Howl You Doin’? A Focus on Mental Health
We are at that point in the semester when classwork is beginning to pile up, free time is starting to feel scarce, and we are counting down the days until spring break. During this trying time, especially after this past fall semester, it is important to take time for our physical, mental and emotional health. Whether you have an hour of time to spare or a few hours between classes, these mental health activities are perfect for your busy college life.
- Rainbow sensory distraction: Using your senses, find 3-5 items of each color that you see, hear, taste, touch and/or smell that correlate to each of the six colors of the rainbow. This strategy is perfect for combatting anxiety, panic attacks or other mental health struggles that might leave you feeling out of touch with reality.
- Paws for meditation: While some of us may be operating on a tight schedule, it is still important to quiet our mind and take time to reorient our attention to self-care strategies. One way to do this is by meditating. If you are new to meditation, start by finding a quiet place where you can sit comfortably and without distraction. Start by closing your eyes, focus on your rhythmic breathing and allow your mind to wander. You can initially start off meditating for a short period of time, possibly before your classes or during a mid-day break, and work your way up to longer periods of time as you grow more familiar with the process. This process allows you to clear your mind, give your brain a break and help sharpen your ability to pay attention in other aspects of your life.
- Thinking paws-itive: Even though it may be difficult to do, we all have things that we can be thankful for, even if it is as simple as the ability to wake up this morning. Take time throughout your day to appreciate your loved ones, thank your professors and NC State staff, radiate positivity to your classmates and take note of all the things in life that you can be positive about! There are many ways to show your gratitude and appreciation that do not have to be verbal: leaving a kind note for a stranger, sending a friend a thank you gift, treating your roommate to dinner, sending a family member a nice text message and anything in between! Even though life throws us curveballs sometimes, there is always something to be positive about.
While these strategies are merely suggestions for ways to care for your mind and body, they should not replace proper medical treatment when necessary. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, reach out to a mental health hotline or call 9-1-1 , immediately. Please see Chancellor Woodson’s email from February 12th concerning on-campus mental health centers and resources. As always, remember that you are a loved and valued member of the pack!
This article is by Lindsay Hazelwood, a Department of Sociology and Anthropology student ambassador majoring in criminology and psychology.