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Mental Health

Resilience: The Key to Succeeding This Semester

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Taking online classes for a whole academic year proved to be detrimental for the mental health of a large proportion of students nationwide. Not only did lock-down orders isolate us from our peers, but social distancing mandates also made us vigilant of how we interacted with others. For some, the pandemic also meant the loss of loved ones. With so many changes to our daily lives, it’s not surprising that stress and anxiety increased.

However, as vaccination efforts continue, restrictions are slowly lifted worldwide. This is good news for most college students who are eager to go back to campus. But that doesn’t mean all of them are ready to go back. Some students are having a hard time acknowledging that they must go back to socializing amidst a worldwide pandemic. Although it seems like we are going back to our old routines, things are still different, and it’s normal to feel a sense of dislocation in our environments. 

To take ourselves back to normal, the American Psychological Association (APA) recommends that we build our resilience. And this doesn’t mean that we aren’t allowed to feel pain or that we won’t experience hardships. Rather, being resilient means we can rise from the challenges or the trauma that we face, and adapt. 

To help ease some of the “Back-to-Campus” anxiety, here are a few tips that may help you build resilience during this new semester.

Think healthy thoughts

Since the pandemic isn’t over, news channels and social media feeds may constantly bombard us with bad news. This information, as well as our personal situations, can stress us out. However, we decide the extent to which we allow the bad news to affect us. Yes, it’s hard to see the world practically coming to an end. The fact that we can’t control what happens around us doesn’t mean that we can’t have power over how we react to them. Keeping things in perspective doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to feel. It means you must be vigilant of those thoughts that linger on and keep you down, and replace them with ideas that help you move on.

Prioritize your mental health 

Going back to school will probably be very time consuming. Between due dates and reading assignments, you won’t have a lot of free time to binge-watch new series. However, it’s important that you take some time off to unwind. It’s okay to take a few hours or even a day off if you must. While it is important to keep up with your assignments, a burned-out brain won’t help you do much. Keeping a calendar or a bullet journal can help you organize your projects into smaller tasks that will slowly but surely help you reach your goal. This way you can also schedule your time off. It’s also important to exercise regularly, maintain healthy eating habits, and have a suitable sleeping schedule. Keeping a healthy lifestyle during the semester will not only help you minimize your risk of getting COVID-19, but it’ll also help you adjust to your new normal and assist you with becoming a more productive individual. 

Support systems are key

Creating and maintaining a strong support system reminds us that we are not alone. Although you may not have a lot of time to spend with loved ones, keeping in touch with them on a weekly basis will allow you to maintain trustworthy companions that will be there to cheer you on and hear you out when you need it. 

Don’t be afraid to seek professional help

Recognizing how much we can bend before we break is also extremely important. As the semester advances, we need to acknowledge how much pressure we can handle for ourselves. Don’t think twice about seeking help from an expert if you feel you truly need one. If you cannot afford a mental health professional, find out if your campus offers any mental health assistance programs, or consider booking online therapy sessions.

After a year of seeing professors and classmates through a screen, going back to campus is a bittersweet sensation. Although it feels great to finally walk the halls and see our peers, it can also be overwhelming to return to environments that feel completely different. Be kind to yourself this semester. It may be a tough one, but don’t worry; with a little patience and determination, you’ll definitely make it. 

Andrea is currently majoring in Journalism with a minor in Public Relations and Advertising at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. She’s an introverted empath who enjoys long drives while listening to good music. When it’s time to sit down and write, coffee and Led Zeppelin serve as her inspiration.
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