As the school year begins and classes get busier, it becomes important to find ways to take care of your mental and physical health. One week ago, the UVU Review released a podcast special on mental health through their podcast, “Wellness for Wolverines.” The special, conducted by the Health and Wellness podcast host Jefferson Albright, outlines six different ways students can take care of their mental needs.
1. Saying no and setting boundaries
It is very important to understand our own limits. According to Albright, “Sometimes we think, ‘I have to always say yes because I don’t want to be mean,’ but learning to say no is mutually polite.” Learning to say no is important because it keeps us from accidentally overwhelming ourselves. According to Tailwind Counseling, “Saying no to things that aren’t priorities lets you say yes to things that truly are important to you.” When you need recovery time or time to do something that is important to you, saying no may be the best option.
2. Figure out your own needs
Everybody is a little different. While we all need the basics like food and water, what we need to be strong mentally may differ from one another. Joshua Sperry, the guest host of the podcast said, “A lot of times, we don’t even understand ourselves. We don’t even know our own needs.” Taking time to meditate and reflect on what we really need for our health and wellbeing can be invaluable for knowing how to take care of ourselves.”
“When it comes to journal[ing], it’s like we are building a relationship with somebody, only that ‘somebody’ is ourselves,” says Albright. Journaling is a great way to record our thoughts and feelings, and it provides emotional relief by being able to tell someone (or something) about our problems and triumphs. WebMD shares a list of things that journaling helps with, including anxiety, brooding and self-awareness, emotional regulation, opening up, and even physical healing. With a list of benefits that long, journaling may be a great place to start our mental health journey.
4. Give yourself time
For college students, finding time between work, school, friends, and family can be exhausting. So, when you budget your time, be sure to stick to your schedule as much as possible. Albright explained, “We always think it is selfish to take time to ourselves, but in reality, if we want to help people, we also have to be healthy.” By sticking to our schedules and maximizing our time, we can be in a place to do this.
5. Prioritizing tasks
It is impossible to do everything all at once, and that’s okay. “If you can be organized enough to stay on top of all the things you need to do … then you gradually start to get ahead and … you get to give yourself a break at the end of the day.” Sperry’s advice is valuable: focus on getting prioritized tasks done first, and then give yourself a break. Be organized, do what is most important and allow time for your mental health.
6. Finish things that are stressing you out
An important part of prioritizing is completing what is most stressful to us. Common sense dictates that as you finish stressful tasks, you will feel better than you did before. “Just get the things done that are stressing you out,” says Sperry. “Then take some time for yourself and be okay with that.”
Maintaining a healthy mind is a difficult balancing act. There are many different ways to approach it, and it can be intimidating. However, the suggestions given in the UVU Health and Wellness podcast can assist you in finding that balance. In the conclusion of the podcast, Albright stated, “Each stage of life is its own battlefield. These [skills] are the skills I have for this phase in my life. But when you move on, you are going to have to rework your habits and refigure your balance. And you have to be okay with that.”
For more mental health suggestions, tune in to the “Wellness for Wolverines” podcast on Spotify or anywhere else you listen to podcasts.