University can get stressful. Any university student knows this. For me, the stress comes and goes depending on how many exams or projects I have due that week, but I always make sure to pause and take a moment for myself—no matter how small. I suffer from anxiety, and when I’m stressed about one thing, I find I get more anxious about other parts of my life—even when I normally don’t feel anxious about them. Over the past five years, I’ve discovered a couple things that help me relax and unwind when things get just a little overwhelming.
Cleaning or organizing my space
I definitely think better when I have an organized space. For me, a messy room means no quality work done. When I find myself stressed about something, it helps to organize and clean not only to clear my physical space, but my head space as well. The time I spend cleaning allows me to focus on the task at hand and get into a kind of meditative state, and by the time I’m finished I feel much more relaxed.
Scheduling off days is just as important as scheduling times to study. I often grab a cappuccino at one of my favourite places: Discovery Coffee.
Throughout my years at UVic, I have found that taking off days and scheduling breaks from schoolwork is important for my mental health. I make sure to do something for myself at least once per week, whether that be going to one of my favourite coffee places, wandering around downtown, or reading a novel on the beach.
Getting out into nature
Being out in nature has great benefits for your mental health. Spending time in nature, even just once a week or every two weeks, helps me de-stress and focus. After a walk along the beach, or a couple hours volunteering doing ecological restoration, I definitely notice my mood is lifted.
A gorgeous late afternoon day at Cadboro Bay recently. Before taking a walk down to the beach, I had been holed up in the library for hours, and felt I needed to get some fresh air and absorb all the great benefits of nature.
Talking to someone
If you’re particularly stressed about something, talk to someone! Whenever I’m stressed about something, I talk it over with my friends, family, or even my dog. It’s not necessarily about wanting advice, it’s more about letting people knowing what you’re struggling with so you don’t have to face it alone. Every time I tell someone about something I’m stressed about, I immediately feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Sometimes you can even realize your problem or stress-inducer isn’t as bad as you may have thought it to be.
This can go hand-in-hand with the last previous, but if I do all these steps and still feel stressed, I seek help. Whether that be going to my professor’s office hours, or using the learning and research help in the library, or making an appointment with a UVic counsellor, asking for help when I need it really helps keep my wellness in check. Sometimes I need a bit more help than I can give myself, and it’s important for me to recognize this and reach out for the resources I need.
Making time for myself and keeping my wellness in check is important to my mental health. Even simple things like cleaning my room or sitting outside for a couple minutes help me stay well, and hopefully by showing my ways into wellness, I can help someone else find their own.
Thanks for reading,