The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Let me introduce you to college’s inevitables, the high-powered trio: burnout, exhaustion, and mood swings. But, I bet I didn’t need to introduce you to them, did I?
On top of the memorable, exciting, and fun moments college brings, college has an opposing dark side. College is time-consuming, stressful, and overwhelming ultimately taking a toll on our mental and psychical health. It is important to take care of ourselves through these times. But, the question is how?
Everyone is different when it comes to mental health but, once or twice a week, sometimes more, taking time for myself to have a mental reset is extremely rewarding. The initial step is making time. Set aside an hour, a few hours, or even a whole day to prioritize mental health. Schedule this time like it’s a class, make it a priority, and then decide what will best serve you. Don’t wait for signs from your body or mind, make it a regular practice to avoid these symptoms before they begin.
Some activities I engage in during a mental reset include meditation, affirmations, crystal use, journaling, gratefulness or mindfulness practices, and breathing exercises. These often can be seen as more intimidating because they first-hand deal with your mental health. You are forced to confront emotions and be present with them which, while helpful for me, is not ideal for everyone. However, there are other practices to take care of your mental health without realizing it. For me, this looks like taking care of my houseplants, reading, watching a movie, cooking a meal, painting my nails, or doing a face mask. Some other examples could be listening to music, painting or drawing, crafts, baking, going outside, or listening to a podcast. Participating in any activity that makes you happy or feel good can make a difference.
An important reminder: physical health is mental health. Therefore, taking care of your physical health can improve your mental health. To nurture my physical health, I tend to opt for more low-intensity forms of movement such as yoga, stretching, walking, or the occasional run. You could also consider cycling, boxing, weightlifting, Pilates, dance cardio, sports like tennis or basketball, or swimming.
Setting time aside to participate in these activities as frequently as needed for you can greatly improve mental health, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. In honesty, I am currently writing this as an exhausted college senior who has recently found it hard to get motivated. I’m here to remind you that it’s okay to be stressed and it’s okay to struggle to allow yourself to do these things, as long as you are trying you should be extremely proud.
I challenge you to take care of yourself and advocate for others to do the same. Let’s cultivate a society where mental health is prioritized!