Back to School in a Pandemic: Five Tips For Supporting Your Mental Health This Fall

2020 has been chaotic. From a pandemic killing millions, to the untimely deaths of celebrities and influencers, and the wildfires in the West, this year has had a considerable effect on students’ mental health. To address this issue, The Muse put together five tips to improve your mental health and help your peers. 

1. Find Time For Yourself 

Reward yourself, even for little things you accomplish. The school days are long, and with everything happening around us, it is important to try to create a healthier and happier mindset. Find what you are passionate about and embrace it. We often find ourselves overwhelmed with schoolwork and other activities, so we must slow down and acknowledge life by enjoying ourselves and our accomplishments. 

2. Communication Is Key 

By communicating with our peers, we are engaging and building relationships with each other. By communicating, we can support one another and take care of each other when we are sometimes too tired to take care of ourselves. Explaining and opening up to others about our feelings is an effective way to cope and deal with the stress we face daily. Especially now, when a majority of the student body is attending school online, connecting via social media is an effective way to get support and assistance. 

3. Reach Out

Check on your friends and family. Let them know that you are there to support them and that you understand them. Just by reaching out, you are connecting and supporting each other. We work best as one community, rather than a group of individuals. 

4. Check In With Your Thoughts 

Keeping a documented representation of your thoughts and feelings may improve your overall mental health, according to the University of Rochester’s Medical Center. Keeping a journal or diary can improve self confidence and increase self awareness. Journaling can help control your thoughts and feelings, allowing for private reflection. 

5. Breathe

As silly as it may sound, sometimes, it helps to just stop whatever we are doing, and focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Breathing is one of the most important bodily processes in keeping us alive and yet one of the most neglected. Breathing takes tension out of your neck and shoulders, relieving stress and anxiety. Taking deep breaths throughout the day is a therapeutic strategy to release stress.