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Wellness > Mental Health

5 ways I prioritize my mental health during the fall semester

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

During the fall, as school work piles up and the days get shorter, I often feel my mood plummeting. When my mental health suffers, many other areas of my life do as well. To prevent this, I have devised some personal tips that I like to follow to ensure I prioritize my mental health.

I find that being proactive is key. So here are five things I am doing to take care of my mental health this semester: 

1. getting enough sleep

Sleep is so important. The Sleep Foundation recommends that adults aged eighteen and older get at least seven hours of sleep each night.

On the other hand, teens should be getting a solid eight to 10 hours of sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not getting enough sleep is associated with elevated risks of poor mental health and other physical ailments.

I find that trying to go to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day helps me get into a routine and makes it easier for me to make sure I’m getting a solid eight hours of sleep nightly.

2. Hydrating

According to a 2018 cross-sectional study by the World Journal of Psychiatry, drinking plain water is linked to a decreased risk of depression and anxiety among adults.

Personally, I find that I feel calmer and more focused when I’ve had enough water to drink. I also like to use it as a tool to calm myself down.

Sometimes, when my to-do list is super long, or I’m facing a wall with an assignment, I feel stressed and overwhelmed. To calm myself down, I like to drink a large, cold glass of water and take a few deep breaths. After doing this, I tend to feel more centred and better equipped to tackle the situation at hand. 

3. MOving

I try to get in a 30-minute walk every day. I can feel the difference in my sleep and mindset on the weeks when I have made movement a priority and when I have not.

Exercising regularly has many physical and mental benefits, including improving brain health and quality of sleep, reducing anxiety and depression, and lowering the risk of diseases. 

4. Maintaining connections

I prioritize keeping in contact with people because when I don’t, I find myself getting too caught up in school and work obligations. This could be reaching out to people, joining clubs, or even something as simple as connecting with the person next to me. I always feel better after a fun day out with friends. It lifts my spirits and replenishes my energy and motivation. 

5. taking Social Media breaks

Taking social media breaks helps me stay mindful and present in my own life. If I find myself getting roped into spending long periods of time on social media, aimlessly scrolling, I know I have to make a change.

I never feel good after those sessions. I try to save longer periods of social media time for the weekends and limit my daily intake to an hour. This way, I stay up-to-date without feeling guilty or like I’ve wasted time I could have spent improving or enjoying my own life. 

These are some of my tried and true methods to support my mental health during the fall semester. Having them in my toolkit gives me the confidence to tackle my busy schedule head-on and pushes me to reach my full potential. 

Sakina Chaudary

Toronto MU '24

Fourth year journalism student based in Toronto.