Mental health is important. I am sure we have all been told to “treat yoself” on a bad day, or maybe to take out our frustrations with an exhausting run or by writing a letter that you’ll never send. While these are nice ways to unwind, they are usually not permanent fixes.
Self-care should be something that you do to help strengthen your mental health. Mental health is oftentimes brushed away in the pursuit of more “important” things. Yes, it is important to do your school, whatever job you are working, and to be a good person, but it is important to take care of your mind, too.
College is a stressful time. There is mounding heaps of homework, there are stress-inducing exams, and there are so many different activities that can take up all of your energy. In the midst of all of this, it is also important to take time to put your mental well being at the forefront.
It is OK to take a break sometimes.
I know that I get stuck in the mindset of “shoulds.” Like, “I should be doing homework instead of taking time to make a meal,” and “I should go work out right now instead of reading this book,” or “What am I thinking?! How can I go to bed before midnight when I should be studying?”
What I’ve learned is that instead of worrying ourselves with the “shoulds” we “should” (haha) get into the habit of thinking “I will.”
For example, instead of “I should be doing my homework right now,” we can change it into “I will do my homework later, right now I am taking time to make a meal I want to eat, because my mind needs to take a break from school and my body needs this to stay functioning.”
We as humans are oftentimes focused more on the tangible tasks that we need to complete rather than the intangibles that are just as important, like giving your body and mind time to relax.
One way to relax is to think of different self-care methods that you can use. Self- care is more than taking a long hot bath using a bath bomb one night while surrounded by candles. While that might be a method that you use to treat yourself, self-care is so much more than what people think of it. Self-care can be reaching out to someone to talk about what is going on in your life.
Here at Madison College, there is personal counseling that is available. It does not matter if you think your problems are not important enough, or if you are afraid of the stigma around counseling. They are there to listen, no matter what your issues are, reaching out to someone is in no way shameful. It is awesome that you are taking that step to treating yourself, in a more life-changing way.
So whether you decide to pursue counseling, meditation, or find a routine that helps you focus on giving your mind a break, taking a step to better your mental well being is something that you will thank yourself for. Your brain is a vital piece of equipment in you, do not mistreat it.