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The Antelope

Prioritize yourself: mental health at the start of a new semester

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torresg@lopers.unk.edu

As you are starting to create a daily routine within the first couple weeks of the new semester, there is one crucial aspect that may get pushed off. In between the lectures, assignments, projects and social gatherings, it is important to keep your mental health a top priority. 

I know how difficult it can be to set time aside to take care of yourself, especially as the semester goes on and the workload in classes becomes more difficult. Ignoring mental health can affect your academic performance, relationships and your everyday life. After having a few years of experience in navigating mental health, here are a few key points to consider when taking care of your mental health: 

  1. Be self-aware: It is important to understand your own mental health needs and being able to understand and recognize the signs of stress or anxiety. Your mental health is not going to be similar to your best friend’s mental health. 
  2.  Have a support system: Work on creating a meaningful relationship with family, friends, classmates and mentors. It is important to have people that you feel comfortable talking to.  Most of the time, these are the people that can offer you emotional support and encouragement. 
  3. Manage Stress: In college, it is almost impossible to go through your classes with at least a tiny bit of stress. Developing an effective stress management technique can help with any academic pressure you may be experiencing. Going on a walk when the weather is nice, practicing deep breathing exercises, journaling and meditating are just a few examples of what you can do when you feel the stress taking over. 
  4. Participate in activities that you enjoy: College is a time for new experiences and finding yourself. It is easy to dial into your classes and not make time for yourself. Make time to participate in activities that bring you joy. There are many clubs and organizations on campus that are always looking for more individuals to join. 
  5. Set boundaries: Learn to set boundaries in your social, personal and academic life. Setting boundaries is not selfish, you are simply prioritizing yourself. It is okay to say “no” to commitments or tasks to allow yourself time to yourself.
  6. Be kind to yourself: When times get tough, the person to blame seems to always be yourself. Be kind to yourself during the times of challenge. The words you say to yourself can do more harm than good. Treat yourself with the same compassion that you would treat someone else when they come to you asking for support. 

Remember, taking care of your mental health is important. Seeking support is the biggest step you can take in the mental health journey.  These tips are encouraged to follow when it comes to prioritizing your mental health. 

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Gisell Torres, Reporter
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