April is National Stress Awareness Month, and almost all of us can say we experience stress regularly. Whether you just get feel it occasionally or feel like you are on edge 24/7, it is important to listen to your body and mind and take care of yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
One day I was talking to someone, telling them how stressed and anxious I felt, and she simply asked me what I do for fun. She asked me when the last time I did something simply because I enjoyed it was, and I had to rack my brain to come up with an answer. Besides watching Netflix whenever I got a free hour (or to procrastinate), I realized I had not been doing many things just for fun.
Taking time to do things that make you happy regularly can significantly improve your mental health and reduce stress. Even in stressful times of the year, when you have tests to study for and papers to write, it is still extremely important to take time to take care of yourself. Now, this does not mean ignore your assignments and responsibilities completely, but also don’t let them take over your life leading to breakdowns.
Do what makes you happy. Go for a run, paint, take a dance class, or go for a hike. Call your best friend from home, treat yourself to a manicure, or paint your own nails. Go on a road trip or an adventure. Make a Pinterest craft, go to a baseball game, bake some cookies, or play the piano.
DO SOMETHING BECAUSE YOU WANT TO, NOT BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO!
Your college years shouldn’t be spent in a constant state of stress. Be aware not just of your physical health but also of your mental health. Check-in every week and make sure that you are in a good place. Do things for yourself. Make time to be with your friends. Don’t let your coursework stop you from being happy. Oscar Wilde once said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
Don’t just exist. Do things that make your heart happy. Live.