It has already been over a year of Zoom University, and we are all feeling drained and counting down the days until summer break. When feeling overwhelmed, it is important to re-prioritize what is important in our lives, and that means prioritizing ourselves and our wellness. May has been observed as the Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States to raise nationwide awareness on mental health and reduce the stigma around seeking counseling.
As students, it is absolutely normal to experience a burn-out, especially during this time of remote learning. There are feelings of constant obligations, in our academic and personal lives, which can all be exhausting. We feel locked in to all these responsibilities and are pushed to work non-stop; yet, our minds and bodies are not always capable of running continuously at full speed. However, #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth encourages people to reflect on their state of wellbeing and figure out needs for self-care, which includes taking breaks.
It’s okay to take a Mental Health Day.
We can normalize taking breaks and practice self-care by dedicating a Mental Health Day once a week. By spending time for some self-care and self-love, we can experience a rejuvenation and re-charge our energy. While self-care seems like common sense, it is an activity that most people neglect or forget to do. It is important to create a work-life balance but our desires to succeed can influence us to put aside our well-being. But good news! We can take breaks to improve our emotional and mental health by engaging in literally any activity that makes us feel jubilant and calm.
It’s okay to spend alone time with ourselves.
To make the most out of a Mental Health Day or a self-care day in general, get romantic with yourself! Treat yourself to a night out on the town for some delicious meal or buy a bottle of wine while enjoying a spa night at home. Try lighting up scented candles or decorating the house with flowers to enhance your mood. Everyone needs a “me” time, and we are each so deserving of some tenderness and rest.
It’s okay to put down our phones.
Another idea is a social media detox. Taking a break from social media platforms allows us to step away from our phones and be productive with our time--spending time for ourselves and self-care, of course. We can find ourselves feeling disconnected or isolated even when we are present on our social media. FOMO or viewing another person’s happy and refined Instagram post can mess with our self-esteem, thus increasing our anxiousness. It would probably be really surprising to find out how much time we spend on social media everyday when we can be using all that time to prioritize our mental health.
It’s okay to escape.
In moments of distress, we all want to click a pause button and disappear from reality. And, sometimes the best solution is to empty our minds from the negativity and just relax. Whether it is going on a weekend getaway or distracting ourselves with our guilty pleasures or a new hobby, we can forget about our worries and enjoy the good vibes. Explore yourself and explore new things. Don’t just sit around waiting for responsibilities or more pressure.
Of course, it should not only be the month of May when we reflect upon our wellness. Taking breaks and self-care should be a daily practice to keep ourselves healthy--emotionally, mentally, physically, and even spiritually.