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What are tips to having good mental health?

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Michelle’s Answer

Every day, make sure you do something for yourself and your health - whether it's your physical health, mental health, or emotional health. Some examples may be taking a walk, taking an exercise class, writing in a journal, reading for pleasure, connecting with a friend, cooking a healthy meal, doing a creative activity. "Self-care" doesn't always mean indulging yourself, though. It means prioritizing your needs so that you don't become overwhelmed with what you need to do. Set a doctor's appointment, make a schedule for completing your schoolwork, and get enough hours of sleep. If you're ever struggling and feel like you can't manage on your own, many colleges have counseling services to help you. Many people go to therapy at different times in their lives for different reasons, so don't feel ashamed. You don't even have to be struggling to benefit from talking to a counselor!

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Kim’s Answer

Good question!

1. eat right
2. get enough sleep
3. exercise
4. have something for stress release -exercise, meditation, video games, journaling, etc
5. volunteer (if you have time). Losing yourself in someone else's troubles puts yours in perspective
6. take advantage of counseling programs offered by the school
7. don't expect someone your age to be able to help you with your problems - believe it or not, life experience alone is not enough. With age, comes wisdom. ( I can't stress this enough!)
8. Don't take on more than you can handle. Start small and work your way up - course load, job, hobbies, etc.
9. Don't run from your problems. Meet them head-on. If you are falling behind in your classes, devise a plan to catch up. If your finances are strangling you, find a workable solution. Running only makes it worse, later on.
10. Have that one person you can call, any time of day or night.
11. Don't be ashamed or embarrassed. It's okay to go back home if you have to. It doesn't mean you are a failure. This is perhaps the most important of all. I have had two family members who didn't go back home when they should have. One ended up in financial ruin. The other took his own life. There is always a way through your problems. It's just impossible to see it sometimes when you are in the middle of it. Ask for help!
12. Keep this phone number - it is the Nat'l Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255

That's it for now! The fact that you are asking this question means you are already one step ahead, because you are aware of mental health! Good luck!


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Dominic’s Answer

Hi there Whitney!

For me it's all about budgeting time effectively and creating a reward system for yourself.

I also find volunteering to be very fulfilling, and the value of talk therapy can't be underestimated when you're struggling.

Best wishes!

Dominic recommends the following next steps:

love yourself!

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Grace’s Answer

I've found that it's important to schedule some time in my week just for myself.

There are 168 hours in 1 week; calculate your priorities from there. For example, it is recommended that young adults get 7-9 hours a night for sleep, so subtract that number from 168 (and so on).

Personally, micro-management of time has worked greatly for me since high school. However, learning to balance 'work' (or productive hours) and 'play' (or relaxation) is something I continue to learn more about each day.

Nowadays, I like to have at least 1 hour of self-care each day - whether that is watching a TV show, journaling, meditating, or doing something I truly enjoy.

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Whitney’s Answer

Personally I scheduled off a few hours to do a self care night like skin care or getting lost in a book. I love the motto "work hard, play hard" because I would sit down and finish my homework or studying and then I would step back from all my college work to go out and have some fun or relax for the night.

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Yasemin’s Answer

Such a good and important question Aaliyah! First of all, I would like to say that mental health is just as important as physical health, and both actually have a strong relationship. If you take care of your physical health such as eating healthy foods, i.e., fruits/vegetables, drinking water, exercising, getting enough sleep, then your mental health will also be healthy as well. However, there are also other ways to relax your mind besides physical factors.

One way is meditating, there are many great meditating videos and tutorials on how to meditate. There is also great meditating music to accompany the meditations. Meditating gives you a way to escape the reality of stress and find peace within yourself.

Another method is journaling; at times we need to express ourselves to deal with our emotions and journaling is a great way to get our thoughts on paper. It allows us to not let our emotions and thoughts build up and find a way to safely communicate our stress. You can also just write five things daily you are grateful for or feel good about!

Yoga is not only for exercising and staying in shape but allows us to build mental stamina and relax as well. I personally love Yoga with Adrienne because she has a calming presence and helps practice self-awareness.

It is also important to balance life in order to avoid mental distress as well, therefore having a planner and managing time with that is important. Sometimes work, classes and other commitments can lead to an overload but if you can use a schedule or a planner to spread out your work and handle each task one at a time it will help in preventing unnecessary stress. Also never take on too much at one time, so be sure to balance your classes as well. Usually 4-5 classes is ideal for a semester but it can vary based on other responsibilities and the difficulty level of classes. I've had peers take three classes once because they were all advanced science electives that totaled to 12 credits.

In college there are also wellness centers to help students cope with anxiety and stress, you can even talk with a counselor! Usually an inbox is sent to your college email address but you can also ask your adviser. I believe there could still be virtual counseling available at the universities because of the pandemic, so keep an eye out! In addition it is important to remind yourself you are doing the best you can. Sometimes we can refer ourselves to others and feel as if the work we are completing is not enough which can lead to a decline in mental health, but remember that you should be comparing yourself only to you and that each person's situation is different. Just because you may not be seeing results right away doesn't mean that you aren't going to get there. Also remember we all like to posts our success stories online but there are times when every individual has faced some obstacle, or had stress in their lives! Keep reminding yourself of all the great things you are doing and be proud of them!

Best of luck to all!

Yasemin recommends the following next steps:

Check out Meditating for Learning with Adrienne https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YDd8Wgjj28
Check out Relaxing Sleep Music: Meditation Music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZYbU82GVz4

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Jacob’s Answer

Hi, Aaliya,

That is a terrific question. I think you have some good answers already, but I'll add a few thoughts of my own.

I think identifying what is important to you and setting time aside each day for yourself are really important to sustaining mental health. The best way to protect that time is to get into a good routine each day (i.e. get enough sleep, go to bed/wake up at similar times). Positive mental health habits are really up to the individual. Personally, I take time each day to meditate, exercise, journal, and read. I build my routine each day to prioritize those activities. Those may not mesh with what's most important to you or what supports your mind best. If you're not sure where to start, I'd say do some experimenting to identify what does sustain your mental/emotional health and figure out how to incorporate that into your day-to-day routine.

I know that's pretty simple advice but I hope it's helpful!