The Mind Matters: How to Take Care of Your Emotional Wellbeing During Post-Secondary.
We have all heard about the potential side-effects post-secondary may have on our physical health. Discussions about maintaining healthy eating habits along with regular physical exercise are something we have been taught since elementary school. Warnings such as the infamous freshman fifteen have reminded us about the consequences that arise when we neglect our physical health. However, what is often not discussed is the toll post-secondary may have on your emotional health, and why it is every bit as necessary to keep your brain in as good of health as your body. Let’s open up the conversation about mental wellbeing in post-secondary, and talk about some different ways you can maintain and improve the state of your mental health during this academic journey.
Take time for yourself…Seriously!
Trust me, I get it! When you have papers, final exams and projects piling up, there doesn’t appear to be much time to concern yourself with your mental well-being. While a strong focus on academics is very important in post-secondary, it’s important to remember you can’t perform at your best if your mental state isn’t at its best. Think of it like driving a car. Getting to your destination may be the most important item on your list, but without proper maintenance your car won’t function properly and you won’t be getting very far! The same is true with your mental health. Taking a twenty-minute study break to simply listen to music, read, or go for a walk allows your mind to unwind, and will be more beneficial than trying push your brain past its limits! Find a calming activity you enjoy and make time for it daily, even during midterm season!
Have something on your mind? Talk about it.
Talking about your emotions isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s taking charge of your emotional wellbeing. Bottling up your thoughts and emotions takes a severe toll on your mental state, and results in more stress that no one needs to be burdened with. If something is bothering you, or if you just simply need to talk don’t hesitate to speak to someone you trust. After all, that’s what friends are for!
Get some rest.
We have all had those late-night study sessions where we’ve stayed up until 2 a.m. trying to finish a paper. While there may be no escaping a couple of late nights here and there, it’s important to get more sleep than you miss. Your brain needs an adequate amount of sleep each night to recharge, and function properly the next day. Young adults between the ages of 18-25 require seven to nine hours of sleep. A lack of sleep may result in a lack of alertness, an impaired memory, irritability and a lesser quality of life the following day.
Only take on what you can handle.
Taking on too much at a time can result in excessive stress, causing a strain on your mental wellbeing. Try delegating tasks by their level of importance, or break assignments up into smaller, more manageable chunks in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Ask for help.
Sometimes, the weight of the world can be too heavy for one person to carry, even for a superhero like you. If you are struggling with your mental health, reaching out to a trusted friend or family member is an excellent way to begin the conversation about your emotional wellbeing. You may also seek out your post-secondary institutions counseling services for free, professional help in regards to your mental well-being. You can find more information on your institutions available counselling services on your institutional website, or ask a representative at your help services office.
Remember…you aren’t alone!
Many other post-secondary students are going through a very similar journey as you are. This means you have an exceptionally large group of people who can not only relate to your struggles, but who also understand the importance of supporting one another. Try considering joining a support group or club at your post-secondary institution, where you may lean on and support other students just like you.
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