My Mental Health Checklist

As I’m sure I’ve written about before, my mental health has been something I’ve struggled with since I was young. Winter has always been especially challenging for me; I am in my 3rd year, and both winter semesters in 1st and 2nd year were definitely a struggle for me. However, this year I have been feeling significantly better.  

A big part of this for me is medication; I went on an SSRI in 1st year, upped the dosage in 2nd year, and noticed so much improvement. Medication for mental health and its stigma is a whole other topic, that I might go into in another article. However, what I wanted to talk about today is the things I’ve been doing to help my mental health on top of those big things like medication and professional help. I have found this winter semester to be one of the best winters of my life mental-health-wise, and I think a big part of that is my little “checklist”.  

I began to notice certain patterns in my life this January; when I felt bad, whether it was sad or anxious or stressed, it could so often be tied to something relatively small that I hadn’t done. For example, I was stressed out in a lab; then I realized it had been a few hours since I ate, and I felt so much better after a snack. Another day I was really down, not feeling motivated, and pretty sad; then I realized I hadn’t been outside at all, I hadn’t even left my house all day. I got up and walked the couple of blocks to Zehrs to pick up some OJ or Ice-cream or something, and felt a million times better. Not necessarily perfect, but definitely better, and that’s how I felt about so many small things. I felt made it so much worse when I felt already bad to not eat, or not leave the house, or not move my body. So, I started this little checklist; if I feel bad I run through this list to see if there’s anything I haven’t done that day. If I notice something, I make time to do it! 


  • Exercise (doesn’t have to be intense! But move your body people!) 

  • Go outside!! Walk around the block, stand in your driveway for a minute, anything 

  • Eat something 

  • Drink some water 

  • Again, I would like to emphasize – leave your damn house 

  • List 3 things you are grateful for (can be out loud, written down, or just in your head) 


There are absolutely other things you could add to your own personal checklist, but I highly recommend creating one. You can stick it on your wall, in your notes app, on your mirror, but have it somewhere to refer back to when you’re feeling bad. You might start to find some connections you wouldn’t have thought to be relevant at all!