October 7- 13, 2018 is National Mental Health Awareness Week (Also known as Mental Illness Awareness Week). This week is important because it brings awareness to the crucial topic of mental health and mental illnesses. In a recent study from spring 2017, researchers from the American College Health Association found that nearly 40% of college students said they felt so depressed it was difficult to function (Reilly, 2018). The researchers also found that 61% of college students said they had felt “overwhelming anxiety.” Anxiety, depression, stress and sadness are all challenges that college students face , but there are many resources and ways to cope with these challenges.
To help you cope with stress and anxiety here is a list of tips and tricks on how to de-stress and relax.
- Make minor adjustments to your room.
A cluttered space can make you feel disorganized. One way to create a less stressful environment is to open your bedroom blinds to let natural light into your space. Students can also decorate their rooms in soothing colors such as light blue or grey. These colors may make you feel calm . Another option is to buy a small plant. Plants bring life to the room and give you a chance to take care of a living being.
- Take time to read a book.
One of the best things to do when stressed out is to engross yourself in a book. Some of the best books to read during stressful times are motivational or inspiring works. Examples of books that help you feel great again are Eat, Pray, Love, The 5 Second Rule, or Milk and Honey.
- Write in a journal.
Putting pen to paper is one of the best ways to avoid stress. If you write out your troubles, it can help you express your worries and help you assess the situation with fresh eyes. Writing in a journal can also help you to recognize when you overcame obstacles and give you the confidence to overcome obstacles in the future.
- Plan and get work done ahead of time.
Personally, one of the best tips when it comes to lessening stress is to plan ahead to get work done. There are so many deadlines for assignments, and students tend to get overwhelmed and forget to do them. If students make the switch to writing out deadlines in the beginning of the semester and using free time to complete work, they can get ahead and alleviate the stress of completing the assignment on time.
- Turn off your phone.
Sometimes phones can do more harm than good. They can produce constant worry about likes, retweets or receiving messages back, that by the end of the day this adds stress. Turning phones off for a couple minutes a day can help to relieve stress and give more time to think or do other activities.
- Visit the University Counseling Center.
Millersville has resources on campus such as the Center for Counseling and Human Development where students can set up counseling appointments to talk about their stress or anxiety. The Center for Counseling and Human Development will also be introducing light box therapy starting October 2nd, which can help students who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or depression during the winter months.
- Just breathe.
This may sound cheesy, but it can really help in any situation. If you take a deep breathe, it can slow thinking down and release built up tensions. It can also bring the realization that things will be okay and to just be patient.
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Reilly, K. (2018, March 19). Anxiety and Depression: More College Students Seeking Help. Retrieved from http://time.com/5190291/anxiety-depression-college-university-students/