The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.
May is Mental Health Awareness month, something college students might be painfully aware of as finals approach.
Depression and anxiety are growing concerns for students trying to juggle the ever-multiplying responsibilities of university life: classes, jobs, extracurriculars and personal relationships.
We know how difficult it is to feel healthy and hopeful in times of stress (hello, “dead week”), especially when parents, professors or non-student colleagues are quick to dismiss our blight because most of us don’t have mortgages, children or “real” jobs.
But as students transitioning at full speed to adulthood, we’ve got every part of the brain firing at once.
Whether or not you struggle with clinical mental health issues, everyone is bound to feel the burden of school at some point.
Dealing with mental health issues is no cakewalk and the problems won’t be resolved overnight – but we’re sharing with you some tips on how to remedy your stress right now.
GET PLENTY OF SLEEP
It’s best to get at least eight hours, according to the Mayo Clinic. We all know this, but it’s a difficult rule to follow when jobs, classes, social functions and homework just don’t allow for much rest. Try setting a rigid bedtime for yourself and see if you accomplish more during the day. If you know you have to be in bed at a very specific time, you may forego time-sucking minutes scrolling through Yik Yak or playing “Purple Rain” on repeat for two hours. The time just slips away. So, schedule your day carefully and nix the “all-nighter” study plan.
No, you don’t have to pull your hamstrings running a marathon or pick up the biggest set of weights in the gym. If that’s your thing, go for it. But if you struggle with finding joy in fitness, do some exploring. Sites like YouTube and even Instagram are great resources for fun fitness gurus. Try a new craze, like Buti Yoga or water Zumba. Or, give your fingers a workout by handwriting all of your notes.
TREAT. YO. SELF.
Does this mean you should inhale a stack of cookies from Winslow Dining Hall every day? Probably not. But celebrating small joys is crucial to understanding your own success. Maybe treating yourself to a Netflix binge has to be preceded by acing a test, or maybe it’s just completing an assignment. The little victories add up, so don’t neglect them.
ORGANIZE YOUR LIFE
Make to-do lists, map out assignments or chart pros and cons for tough decisions. Making lists can actually calm anxiety and boost activity, according to a 2014 Psychology Today report. If academic organization isn’t your issue, then go on a cleaning spree in your dorm or apartment. Nothing beats a freshly made bed or a spotless desk.
Instead of trying to complete multiple assignments throughout the day, just choose one to get completely done. It may seem counterproductive, but if you’re spreading yourself too thin, you might not get any tasks completed and feel less encouraged to keep working.
USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM
Spend time with any significant other – a friend, a partner, a parent, a colleague. In depressive moods, it’s easy to retreat into solitude, which can make or break your mood. Alone time can be good for getting work done or recharging, but a hug or word of assurance from someone you love is often worth more than finishing a homework assignment.
Know that the time will pass. The semester is just a series of weeks that will eventually end. You won’t remember the 89.75 you got instead of a 90 on that biology exam, or the weird phrasing your English professor used to ask that pesky essay question. What you will remember is that you triumphed through another race and looked pretty fly doing it.
Stay healthy and good luck. The finish line is in sight.