As we get ready to get back into the school grind after the holidays, don't forget to take a deep breath. Sure, you may be taking way more courses than you think you can handle, or you may be worried about that one core requirement that you've been putting off since your first year, but don't worry, you've got this!
It's easy to forget how capable we are when we start to stress. Every campus does some sort of mental health awareness week, prevention month, or advocacy campaign during the year. But that doesn't mean we can't celebrate mental health awareness all year long -- especially getting back into the flow of spring term.
"It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us, in joy we face the storm and master it."
- Amelia Barr
So what exactly is wellness?
Wellness: The state or condition of being in good physical and mental health.
Celebrating Mental Health Awareness means taking a proactive approach to wellness.
It means taking care of the most important person in the world:
Because when you take good care of you, you celebrate your aliveness, and the unique gifts that you have to give to the world. You're better able to form and maintain relationships, help others, and conquer the term ahead with a well-rested, open mind.
How will you take care of YOU this term?
Self-care comes in small steps. Here are a few ideas:
1.) Start an art journal. You'll be doing plenty of writing in class. Have an excuse to doodle and let your mind wander.
2.) Relax. Buy some lavender and tuck it under your pillow at night. You'll be amazed how relaxed you'll feel.
3.) Get outside. Remember that inspiration comes much more easily from the universe than from a search engine. Some fresh air is good for you. It'll give you perspective on what really matters.
4.) Find a book that interests you, completely unrelated to your courses. It might lead to an epiphany that you least expect. Get yourself in the habit of learning for fun.
5.) Find a role model. Is there someone you admire for taking especially good care of themselves? Notice their habits and remember, imitation is the highest form of flattery.
6.) Cook a nourishing meal. Take a break from the cafeteria grub and make something by hand. Even if it's just cutting up an apple yourself. Get into the practice of being mindful of what you put into your body.
7.) Practice positive thinking. Fake it 'till you make it. Seeing the glass half-full can be contagious.
8.) Do some yoga and get active. Discover one physical activity where the only focus is aligning your breath with your movement. Yoga is a wonderful resource for accessing the wisdom of your body.
9.) Create a morning ritual. Whether it's a cup of tea or a morning walk, find one simple thing you can do every morning that centers you for the day.
10.) Reach out to a friend. This includes a friend you've yet to meet. Try to find one new person to say hello to every day - in person. Save the e-mails for after you've made an authentic connection. It'll make your heart happy.
And most importantly...
Know the facts and learn about what wonderful resources there are out there, chock full of tips, ways to get help, things you should know, and how to get the help you need.
Learn more through some wonderful organizations, just to name a few:
Remember, stress is just energy. So don't let that energy run your life. Instead, use it to pump yourself out for an epic finish to the year.
What discoveries will you make this term?
Now let's just focus on keeping our minds, bodies and souls in tip-top shape so we're truly prepared to make those epic discoveries.
Whether it's finding healthy food in the cafeteria ...
Getting out in nature ...
Connecting with an old friend from a class last term ...
Or finding the little friends all around us ... (even a staff member who was particularly helpful to you in the past.)
Make sure you tell yourself how loved you are...
...And how far you've come. You're in college -- nice!
How are you taking care of YOU this term?
All artwork was created by Amy to take care of her own mental health. Learn about her mental health advocacy programs, her art giveaways for students, and find out how to take part in the #LoveMyDetour movement, striving to create compassion through stories.