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Mental Health

What I’m Doing to Maintain My Mental Health During Senior Year

School can be tough. 

I’ve been saying this every year since middle school but this time I mean it. Ever since I entered ICU as a freshman my senpais warned me about the difficulties that come with being a senior and while I did take their advice to heart, my turn in their shoes seemed so far in the future. 

Well. My time to shine has finally rolled around and let me tell you, it is rough. Between balancing job hunting, extracurriculars, internships, regular classes, and my senior thesis, there is very little time to relax or even breathe. While these are all things that need to get done, maintaining my mental health is just as important. Stress does have the potential to be beneficial when I have deadlines to meet, but too much is never a good thing. 

Here are some habits I’ve adopted that make balancing my workload a little easier.

Sleep

I cannot stress this one enough. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is crucial when it comes to productivity. I’ve been aiming to get at least eight hours of sleep every night and this has been doing wonders for my concentration. Getting to work in the morning often results in me getting more done in a short period. In addition, proper sleep leads to better physical health and I don’t think the importance of this requires any additional explanation.  

Diet

While I do love McDonald’s a little more than I probably should, I still make sure that I get a proper amount of nutrients throughout the day. I drink a lot of water and eat both fruits and vegetables with my meals. 

Exercise

Incorporating an exercise regimen into your daily routine can not only lower your stress level but can also improve your concentration and enhance your creativity. Working out has always been a hobby of mine and I generally exercise six days a week. I make sure to continue this routine no matter how busy I get because I’ve noticed that the more I work out, the more mental stamina I have.

Keep your personal space clean

This is the one that I probably have the most difficulty being consistent with. However, if I compare my stress levels between when my room is organized and when you can barely see the floor, I feel significantly more clear-headed when my personal space isn’t cluttered. It can feel extra suffocating when the physical space you occupy is messy so I try to set aside time to clean once a week. 

Do nothing

Time is money. I’m sure we’ve all heard this one before. When you have so many things that need to get done, it can feel like you are wasting your time if you don’t dedicate every waking minute to the tasks at hand. But this mindset isn’t healthy either, and it’s important to set aside days for doing absolutely nothing. When I find I am too tired or overwhelmed to be productive I drop everything and spend the day watching anime, reading, and socializing with friends. This sometimes results in me having to cram more work into the next day, but I believe that I can do a better job on those days as a result of having taken the time to clear my head. 

School can be stressful whether you are a senior or not. Completely eradicating stress is, unfortunately, a difficult–not to mention borderline impossible–task, but always remember: no task ranks above your health in terms of importance. Put yourself first because no matter what happens, everything will work out in the end. I promise. 

Originally from California, Anna is currently pursuing a degree in Psychology at International Christian University in Tokyo. In her free time she enjoys dancing, drawing, and reading.
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