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Wellness > Mental Health

How Are You, Really? 3 Tips For Maintaining Positive Mental Health This Quarter

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Washington chapter.

Spring has sprung, the cherry blossoms are out, the sun is shining, and the last quarter of the school year is here! I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe it is already spring quarter. This year has absolutely FLOWN by, and while I am so excited for spring weather, my spring quarter classes, and new opportunities, the reality that life is moving so quickly can feel overwhelming at times. 

And, if you’re anything like me, when someone asks you how you’re doing or if you are excited for spring quarter, you automatically say something along the lines of, “I’m good, how are you?” or, “Yes, I am so excited!” and you don’t share the fact that you are feeling overwhelmed. 

So, I’m going to ask you now… how are you, really? 

If you are overwhelmed, that’s okay (p.s. I am too!), and you shouldn’t feel ashamed or scared to admit that because I can assure you that you are not alone in that feeling. There is so much going on right now: classes are heating back up again, friendships may be shifting and changing, you may be getting ready to apply to your preferred major, the seasons themselves are changing. There’s a lot to take in, and while you can be excited for all of that change, it is totally okay and normal if you are feeling overwhelmed by all of that change too. And, if you are feeling that overwhelm, even if it may not seem like it, you’re in luck! Yes, you! Because, I’ve got three tried and true tips for you to help manage that overwhelm and maintain positive mental health this quarter.

Tip #1: Put Pen, Colored Pencils, Paint, Whatever You Please, To Paper  

You heard me, get out your art supplies and get to creating! When I am overwhelmed one of my most reliable tactics to help me reduce those feelings of overwhelm and stress is to draw or create a piece of art. I don’t put any expectations on myself of what that art piece should look like, how “good” it needs to be, or even what colors I should use, I just allow myself to doodle and draw or paint whatever feels right to me in the moment and I am always so surprised at how much calmer and less frazzled it makes me feel. 

And, if I am really feeling overwhelmed, I like to put my headphones on and listen to music while I draw or create an art piece so that I am entirely focused on the task at hand. I am not distracted by sounds, people, or other stressors around me; I am solely focused on me and what I need to feel more at ease. 

Tip #2: Get Outside, Nature Awaits! 

Whether you go for a leisurely stroll, take a seat in the quad in the sunshine, or chuck your running shoes on and go for a run, getting outside and into nature will without a doubt help you manage and mitigate any feelings of overwhelm. 

And listen, when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, you probably don’t want to go outside or move your body in any way. I get it: every time I am feeling overwhelmed the last thing I want to do is go outside, let alone exercise, but when I push through that resistance and do it anyway, I feel 10 times better in the end. Never underestimate the power of some Vitamin D! 

I truly believe that changing your environment and getting out of your head and into nature really helps to remind you that the overwhelm you are feeling, is valid, absolutely, but in the grand scheme of things, it is not something that needs to take you down. So, get out there! I promise you, you won’t regret it, and your mind will thank you. 

Tip #3: Breathe in, Breathe Out, Repeat  

Now, this might just be the best tip I have for you, because it is so simple and so accessible. We are breathing every second of every day, and many of us aren’t even conscious of our breath, but it is such a powerful tool and really has the capacity to bring us out of our minds and out of our overwhelm, into our bodies and the present moment. 

My favorite and most used breathing technique to mitigate and reduce feelings of overwhelm is the 4-7-8 breathing technique where you breath in for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, and breath out for 8 counts. Exhaling for longer than you inhale stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system and helps send a signal to your body that it is safe to rest, digest, and rejuvenate which is exactly what our bodies need when we are feeling overwhelmed. Our bodies need to feel safe enough to settle down, for our heart rates to slow, and for that overwhelm to dissipate. So, the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, give this tactic a try. I can guarantee you that by tuning into your breath, your feelings of overwhelm will subside. 

Feeling overwhelmed, is, for a lack of better word, overwhelming, and with all of the changes and excitement spring quarter is bound to bring each and every one of us, it is a feeling that many of us share. And, it is one that we shouldn’t be afraid to admit we are experiencing. So, the next time someone asks you how you are, you can share with them the exciting things on your horizons, but you can also feel confident sharing that you are also feeling overwhelmed, because more often than not, they are feeling overwhelmed too. And, in the meantime, try any or all of these three tips to help better support yourself in those moments of overwhelm and if you feel so inclined, share them with a friend, because even if you are feeling overwhelmed by different circumstances, everyone can benefit from implementing these tips into their lives. 

Experiencing overwhelm is a part of life, and it is totally normal and understandable to be feeling overwhelmed at this moment at the dawn of a new quarter and a new season. But, it doesn’t have to rule our lives, we can implement tips and tricks like these to help ourselves feel calmer, more grounded, and self-compassionate, and who doesn’t want to feel like that?

Kelen Tamurian

Washington '26

Hi! My name is Kelen Tamurian, I am a writer for the HerCampus team at the University of Washington, and I love writing and being creative more than anything in the world. My favorite thing about writing is the ability it provides to connect with others; I love how writing can bring people together, encourage difficult and probing conversations, generate smiles and laughter, and create a safe space for people to be vulnerable with themselves and with others. My hometown is Fox Island, Washington, aka the home of the most incredible sunsets on earth! My favorite food is sweet potatoes... I know, I know, it sounds weird, but hear me out, you can put literally anything on a sweet potato and it tastes good: avocado, peanut butter or almond butter, cheese, ketchup, chocolate, literally anything! My favorite activities are painting, making ceramic pottery, reading in the sunshine, going for walks along the water, listening to podcasts or music, and cooking or baking. My best friend is my little brother and family is everything to me!