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Five Ways to Boost Mental Health

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Written by Marisa Seager

Many lives across the globe have been strained by COVID-19. This is most evident in the lives of staff, faculty members and, of course, students. While there are some students that seem to be thriving through online learning, it is important to recognize that there are many who are having a completely different experience — this including the toll of the virus itself, isolation, increases and/or decreases in workloads and other associated effects.

It is too often that we separate the consideration of mental health from physical health, as they are deeply interrelated. Faculty members and students are going through all sorts of mental and emotional pressures that can result in deteriorated health. Common battles like anxiety and stress are very life altering and destructive, especially on young minds during this time. The act of supporting mental health needs of online students has become a critical mission for schools.

Below are various ways that we as students can boost mental health and wellness. These strategies can also be effective for coping with the 2020 elections.

  1. A lack of sleep can leave anyone feeling tired, unfocused and overwhelmed. However, getting enough sleep can result in benefits like reduced stress levels and a healthier body. Your body needs to be able to help YOU produce enough serotonin and dopamine to keep these issues at bay.
  2. Build a social support network. This can include friends, family, professors, resident advisors and anyone else you might feel comfortable talking with. Just staying in touch, even just simple conversation, can make you both feel supported.
  3. It is important to take time away from the demands of your life and focus on something that you actually enjoy. Sometimes a much-needed break is all you need.
  4. Disconnect from negativity. Make sure to be careful with how you choose to engage in negative responses to stress. We often participate in negative behaviors when stressed out, but limiting that exposure can actually help to decrease anxiety.
  5. Self-compassion. At the end of the day, it is important to recognize your value and worth. Whether big or small, accomplishments of any task serve as a reminder that you are doing a great job. Be proud and confident about your progress, one step at a time.

After all, we are going through this together. Although it is easier said than done, it is important to not lose sense of yourself or let it affect your studies, work, relationships and journey.