Campus cope: Improving your mental health

Spring Break is over and it’s time to jump right back into the unending mechanism of academia. After a week of rest and recovery, the start of the spring quarter was like a splash of cold water right over the head: overwhelming. It’s time to start thinking about ways to ease the stress the return to campus can bring.

Block out your time

It’s hard to find time in one’s day to relax or give your brain a break. Use a planner online or on paper to plan your study time or work hours and small breaks throughout your day. Block out time to read a book or to take a walk around campus. Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself. It’s what you need to be able to maximize your potential.

Engage in physical activity

This doesn’t mean you need to become a fitness nut and be at the gym every day. Perhaps, for you, this means suggesting a hike with your friends or following a short workout video in your room. Taking just a little time out of your day to exercise can reduce stress and depression.

Take care of your physical health

Try to eat regular and nutritious meals. Remember to drink an adequate amount of water. This means about 15.5 cups a day for men and 11.5 cups of fluids a day for women. 

Learn about relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques are used to help your body produce a natural relaxation response. Some methods like guided imagery are widely used in order to focus on calming images in your head. You can find many of these pre-recorded scripts online. Another technique is deep breathing exercises, of which there are a multitude of types to choose from. Meditation is also a popular method of relaxation.

Reach out to your support system and build on it

Spending time with your friends and family can be a positive experience. Make a call to chat with your parents or siblings. Ask your friends if they want to meet up to study. Work to make new connections as well by joining clubs and organizations that align with your interests.

Reach out for professional help

If you’re feeling like your mental health is declining, it’s never a bad idea to seek professional help. UCR offers help for those who are struggling though Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS. You can make an appointment or speak to an on-call 24/7 therapist if you are experiencing a mental health crisis. You can also reach out to your own therapist.It’s all about working on what makes you comfortable in order to  improve your mental health.

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