Whether it’s your first fall semester or your last, things (generally) start out pretty good, and even exciting, but get difficult real fast. Now’s the time, at the beginning of things, to take your mental health into consideration and prioritize self care before things really get going…and here are are some ways that can help you do just that.
Treat yo self
One of the ways I like to prioritize my self care is by pre-rewarding myself with a little treat when I need to get something done. Whether it’s by going to study at a coffee shop, getting a frappe or even just a midnight Pepsi from the vending machine, having little breaks and rewards…giving yourself something to look forward to, can really help your productivity and your mental health.
Say you really want a certain pair of jeans or a new album or that you really want to go see a certain movie that’s coming out…use that as a reward for when you finish a particularly difficult week or after you’ve turned in a big assignment. This way you get the important things done first, but you know there’s a silver lining just around the corner.
Utilize Your Campus Mental Health Services
Another good way to prioritize self-care is to get familiar with your campus mental health resources sooner rather than later. Many schools will let you have a limited number of free therapy sessions before recommending you out elsewhere, and it doesn’t hurt to check in when you need it. You already pay a certain fee for your campus health services anyway, why not use them?
Spend Quality Time With Furry Friends
Pets can do so much for our emotional wellness as people. If you’re not one of the lucky ones who have their pet with them in college, keep your eye out for your campus to have therapy dogs and maybe even alpacas (thanks, Berkeley) once midterms and finals roll around. But you don’t have to wait for that: volunteer with a local animal shelter or visit a local cat cafe to get some good hands-on-fuzz action. Caring for them is an excellent form of self care, too.
Have A Support System
When life gets hard, you need someone you can count on to check in. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms-whether healthy or unhealthy and it’s a good idea to have someone in your life who can hold you accountable for your own. It’s easy to isolate when you’re feeling overwhelmed, or to get in a cycle of procrastinating or maybe even partying too hard and too often. Everyone has something, so make sure you find someone who can help you through, and maybe you can help them, too. Just because it’s called “self care” doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.
Take Breaks (And Give Yourself a Break, too)
You don’t have to be working 24/7 in order to pass all your classes, nor do you need to sign up for each and every club and society your campus has to offer in order to get a job after graduation. Sometimes what you need is a break. Self care can look like: taking a walk, going to the gym, visiting a museum, taking a trip to the movies, drawing, journaling, swimming, really just doing anything where you are allowing your brain not to stress over that exam or class project you have coming up. Taking well-timed breaks are as important to your mental health as ensuring you get your work done.
And if you do fail a test or, yes, even a class, that does not mean that your life is over. It does suck, I know, but it’s only through these little bumps in the road that we have a chance to grow.
Yes, do study, do go to office hours and do your best to do well but know that killing yourself to get A’s isn’t worth the cost of your mental health.
What are some of the ways you’ve prioritized your mental health? Do you have a favorite form of self-care? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/ScWvHUtQca4
Lauren West graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in English and Digitial Journalism in December 2018. She is a Southern California native, an INFP with anxiety, and at any moment trying her best.