Above all else during this difficult semester, it has seemed virtually impossible to maintain a healthy level of mental well-being. We live in one of the most stressful times in recent memory; a pandemic continues to hang over our heads, we are in the midst of one of the most contentious political climates the United States has ever seen and we, as students, are facing down another 6 weeks without a break following our extended midterms period. With this in mind, it seems nearly impossible to find any concrete way to prioritize our mental health.
Often, it seems as though when life gets busy, mental health, and personal health in general, gets pushed to the bottom of our priority list. When things start getting difficult, we all have a tendency to simply tell ourselves that we can just take a break next week. Next week comes and goes, and we still don’t give ourselves a break.
This cycle, at least for us, has been continuing for weeks on end as we continually neglect to give ourselves even an hour or two to just do nothing at all or spending time during the day to do a hobby. It seems that if we want to do these things, we have to do them at night, after all my work is done and lose yet another hour of sleep.
While we are certianly all guilty of staying up an hour or two longer than we should to watch a game or watch some TikToks, we need to take into consideration a piece of advice we heard recently.
We should all treat ourselves like people we are responsible for caring for. Most of us take better care of our friends, pets and even plants than we do of ourselves. We cannot allow this to continue if we are to make our mental health a priority moving foward.
To be sure, the lack of breaks this semester combined with the apparent lack of empathy for our situation from many professors is creating an environment that certainly is not conducive to good mental health. However, that does not mean that our mental health is completely our of our hands.
There is always something you can do, even in a small amount of time, that will help you to feel better. Try to think of something you’ve been overlooking because it seems far too simple. That could be going to the gym, cleaning up around your apartment or taking the time to check in with a best friend from back home. All of these things are things we often choose not to do on a daily basis, but simply taking the time to do them is a step in the right direction towards better mental health. If you’re able to do these things a few times, you’ll be shocked at how easy it is to make them into a habit and how much they help to improve your mental well being. Combine them with giving yourself even a little time during the day to catch up on sleep, spend time on a hobby or chat with friends about anything but school, and you might just find the boost you need to get that last assignment done for the week.
This semester is uniquely difficult and the times we live in present us with a multitude of challenges, but together we can make sure that mental health remains a priority. Take some time for yourself this week, because you are worth taking care of.