at Emmanuel provides short term confidential counseling with licensed professionals, group therapy and crisis lines. 

counseling center resources
Riley Kay
Riley kay

Emmanuel '27

My name is Riley Kay and I am a freshman at Emmanuel College in Boston, Massachusetts. I am majoring in Marketing. I'm interested in writing about mental heath, pop culture, and college life. Over the next 4 years I hope to grow in my writing and prospective on the world around me.