Improving Mental Health
Maintaining your mental health can help you develop a more positive outlook on life and build your self-confidence. It is easier said than done but there are a lot of resources out there to help you. Find a few tips here on how to take care of your mental health.
Tip 1: Counseling
See a professional mental health counselor
Seeking help from a professional is considered the most direct way to handle mental health concerns. But start therapy when you feel comfortable enough to do so and are ready to commit to the process. Talking about what’s going on in your life with a professional that can provide sage advice and define your feelings is an eye-opening experience. And often, just the action of sharing what’s on your mind is in itself therapeutic. In addition to in-person counseling many schools have adopted virtual mental care services. That way you can talk to someone from wherever you are and can choose from a number of different therapists. If your campus does not offer counseling, ask about local mental health centers. Reaching out for help in this way can be intimidating but once you do, it can feel like a weight has been lifted.
Find a Hobby
When it is feelings of stress and anxiety that are affecting your mental health it can be very beneficial to have a comforting hobby you can turn to. Perhaps an activity that you have not had time to pursue since childhood. Art is a commonly used therapy medium that allows people to divert heavy and complex emotions into visual creations. Painting, sculpting, and various other art forms can be relaxing in its need for concentration. Gardening, or plant parenting as it is colloquially referred to, has also become popular in recent years. Studies show that tending to your houseplants or growing fruits and veggies in your yard can act as a much-needed mental reset.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, it can be difficult to focus on your responsibilities as a student and do well in school. But for many students, those student responsibilities are the very cause of their stress. The inability to cope with unfavorable grades and the burden of managing tuition payments are tiresome feelings to carry. Before you feel too overwhelmed, build a framework of where to go for help and try to tackle one problem at a time. If you’re worried about tuition payments, visit the bursar’s office to discuss a payment plan. Mark important financial and academic deadlines on your calendar. If a low grade has thrown a wrench in your academic success, look into getting a peer tutor. Meet with them every other day if you have to until you know the material like the back of your hand! It can be a lot to handle but with an organized plan you can settle back into a calmer state of mind.
Sometimes it can be difficult to talk to and receive advice from someone who cannot relate to the problems you have. Try to find a community of people that have experienced what you’re going through. Even if it is an online discussion group, talking about your issues with people that have walked in your shoes can alleviate your stress and help you feel less alienated. There are groups for people who have been personally affected by Covid, suffer from severe anxiety, or have experienced some kind of traumatic event. Finding people who not only support you but also understand you can truly be a gift.
Light exercise is a great energy booster that can lift your mood and help you feel refreshed. It can seem like working out is a common hollow suggestion for every bodily ailment but studies show that introducing a little cardio to your daily routine really does improve mental health. The key is to find a fitness regimen that is centered around relaxation, not weight loss. And choose the level of athleticism that is right for you. There’s nothing wrong with starting with the hero’s pose and the smaller three-pound weights. It’s not instant but you should start to feel a bit better! It can be pleasantly surprised to see the positive effects yoga, a little Zumba, or a brisk walk around the neighborhood can have on your mental state.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to finding a mental health resource, reach out to your school’s health or counseling center. They can connect you to campus programs or local mental health services. There might be a seminar on stress relief you can casually attend or you can ask about counseling FAQs if you’re considering starting therapy. Your school might even have the most adorable stress reliever of them all, pet therapy! And if you don’t even know how to get in contact with someone at school who can help, try texting your friendly neighborhood mascot chatbot! I’m sure they’ll be able to help you out.