The Mid-Semester Slump Is Real, & A Face Mask Isn’t Going to Fix It

Each semester presents new challenges: new classes, professors and classmates — but when does it get to be too much?

These things only scratch the surface of the constant changes a student faces in a semester, and it’s those changes that can get overwhelming. Just when it feels like things are starting to slow down, maybe you realize exams are coming up, maybe you got into a fight with a roommate or maybe you’re just stuck in funk. It can be hard to dig yourself out of that emotional hole, especially if you’re constantly experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety or depression.

There are remedies for days when things aren’t going your way. My personal go-to de-stresser is sitting in front of the TV with a cucumber face mask cleansing my anxiety and pores, while watching New Girl. It’s a great option for when you're feeling low for a day or two. However, when you feel sad consistently and things aren’t starting to feel better, that’s when it’s time to consider if there’s a real problem. Consistent mental problems aren’t going to be fixed by an at-home remedy.

Self-help and self-care are extremely important, but they have one thing in common: They involve doing things on your own. It can be easy to believe that lighting a candle and reading a book is going to solve any sort of mental issue you may be experiencing. Maybe you’ve found a coping mechanism that works for you, or maybe you’re still struggling to stay above water. There are resources to help you when it’s starting to feel too difficult to pull yourself out of what you’ve been experiencing.

It’s important to be able to understand your own mental health and to be able to discern what’s a normal feeling and what’s an abnormal feeling. There are plenty of reasons you may be feeling down: Your period may be starting, or outside stressors could be influencing your mood. Having any sort of feeling of depression isn’t abnormal, but it’s important to note when you are having those feelings of depression multiple times a week.

In a report done in 2009 by GatorWell, 41.8 percent of students recorded being moderately stressed, and 36.6 percent of students recorded a high amount of stress all within their past 30 days. College is difficult, everyone knows that, but it helps to know that a lot of people are experiencing the same amount of stress, anxiety or depression as you. Understanding that what you’re feeling isn’t uncommon is incredibly important in being able to ask for help.

Whether you’ve been stressed for a day or the past two weeks, the University of Florida has resources for you to use to cope with any mental problems you may be having. It can be hard to admit that you may need extra help outside of your own mental ability, but it’s worth it if it can make what you’re feeling just a little bit better.

UF has multiple resources if you realize that your mental health isn’t improving. You can make an appointment at the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC) by phone call or in person. They have group and individual therapy sessions. The individual sessions start with a 20-minute, in-person session with a counselor to see which department at the CWC will be best suited for you. The CWC offers up to six counseling sessions, and if you need more sessions, they will find a non-UF resource for you to continue your therapy.

U Matter, We Care is another UF service that works as hub of resources for students to get in contact with addressing the well-being of themselves or another student. The initiative is a way to check up on our friends as well as others in the community. There are multiple categories on their website outlining how you can help yourself and others around you through contacting the appropriate source.

If you don’t feel comfortable going to a UF facility, there are ambassadors from both the CWC and U Matter, We Care, called AWARE and U Matter ambassadors, respectively. These members are college-aged students who are trained to talk to students in need. It can be easier to talk to someone your age, rather than a UF official.

The important thing to remember is that you aren’t alone in your battles. Coming to terms with the fact that you may need help is an incredibly important but scary idea. Even asking for help is a hard step to take, but it’s worth it. You can’t always fight your battles on your own, and that's OK. There are resources to help you because your feelings are valid and important.

Take a second to breathe and access how you’re feeling. If you’re just hitting your mid-week slump, and you know all you need is a scented candle and book, then that’s fantastic. But if you feel like talking to someone, the resources are there. Ask for help, even if you aren’t sure you need it.

Phone numbers:

The Counseling and Wellness Center: (352) 392-1575

U Matter, We Care: Call (352) 294-2273

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255