Healthy habits for a healthier mind

Importance of self-care practices

Many students get overwhelmed during their university years. Practicing self-care regularly is a simple mechanism that can help in many ways to maintain balance within your mind. There are many healthy habits that students can incorporate into their daily schedule to increase their well-being.

Self-care is anything an individual does intentionally to take care of their mental, emotional and physical health, according to Psych Central. Taking time for yourself to check in on your emotions is in no way selfish. It can also take on many different forms, depending on the individual. For some, self-care is going to the gym, getting enough sleep and maintaining a healthy diet. For others, it may be knowing when to say no to an activity, keeping a journal, practicing yoga or doing one pleasurable activity a day.

Practicing good self-care is key in creating a good or better relationship with yourself and helps with knowing your limits. This is not something that you develop overnight; it can take a few weeks and can become a little frustrating at times. Keeping a journal is an easy way to start understanding your limits, and how much involvement is too much. Every night, write in your journal about how you felt during the day. Over time, you might be able to find patterns within your feelings that will allow you to gain a better understanding of what is going well and might not be going to well during your day.

“As university students, we are often expected to stay on top of heavy course loads, participate in extracurricular and volunteer activities and maintain social relationships,” said Sarah English, a fourth-year psychology student. “This pressure can be overwhelming and taking a few moments to do something you enjoy each day can give you the chance to recharge. Self-care doesn’t have to look a certain way and can be whatever you want it to be! It should be something that boosts your mood and leaves you feeling ready to tackle whatever life throws at you next. Even when it feels like you don’t have those few spare minutes, remember that your body and your mind are worth the time.”

While it is important to recognize that self-care can help with mental health, it may not always be what you need. Mount Allison has a number of services available to students. The Wellness Centre offers counselling by appointment, as well as walk-in counselling from 1 to 4 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, and from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays. There are also psychologists and a psychiatrist available, to whom students can be referred by a health-care practitioner.

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