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Mental health doesn’t have to be the Achilles’ heel of student life

Illustration of a sad woman hugging a cat sitting by a window
Image Credit: Lance Dagenais

Mental health is a never-ending battle that many of us struggle with at some or many points of life. As students, we become familiar with our nemeses, aka stress and anxiety, the double trouble combo. However, we can have solace in the fact that as we find our steps in school and learn to balance it with other aspects of life, mental health becomes easier to manage.

We each have a unique system of support and self-care that gets us through those arduous weeks of non-stop workloads. You just have to find the right blend for you, and trial and error is the only sure way. Fortunately, there have been many students before us; their wisdom has been passed down to help us get started on our way to managing mental health.

Self-care: Masks, facials, and mani-pedis galore

Invest in masks and look up DIY facials, because nothing says “relaxing” more than a good face-tingling face treatment. Take a break and allow yourself to enjoy some self-care. Watch some Netflix as you leave the mask or facial on, and maybe spruce up your nails if you feel like a fresh new coat of nail polish might make you feel better. Having little self-care moments in your week can be monumental to your overall mental health.

Taking care of your body

With school comes stress-eating or loss of appetite, and sometimes a mix of both. Remembering to take care of your body can be hard, but it is imperative to your health. Indulging in some junk food from time to time is OK, but it should not be your choice of food on a daily basis. Try to eat balanced meals that are full of nutrition, hydrate yourself, and get some exercise when you can.

Setting goals

Getting organized is the best way to make you feel like you are on track and that you have something to work towards. Consider using apps like Notion or purchasing a planner that can help you stay on track during the semester. Make small goals like how much you want to spend studying each day, how many self-care sessions you want to schedule in that week, and maybe when you want to get out and do an activity. Whatever your goals are, big or small, make them so that you feel that much better when you achieve them.

Parks, rivers, and beaches — London has them all

Nature is not lacking in this beautiful city of ours and taking the time to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us will do nothing but improve our moods and perspectives as we go through the school year. Take the time to surround yourself with the sights around you so you don’t forget that school will not be your whole life forever.

Talking with someone you trust

Surround yourself with people you care about and who care about you just as much. Share your worries and concerns to a friend, significant other, or family member to take off the burdens of your day. Bottling up your feelings will do you no good and can worsen your mental health significantly. Having even that one good friend who will listen to you and give good advice can be the difference between a day plagued with worries, and one filled with relaxed thoughts. If you need to talk with a professional about more sensitive issues, please seek the mental healthcare services available at your institution.

Channel your inner artist

We all express ourselves in different ways and tapping into it every once in a while to relax can do great things for your mental health. Whether it’s listening to the music you love, drawing or painting, or maybe even writing something down, if literature is your artistic pleasure. Whatever it may be, putting your focus on expression over constant studying could be a good break and a plus to your health.

Meditation: Let your brain have a break

Other than sleep, there is no other pastime than meditation that lets your brain completely relax. Meditation exercises your state of mind and enhances your feelings of calmness. Try to ease your mind from its constant worries and in doing so strengthen its capabilities.

Remember that just as it is important to strive for a good and satisfying academic life, it is just as essential to maintain a healthy one. Don’t feel guilty that you set schoolwork aside for a bit each day to take care of yourself. In fact, the more time you give to yourself, the more your chance of burnout decreases. So, take time in your day to care for yourself because your mental health is just as important as your time in school, if not more so.