Mental Health Awareness: An Everyday Ritual

Anxiety, eating, mood, addiction, and substance use are some common disorders that college students go through while trying to complete their degree in their desired field. We are told as young children to be aware of our surroundings and to look out for anyone trying to harm us, but what about the dangers that go on in our head. Mental health illnesses are common in our society, although we don’t want to acknowledge it or want to express ourselves. We could be doing great, but have you considered asking your friends or roomies if they are going through a rough patch in the semester? It could be from studying, not sleeping enough or overdoing the drinking game. Do they seem distant? Mental health is something that can be difficult to discuss with someone close, but it shouldn’t be. Taking control of your feelings and dealing with them one step at a time can do wonders for your mind. 

Having a set schedule or ritual can at first sound simple but it takes time and consistency when trying to dedicate time to one part of ourselves. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the second leading cause of death in college students is suicide. Not being educated about the disorder that one may carry can lead to devastating results. Taking the time to be educated on the different mental health illnesses can go a long way for every individual, especially for a new college freshman because they try to balance their academics and social interactions without prioritizing their time. No matter where you stand in college it’s vital to know the differences and changes that occur in your mind. 

Where do I start? You start by educating yourself and knowing what is going on in your mind by expressing your feelings and understanding that you are not alone. Some other ways to kick start your day include: 

  • Exercising can reduce stress and keep you healthy and active throughout the day (15-30 minutes a day).
  • Having your favorite cup of tea or coffee and a book to read before heading out the door.
  • Taking the time to make yourself a healthy breakfast.
  • Taking a bath with candles can soothe the body and mind.
  • Meditating has been proven to help with anxiety and stress.
  • Taking a stroll or bike riding at your local park.
  • Listening to music.

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No matter which one you choose or come up with, it can create positivity within you. We all have our bad days but if it becomes a habit you might want to consider what has you feeling this way. Allowing your feelings to build up and up can lead to feeling completely out of control and having a mental breakdown. This can be tough but you don’t have to keep it in. You can find resources around campus that can help with coping, like counselors in the Askew Student Life Center on campus. Whether you just need someone to talk to or are feeling homesick, seeking help from a counselor is nothing to be ashamed of. College isn’t a place for you to lose yourself, but instead a place for you to create and build yourself into someone successful.