We may have survived midterms, but it seems as though the deadlines just keep coming, especially with a shortened semester and no fall break. It’s a lot easier said than done to close the computer and really take time away from studying and assignments. This past Saturday, Oct. 10, was Mental Health Awareness Day, a day recognized internationally to emphasize the importance of taking time for yourself and showing that everyone deals with stress in some capacity.
This week, I’m back with some more tips, this time about ways to stay relaxed and take care of yourself during a crazy semester in the middle of an even crazier year.
#1 Do something active. It can be so easy to end up stuck inside all day on Zoom classes and Netflix, but getting outside and getting active can give you new energy and change up your day. Even a 10-minute core or leg workout can do wonders for changing the trajectory of your day.
Although many of us aren’t walking from class to class as much as we used to, take some time to get outside and go for a walk with a friend or two. Take some time to get outside and clear your head, especially with this gorgeous fall foliage and cool weather.
#2 Read a book. I don’t know about everyone else, but even with my blue-light glasses and computer filters, my eyes are still tired of looking at screens when the end of the day rolls around. Try something different and pull a book off the shelf (or get it off the shelves of Falvey!) or listen to an audio book. Forget all the stressors of the “real world” by immersing yourself into a different time period or a completely fictional world.
Check out my book club, Read with the (other) Jenna, where you can read Angela’s Ashes along with me.
#3 Listen to a podcast. Podcasts are a great way to learn something new and random, while also working on mundane tasks that need to be done. I personally always listen to podcasts when I’m putting away laundry, making food or driving in the car. It helps me take a step back from all the thoughts swirling around in my head and learn something interesting.
One of my current favorites is the NPR podcast called How I Built This, which talks about how successful business owners, like the founder of Patagonia, got to where he is today. If you have any podcast recommendations, definitely share them below.
#4 Take a nap. Remember how before I said it can be helpful to be active? Taking a nap is also a completely valid and important way of taking care of your mental health. It’s hard to shut off your brain when you have so many to-dos and sometimes the only way to stop thinking about those is to go to sleep. If you’re a napper, make sure they’re productive and don’t leave you feeling even more drowsy than when you laid down in the first place.
In the same vein, getting a full goodnight’s sleep is also super important for your stress levels. Don’t be afraid to call it a day, go to sleep early and start fresh in the morning.
#5 Attend Mindfulness Mondays. Every Monday this fall, Campus Ministry and Falvey invite the Villanova community to join them on Zoom from 12:30-1 p.m to stop and focus on the “here and now.” Mindfulness is proven to reduce stress, and I’m sure we could all use a stress reduction at this point in the semester. You can find more information and the Zoom link here: https://library.villanova.edu/events/event_series/miscellaneous-co-sponsored-events/mindfulness-mondays-6
Ultimately, taking time for your mental health is going to look differently for everyone, so you need to find what works best for you. What’s your go-to way to relax in the midst of a busy schedule? Let us know in the comment box below!
Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Sore from my last stress-reliever workout.