My history with mental health problems has always been a present issue in my life. Growing up in a toxic Hispanic household impacted how I processed my emotions and how I saw the world. Being the oldest and only daughter in the family, I never had any time to take care of my inner child. After moving out and starting my college career, I found that being alone with my feelings for the first time was overwhelming. Now, as a fourth year, I have found useful ways to practice self-care that have worked for me and might work for you as well.
Once I realized that I was indulging in unhealthy coping mechanisms, I sought out the aid of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Throughout the eight free therapy sessions, I managed to work through a lot of my childhood trauma. I still continue to visit CAPS, and by doing so, I am taking care of myself and have found that I feel happier.
A method that helped me was giving myself mental health days. On days where I felt extremely overwhelmed and unable to do anything, I would tell myself that I could have a day to rest. If there was school work to be done, I would do it the next day. I would add extra steps to my skin care routine and treat myself to a soothing face mask. I’ve also used these mental health days to catch up on sleep, watch Netflix and indulge in any hobbies.
Taking a day to do anything and everything that makes you happy is a good step when taking care of yourself, whether that be gaming, baking, socializing or even being alone. Now more than ever, it is important to take steps to improve your mental health by promoting self-care, especially with the global pandemic raging on and courses being delivered remotely.
With the transition to online classes, it is easy to get frustrated and tired of doing everything in the confines of your room. Personally, it feels suffocating at times. Whenever I feel like this, I go on walks to remind myself that there is more to the world than just my room. Seeing the sunlight and breathing in fresh air while listening to good music is a relaxing and soothing experience. I try going on these walks as often as possible and find myself coming home with a clear mind.
Being in Riverside, students are lucky in that they are in close proximity to Mount Rubidoux, which is a great place to go hiking and clear your mind. The hiking trail on Mount Rubidoux is a beautiful place to visit with stunning sunsets. You could also go on bike rides around a park or your neighborhood if hiking does not sound appealing to you. Exercise is a great form of self-care, and hiking or a bike ride is a great way to relieve stress.
There are many ways of taking care of yourself to improve your overall well being, all of which can be very rewarding. All it takes is finding what makes you happy and what heals your soul during difficult times.