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Ways to prioritize and care for your mental health

School can be stressful for all of us at times. You’ve got exams coming up in a few weeks. Oh and let’s not forget about the 10 essays, 8 assignments, 25 math sums and 5 overdue homework sheets.

In the heat of the moment, sometimes we tend to neglect ourselves and our mental health and try to push ourselves above and beyond to achieve the result that we’re striving for.

It's important that we understand that we need to make time for ourselves and just take a step back from the worries and stresses that life seems to throw our way. So here are just a few things you can do to take care of your mental health and maybe recharge your batteries before you’re thrust into the world of school again.

1. Journaling

As someone who has always enjoyed writing, journaling has always been a very therapeutic experience for me. When I’ve had a long day or if I’m feeling particularly anxious or stressed, I like to just dump all of my thoughts and feelings on paper. It’s also a way of venting to someone and just getting whatever you’re feeling out of your system. I’ve also found that sometimes writing can help you make sense of your thoughts. You’re putting down what you’re feeling on paper and sometimes you realize that maybe the problem isn’t as bad as you’ve made it out to be. Maybe that exam did not go as badly as you thought it did. Maybe that assignment doesn’t seem as complicated. It makes the constant confusion of thoughts in my head calm down a little bit!

2. Painting

Painting is something which I’ve recently developed a hobby for and it’s become one of my favorite things to do. I just love spending a few hours on a Sunday just painting and experimenting with colors. It’s one of those activities where you lose track of all time and let yourself just go free. It’s like your small bubble away from school and all the homework you have. You don’t just have to try painting, you can do anything art related, whether it’s music or dance. The important thing is it should be something you enjoy and not something that will induce more stress.

3. Going for a walk or exercising

When you’re sitting at your desk for most of the time, you’re bound to feel more and more agitated and stressed. Hour after hour can pass and you can still feel like you’re making no progress. I’ve made it a point to myself that I have to get out of the house every day. Even if it’s for ten minutes staring at nothing outside. I think it’s so important for us to get even a small amount of fresh air because we’re always cooped up, either in school or at home. Just standing and feeling the breeze and the wind and taking in the air just eliminates all of my stress. If I can, I also like to add in a walk or maybe on other days I’ll exercise. Exercise also releases those feel good hormones that would probably also put you in a better mood. It also helps increase your concentration and focus on the activity you are doing and you’ll be able to come back and approach all of your tasks with a much clearer state of mind.

4. Reading

Ever since I was younger, I’ve always enjoyed reading and as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate it more. I’ve always loved the feeling of escapism reading provides you, to explore so many new worlds with just the turn of a page. It makes me forget about my problems for a couple of hours and just get immersed in this new world, these characters and their own problems (instead of my own for a change!) Before I sleep, I always try and squeeze in an hour of reading and give myself that time to just be somewhere else away from my own thoughts.

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