Photo by: LaShauna Bell
Being a college student who struggles with mental health is hard. Some days you can’t get out of bed, some days you can’t eat, some days all you can do is eat, hell some days you don’t have the energy to get in the shower. So how do we get out of this funk when our whole life seems to be one big funk? Now, I’m not saying I have all the answers, but here are five things that have helped me through some of my deep slumps.
There is no shame in seeking help from a therapist. They are an unbiased listener who can help you work out your problems. Most college campuses have free resources for struggling students. Don’t be afraid to try multiple therapists before you find one you click with. The same goes for medication. I was so skeptical about taking anxiety meds, but they really do help me get through the day, and — contrary to popular belief– I’m not a zombie! If medication ever makes you feel like one, it’s time to try something new. The first step is always the scariest, but it can be worth your while.
For emergencies, here is the national suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255
2. Wash Your Hair
Okay hear me out! I know this may sound silly, but it’s often overlooked. It’s easier to roll out of bed and spray on some dry shampoo, I feel you. It may look clean, but it sure doesn’t feel that way. Carving out a little extra time to really wash and condition your hair can make you feel fresh and revitalized. Simply feeling clean makes me more productive.
3. Learn a New Recipe
If I feel stuck– creatively or emotionally– I like to cook for my roommates. One of them is a vegetarian, so I’ve had to expand my culinary horizon. Pinterest is now my best friend. Not only do I enjoy cooking, it shows my friends I appreciate them. It’s a great feeling when people like what you cook. Plus, when you’re really focused on a task, it takes your mind off of negative thoughts swirling around. I can’t worry about my first heartbreak or that stupid thing I said in Geometry six years ago if I have to crack three eggs without getting ANY shells in the batter.
4. Have a Five Minute Dance Party
This is my favorite thing to do when I’m restless. I put on my favorite bop, (currently it’s a tie between “Arabella” by Arctic Monkeys and “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen) turn it up as loud as I can without getting a noise complaint, and dance my crazy, little heart out. Let’s get one thing straight: I am a terrible dancer. I was at a musical audition once and my director said she liked how I made the dancing so awkward as a character choice. I was actually trying really hard. Oops. But nevertheless, dancing is a way to release pent up energy and be completely free, if only for five minutes.
5. Be With People
This is a tough one for me. I’m an implosive introvert and when I get overwhelmed or depressed, I withdraw. When I withdraw, I overthink and catastrophize every little thing. It’s not fun. Luckily, I have friends who draw me out of me shell or just sit with me quietly so I’m not alone. This requires a lot of trust, so it’s okay to be picky about who you share with. Sometimes a bad joke over text is enough to brighten the day a bit.
I hope these ideas can help lift your spirits. If not, that’s okay. We’re all on our own journey, you have to find things that work for you. But no matter how rough life gets, and even if you can’t seem to cope, know that this gal is rooting for you.