I had a breakdown 10 minutes before I wrote this.
The irony of the situation though is that I’m supposed to be telling you about relaxation techniques and the benefits of each one. I’m still going to do that to a certain extent; however, I think addressing the reality of mental health would be more beneficial right now.
I’m just an ordinary Sauder student like you. I have classes, group projects, assignments, papers, and midterms just like you. Everything is piling up and it feels like there’s no end in sight. Then on top of that, there are other obligations and responsibilities you have to manage everyday, and it gets overwhelming to the point where even feeding yourself becomes a chore. People tell you to “take care of yourself,” and you have to try your hardest to not just roll your eyes and say, “Yea, I suppose.”
It’s hard. It’s really hard. But at the end of the day, I try time and time again to forgive myself because I’m not perfect and I never will be, and you deserve to give yourself the same peace of mind. That belief is why I’m writing this open letter to you.
You deserve peace of mind.
You deserve to treat yourself with care.
You deserve to forgive yourself and love yourself and celebrate yourself.
You deserve to have your voice heard and be told that it’s okay to feel what you do.
And I will not stop fighting until this happens.
Until then, I will share my tips and strategies for managing my mental health.
Right now I want to share something that one of my mentors told me today:
Find small but unique ways of integrating relaxation into your day. It could be as simple as practicing a breathing exercise on your walk to class and admiring the gorgeous campus around us. It could be putting your head down and closing your eyes for that brief time when you’re sitting in your seat before class starts to clear your mind. It could even be just having a good conversation with a close friend for a few minutes after class to give your mind a break from heavy mental processing.
The possibilities are endless. There is no “right way” for relaxation; what works for one person may not work for another. However, sometimes doing small things like those above are not enough.
If you’re really exhausted and burning out, give yourself the time to do something more. I find that, when I’m so drained that nothing productive is happening and nothing productive will be happening anytime soon, the best thing I can do is accept that nothing is happening and do an activity that I really enjoy – an activity that you would normally think of when someone says “relaxation activity”. Watch your favourite TV show. Eat some delicious food. Take a nap.
Let your body and mind heal.
One of my personal favourites is art. I love drawing, crafts, painting, building…you name it. Art it a fantastic way to help you process feelings that you can’t necessarily express immediately in words, and it gives you an outlet to vent until you can grasp those words.
Fortunately enough, HeWe is holding a paint night this Thursday. There will be yummy food, great company and a bunch of painting supplies to help you relax and de-stress from the term. I know I will definitely be there, and because of everything I just talked about, I hope that you give yourself the time to come as well.
If you have any questions about what I talked about, or just want to talk about life in general, please do not hesitate to message me. I am always more than happy to share my experiences and talk with others that are interested in mental health.
Peas have a soup-er rest of the day, and remember that you are ap-peach-ciated.
Taryn, VP Mental Wellness