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Notes from Nadia: How to prioritize your mental health

As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, I’m always trying to find ways to prioritize my mental health. Being a student, this can seem quite difficult. After all, even if I feel depressed, I still have a final paper to finish. Even if I am anxious, I still have to wait for lectures.

So how can we prioritize our mental health as students? I’ve put together a list of things you can do when your mental health may not be at its best.

  1. Do some physical exercise. Exercise has been proven to relieve stress and anxiety. It’s also a good distraction and can get your brain working. Take a break from your duties and go for a walk. When you come back to it, you might feel more focused. If you don’t have much time, don’t worry. Even just 10 minutes of any exercise can relieve anxiety.
  2. Take a break from homework and do something you enjoy, whether it’s drawing, reading, or even just watching TV. Pushing through a task while miserable will only worsen your mental state.
  3. Take care of yourself. Put on a face mask, take a warm bath, eat some chocolate and pamper yourself. Maybe buy yourself something because you deserve it. I find it rewarding when I get through a tough day and it really helps me feel better!
  4. Don’t force yourself. If you don’t feel mentally ready to go to that party, don’t go. If you think you can’t finish a task you’re working on, stop working on it and finish it later.
  5. Sleep a lot. It’s hard to get a lot of sleep as a student, so my suggestion is to go to bed early and wake up early to do your homework. In this way, you get enough sleep and at the same time you can complete your tasks. Loss of sleep can lead to many health problems, such as depression.
  6. Take a break from social media. Sometimes social media makes our mental state worse because people only post the good parts of their lives and it makes us compare our lives to theirs. I like to stay off my phone completely when I’m depressed. I usually take a nap instead.
  7. Talk to someone you trust. This can be a friend, family member or trusted adult. Just anyone. Talking to someone about your worries may help you feel better. I take all my worries to my family members and I personally feel much better after I tell them everything that makes me stressed or upset.

I hope that at least some of these methods will help you prioritize your mental health because it’s all much easier said than done. I’ve tried all of these methods and they’ve worked for me, but keep in mind that we’re all different people, so there’s no guarantee that each of these methods will work for you.

The most important thing you can do is listen to yourself, acknowledge when you’re going through a mental health slump, and take the time to prioritize yourself. It’s not always possible, but trying goes a long way.

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