With all that’s happened recently, there’s definitely a lot of stress in the air. Dealing with a pandemic, a full course load, extracurriculars, and part-time jobs can weigh heavily on a person’s mental health. Don’t know how to combat that stress? Here are some ideas:
Try putting yourself in a new environment
I know a lot of people are staying in their rooms 24/7. Some people are going from class to work and back home and then repeating it all over again. You should try switching up your environment. Sit outside for at least 30 minutes a day. Maybe try doing your schoolwork in a cafe or the library, instead of your room.
Meditate the best way you know how
Meditating isn’t for everyone, or at least the idea that everyone has of meditating isn’t for everyone. You don’t have to sit in silence and say “Ohm” repeatedly to meditate. Meditating is an opportunity for you to clear your mind of all your stressors and to shift your focus to something that makes you happy or brings you peace. You can meditate by listening to your favorite playlist or by dancing around in your room. Do whatever you can to free your mind.
Exercising isn’t for everyone and I know that everyone doesn’t always have the time to have a rigorous workout routine. Going for a walk is exercise. Dancing is exercise. Yoga in the morning is exercise. It doesn’t have to be in a gym and it doesn’t have to suck. All you have to do is move your body. Take that time to soak up some endorphins and really sort through your thoughts instead of thinking about all of them at the same time.
Change your source of caffeine
I know a lot of people drink coffee to get through the day, just because you need that bit of caffeine for energy. There are other sources of caffeine that can give you energy, all while keeping you calm and relieving stress. Green tea is the most popular option. It is known to help with relaxation even though it does have caffeine in it. Plus, it has less caffeine than coffee does, so you won’t necessarily crash at the end of the day. In times of high stress, I switch from coffee to flavored green tea, and it makes me feel so much better.
Try some self-care methods
Self-care is more than just doing face masks and taking baths. Those are great methods and they are very relaxing, so don’t look past them, but if you’re depressed, anxious or stressed, making your bed can feel like a chore. Brushing your teeth can become an afterthought. Even taking a quick shower can be hard in that state. Try to do those things every day and pat yourself on the back when you do. Once you get in the habit of doing those things, you can upgrade to painting, or journaling, or cooking for yourself. Start small and work your way up.
Make sure you’re getting enough rest
We all know that sleep isn’t due at 11:59 pm and it’s really easy to put school work before your mental health, but we should really try not to make it a habit. Getting sleep is very important. It actually helps a lot, too. It improves your focus and increases academic performance. Seldom do we as college students get a full 8 hours of sleep, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
Take an off-day
I know how hard this can be for people to do. It’s probably the hardest to do out of everything on this list. Everyone can’t just drop everything for a day, but if it is possible, I would definitely recommend it. Your mental health is more important than a late assignment or a shift at work. If you need to, you could try reaching out to your professor or your boss to let them know that you are dealing with a lot mentally and that you just need a short break. Chances are that they will understand because we’re all going through things right now.
I know that times are tough right now and there’s a lot of weight on our shoulders, but don’t feel pressured to be perfect. You’re a human being and you have needs. You are important, so treat yourself like it. There is nothing wrong with putting yourself first from time to time. It’s actually necessary to do so. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t be disappointed in yourself for not being motivated. You can get through this, and if nobody else tells you, I am proud of you.