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Tips for taking care of your mental health

As you all probably know, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. When you experience difficulties with your mental health, your mood and brain can be severely detached. This is especially so as the stressful semester approaches its final weeks, with warm weather, and summer on the horizon. Trying to figure out personal work plans on how to successfully complete all of your projects and essays can be tough and can ignite an abundance of self-tension. While this is common for a lot of students, freshman and newcomers to WCU may not know where to start in taking care of their mental health with their new pressure of college exams.

According to csc.edu, more than 11% of college students have been diagnosed or treated with anxiety and more than 10%, with depression. These facts are very real, even if you just experience anxiety or depression during finals and, do not have a diagnosed disorder, it is still just as important to keep your mind in bloom. I know you may hear a lot about “how to take care of yourself” around campus, but many people may not believe if certain tips or resources actually work, or if other students ever even tried. This is why I’ve gathered content, via a Google form, from WCU current and alumni students on what they do/ campus resources they utilize to maintain mental stability during finals. I organized my results by academic year, or alumni in the chart below.

A recurring theme on this chart is the WCU therapy dogs. These marvelous dogs are great to interact with, and, from personal experience, help ease your mind. The therapy dogs will be in Sykes next Thursday and Tuesday (Spring Semester 2019)! Times are posted on the “Counseling & Psychological Services” page, as well as their twitter: @WCUDogTherapy. Also, on the counseling page, are more detailed self-care suggestions of the ones above. In addition, the Contemplative Studies center, next to the Merion Science Center, offers stress management programs as well as yoga, meditation, mindful art, and Ai-kido martial arts classes. The center is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and you can find more information on their webpage at wcupa.edu. The “Calm” app is a great online resource to cope with stress management. “Calm” is a free app you can use to participate in guided relaxation and meditation sessions, as well as listen to calming nature sounds of your preference; this may be something to quickly download and explore during your study breaks! From personal experience, I can attest that watching beloved movies and TV shows really does relax the mind and ease anxious thoughts; this allows you to immerse into another universe and leave your own.

There you have it. Plenty of great, campus and personal, resources you can engage in while indulging into your end of semester duties. Something as little as creating a time management plan (i.e. writing a page of your essay per day or blocking out forty minutes of studying for each course) and attending office hours can relieve a huge amount of stress; there is never a problem with asking questions in class when you are unsure. Stress leads to many aliments that I rather not mention here, but just know you can easily prevent them by taking care of yourself. Your health comes first! You need it to succeed physically, and emotionally. Best of luck with finals, Rams!

Madison Starinieri is a second-year student majoring in English and special education. MS882527@wcupa.edu

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