The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Imagine yourself going on a morning run. It’s the perfect day; the sun is out, there is a light breeze and an empty road. You start your first mile, but before you know it, you trip on a pebble and scratch your knee. What do you do? Most people would say that they would go home to find a bandaid and some ointment. Our physical health is handled with such great care and there are so many resources available when trying to address an injury, but what about when it comes to mental health? Mental health concerns still involve a significant amount of stigma, and they are often brushed off without ever being resolved.
Since the spring of 2020, there have been a number of changes from virtual classes to social distancing guidelines. Such major changes may come along with difficulties and challenges that could invoke anxiety or depression. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 93 percent of countries have reported disruptions in mental health services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our mental health has to be prioritized just as much as our physical health, if not more. We can only perform at our best if our minds and bodies are happy.
One way I was able to prioritize my mental health was by taking a self-care day. As a college student, I thought it was important to take a day off and relax with either my friends or family. I enjoy spending time going on a hike, grabbing lunch with a friend, watching a movie with my younger brother or just taking myself on a date at a local coffee shop. I believe that self-care is a great way to unwind from one’s busy lifestyle and still have a chance to enjoy the small things in life that make it more exciting.
Another way mental health can be prioritized is through self-forgiveness. This was actually a technique I came across a few months ago, and it is defined as accepting the past and moving forward by showing yourself the same love and respect that you’d show another person in times of forgiveness. I thought that this was a great exercise for mental well-being because it encourages self-improvement and personal growth. If you can accept your mistakes and strive to improve yourself in the future, then you can grow and appreciate yourself to eventually become a healthier individual.
Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many mental health disorders and has also disrupted several mental health services in countries due to a lack of resources. During this incredibly daunting and unpredictable time, I believe that it is important to prioritize our mental health so we can continue to perform our best, reach our full potential and strive for personal growth. There are resources offered at VCU, such as the university counseling services or VCU’s Center for Psychological Services and Development, which I encourage everyone to look into if you are suffering from anxiety, depression, stress or any other mental health concerns. It is completely normal to take breaks, step back from overwhelming situations or relationships or see a mental health specialist to live a happy and satisfying life.