Prioritizing Mental Health this Semester

At the start of the semester, it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. Couple that with the Zoom fatigue and exhaustion of existing in a mostly virtual university environment. Here are some of my most trusted ways to destress and stay grounded throughout the semester.

1. No technology after a certain point in the night

I know you hear this one all the time. I also know that, as a college student, it is not always possible to shut your computer down right at 9 o’clock when you have a research proposal due the next day. Just be mindful of your technological activity at night. “Could this be finished tomorrow?”, is a perfectly acceptable and important thing to ask yourself. 

2. Journaling

I used to hate journaling but I have started doing it as a way to remember what has happened throughout the month when I go to therapy. I find it overwhelming to write down all my thoughts without a prompt of some sort. 

I divide my daily, I say daily but some days I simply don’t have much to say (which is okay!), journal entries into five things I am grateful for, 3 things I want to bring into my life, 2 affirmations and a “blurb” of three to five bullet points detailing what happened that day and how I felt. This method feels less tedious to me and I have an easier time keeping up with journaling. 

3. Cooking 

If I am having a rough day mentally, cooking is a great way to unwind and nourish your body and mind. It is also nice to do something where you have space to be creative and try new things. 

Related: Quick and Easy Recipes that Anyone Can Make

4. Reading 

Healthy escapism from the dull reality of being stuck inside all day has been a great relief to me over the past year. If you are worried about the cost of keeping up with reading as a hobby, the app Libby has a bunch of audiobooks and novels at your disposal once you connect your library card. 

5. Exercise 

I know this is the one no one wants to hear, but jump roping and yoga are what kept me grounded last semester. Even if it is only 10 minutes, moving your body with purpose is a great reminder of how powerful and capable you are. 

6. Saying “no”

This has become a personal favorite of mine, but that was not always the case. As a people pleaser, I had a notoriously bad habit of biting off more than I could chew. It is perfectly okay and within your rights to say no to activities and responsibilities. The more overworked you are the less you can give, so make sure to take time for yourself. 

Keep these tips in mind as we start the semester, and remember you are never alone, collegiettes!