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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Toronto chapter.

It took until my fourth year of university to recognize that my mental health is not where it needs to be. Everyone is one their own journey regarding their mental health: some people have their stuff figured out and some people are getting there. Acknowledging that I wasn’t where I wanted to be in terms of my mental health instead of ignoring it prompted me to set some goals for myself. For the new year, I made a vision board for myself that included pictures of all the goals I had for this year: graduating, buying a car etc. I realized that taking a similar approach regarding my mental health might encourage me to work on it more.

  1. Take a “me day” once a month.

Taking a “me day” looks different for everyone. I am someone who neglects my self-care when life gets ahead of me. When I have multiple assignments due, I don’t take care of my skin and hair the same way I do when I have free time. Sometimes, a couple of months go by where I don’t devote time to doing things I love – face masks, reading, getting my nails done. I’m hoping to put some time aside for one day every month where I prioritize doing things that are self-care for me. It gives me something to look forward to during the month and provides a break from the stresses I’m experiencing – especially during exam season.

  • Educate myself on mental health by reading non-fiction books or listening to podcasts.

I am a huge reader/podcast listener, but I gear more towards the thriller/true crime side of things. As much as I love those topics, they’re not great for my mental health. On top of that, I don’t think I gain much information from them. I’m hoping to start educating myself on mental health as it’s an important topic to learn about. Mental health podcasts discuss the intricacies behind mental health, and steps you can take to better it. I think a great way of working on my mental health is by learning ways to improve it. I listen to quite a few podcast episodes when I work in the office twice a week, so for me that means prioritizing listening to at least one educational podcast on mental health. I have a few non-fiction books on mental health – 101 Essays That Will Change Your Life, Atomic Habits – just to name a few, that are collecting dust on my shelf. Instead of watching shows on Netflix before I go to bed, I’m aiming to prioritize reading at least one chapter of a non-fiction book.

  • Journal my thoughts daily.

I have seen multiple sources that claim journalling is beneficial for your mental health. I am someone who often feels overwhelmed by everything going on in my life. It isn’t possible to rely on someone else to talk about your feelings 24/7. Journalling seems like the next best thing: getting your thoughts out on paper. There was a point during COVID where I made it a point to journal once a week. I wrote about my day and three things I went well. It helped me appreciate aspects of my life so much more, and by doing so I felt ten times happier. I’m hoping to prioritize putting time aside to write in my journal.

Setting goals for my mental health forces me to take working on it more seriously. With the pressure of exam season, it is easy to forget about it. Despite how busy I am, I’m hoping to prioritize my mental health by staying committed to these goals for the rest of the year. I encourage everyone to set their own goals for their mental health, no matter where they are in their journey.

Maham Qaiser

U Toronto '24

Hey! I'm a full-time writer and editor for Her Campus at UofT. I'm majoring in English, and minoring in Indigenous Studies and Urban Studies. I hope to pursue journalism in the future. When I'm not writing for Her Campus, I'm reading, exploring new cafes in the city and feeding into my shopping addiction. I draw from personal experiences for my articles, and hope to impact those who read them.