By Ethan Shea
Halloween is about confronting our biggest fears. Usually this means coming face to face with a killer clown, giant spider, or blood-thirsty vampire, but in this week’s “Cat in the Stax,” I want to talk about something even scarier.
Sometimes the most frightening things are everyday occurrences. Social anxieties stemming from a fear of failing tests, speaking to crowds or eating lunch alone are very real concerns that you are more likely to encounter than a menacing circus performer. Since the days are becoming a bit shorter, it’s also important to keep the risk of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in mind.
To combat these fears, I want to list a few strategies and resources that will help you enjoy a (mostly) scare-free Halloween.
Villanova University Health Services
Perhaps the most obvious mental health resource is Villanova University’s Health Services, but there may be some helpful information you weren’t aware of. For example, did you know that services at the Counseling Center are completely free to current students? Counseling can help with just about anything, from concerns about depression, shyness, or just adjusting to college in general.
Personally, I think everyone should have some sort of counselor or therapist, even if you think you’re feeling great. We routinely see doctors for check-ups on our physical health, so why should mental health be treated any differently? Additionally, I find these Health Services mental health infosheets to be extremely helpful and informative, so be sure to check them out!
Another common concern is academic anxiety. Counseling can be helpful in dealing with this sort of stress, but I also believe it’s helpful to know there are people here to help you with your studies. Keeping that in mind, make sure you make time this semester to visit the Writing Center in room 210 of Falvey Library and the Mathematics Learning Resource Center (MLRC), which is close by in room 204. These resources are here to say you’re not alone. College is a team effort!
Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is more commonly known as SAD, is a clinical depression that occurs during the winter months. Although we are not quite there yet, the weather is cooling down, and the days are becoming shorter. It’s important to be proactive with mental health and to anticipate potential problems. Especially since we live in the Northeast, SAD is something that should be on your radar. Only 1% of people in Florida get SAD, while 10% of people in New Hampshire do, so the further north you travel, the greater the risk.
As a preventive measure, make sure you routinely exercise, sleep well, and expose yourself to sunlight. Even during the winter months, I know going for runs or walks outside makes a huge difference in my mental health. The sunlight and crisp air always has a positive impact, but bundle up!
I know doing everything at once, having fun, doing homework, and getting adequate amounts of sleep may seem impossible at times, but that’s why the aforementioned resources are available. With cool weather and fun activities like pumpkin carving and apple picking, there’s plenty of good times to be had, so don’t let the season’s scares bring you down!
Ethan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.