Things to Remember Throughout the School Year

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing color, the wind has gotten colder, and the new school year has started. As summer comes to an end, it’s important to keep these things in mind.

Your mental health is more important than your social status or your grades. You may be tempted to neglect your mental and physical well-being in order to keep your grades high or participate in rush week. You may not even ignore it intentionally. Nonetheless, it’s important to keep track and stay on top of how your mental health is holding up throughout the year. However, don’t let it be an excuse to slack off either. 

Keep your vitamin D levels steady and high. Especially if you live in an area where sun exposure is minimal during the winter months, consider getting a sun lamp or taking vitamin D pills to make up for the lack of natural exposure. 

Take care of yourself and your personal hygiene. This can be especially tough during high-stress events and dates throughout the school year, but that just makes it all the more important. Make sure you brush your teeth and keep your hair and body clean by showering daily. Use deodorant, even if it's cold out or you're not planning to be very active. Wash your hands constantly but not obsessively, especially during flu season. 

Set boundaries and limits for yourself. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re juggling a hundred different things at the same time, especially if you’re in college. Learn to say no and remember that you can do anything, but not everything. However, let yourself have fun and be spontaneous and impulsive once in a while too. As Oscar Wilde once said, “everything in moderation, including moderation”.

Find something you love to do, and do it. You can rediscover an old hobby you used to do, pursue an interest you recently found, or try multiple new things. Don’t overwhelm yourself, though, the purpose of this hobby or interest is to help you relax and reconnect with yourself. It should help you feel better, calmer, happier or any other positive emotions. It should make you feel whole, satisfied, complete. Finding something active to do that you enjoy is a double win because then you don’t have to force yourself to stay active. In the words of Marc Anthony, “if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life”.

Get the sleep that you need to function. I hate being a hypocrite but sleep is vital. I somehow thrive on getting close to no sleep, and I feel the most rested when don’t sleep at all, which concerns me. However, sleep is necessary. Even if you’re nocturnal like me and you could stay up all night, that’s not the smartest move during the school year when you have classes and things to do during the day. You need to be rested and awake during the day so you don’t fall behind or stress yourself out later.

If you’re struggling, ask for help or try to find a therapist if you are able to. Many schools offer counseling services but they are not always the best long term options, especially if you’re like me and you need specialized therapy or more in-depth sessions. If therapy is not a reliable option for you, there are tons of other options in which you can get the support you need. Any trusted older adult, a close friend, your guardian or parent, or anyone else you feel comfortable and safe with. There are also crisis hotlines across the globe that you can call or text if you want to talk to someone anonymously.