A College Student's Take on Mental Health Management
Much like last week, in our discussion about empowerment, I will be giving some more tips, but this time about self-care. Self-care is identifying your immediate mental, emotional, psychological, and physiological needs and then meeting them regardless of how long it may take or how much it might set you back from whatever you are focusing on. Self-care is the process of taking a step back, healing, and then resuming your life, and ensuring that you are good before you resume. Too often people neglect their health and as a result develop conditions that could have been avoided. An example of this is anxiety disorder. Of course, anxiety disorder can stem from factors such as drug and alcohol abuse, but a lack of self-care can bring this on as well. So, this week I want to outline my self-care process along with giving 3 tips on how to develop self-care.
Life can be very overwhelming. Stepping back is the first step of my process, and it's simply putting everything else aside so that you can begin to diagnose what your problems are. Stepping back can be taking a relaxing hot bath, opening the screen door and enjoying the breeze, getting a massage, watching the stars at night on the hood of your car, etc. The point is that you are completely relaxed, and you have nothing to distract you from your inner thoughts and feelings. Relaxation is key here if you want to truly diagnose what's going on mentally and psychologically. Whatever is causing you high levels of stress needs to be put at ease by doing something that can bring you back to a calm state of mind.
Let it Sit
Once you have relaxed your mind and successfully figured out where your problems and stress are coming from, do nothing! Take time to just leave the problem there until you are ready to address it and handle it. This of course must be handled on a case-by-case basis because if the problem requires a sense of urgency, then by all means, take care of your business. The main reason why I suggest this is because I have learned that giving yourself a minimum of 72 hours to feel what you need to feel in order to correctly deal with the problem is extremely helpful. I call this the 72-hour rule. The 72-hour rule is a form of self-care because it allows you to keep things in perspective and sort through stresses logically. It’s a lot easier to deal with problems 72 hours after your stress levels have had the opportunity to decline, as opposed to charging head on into the problem at hand. Let it sit and give yourself a fair chance at handling everything. You're only human!
Get Back to Work
The final step in my self-care process is getting back on the grind. After I have taken the necessary time to step away, relax, and let things sit for a bit, I deal with everything that has been bothering me. This could entail talking to someone who I've had an issue with to find a resolution, developing a hobby to cope with the pain, creating a schedule that allows me to better prioritize my time, or even take time to meditate and let all of the stress go. I understand that not everyone will be able to utilize my process of self-care, but this is just my way of doing things. Self-care and how we deal with things reflect our beliefs and circumstances, so it would make sense that sometimes you may have to take a different path.
I hope my process was helpful and just in case you missed them, my 3 tips on how to develop self-care were;
Relaxation (Whatever that looks like for you)
The 72-hour Rule (Or some variation of it)
Written By Kameron Brown, Marketing and PR Intern at SSAB and Senior at NIU
Edited By Gabrielle Sims, Founder and Executive Director at SSAB