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New Year, New Me – Taking Care of Your Mental Health (by Solenn and her mentors)

on Thu, 01/26/2017 - 22:17
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When the New Year rolls around, everyone usually takes a step back to revaluate their choices over the past year, and typically decide to make some ‘new year’s resolutions’. Now I’ll be the first one to raise my hand and admit that I failed miserably at my resolutions this year, and we’re not even a month in! However, I also think that there’s no need to place yourself into a position where you’re forcing yourself to take on too many resolutions at once. You don’t need to jump right into new activities or routines, mindsets or the new ‘Lean in 15’ diet. Start small, and start with what makes you comfortable.

 At the beginning of semester two, the big shock is jumping back into college work after a long month off for the Christmas holidays. The key is to keep your mental health in check, and to be mindful of what makes you feel good. Don’t try to make yourself into someone that you are not, because you’ll only bring yourself down. If you feel like you need to take a break from drinking and start going for a short walk in the evening, then go for it! If you feel like you need to get out more often and start doing more activities with friends, then you have my blessing. Everyone is different, and deals with every situation in a different way. There is a variety of different clubs and societies to join at any time if you feel like you need a change of scenery, or even a short walk along Salthill Prom to clear your head is just the thing you need. 

For the majority of students, semester two can be stressful due to the end of year exams, and the unknown uncertainty of ‘Am I doing enough work?’ or ‘Will my grades be enough to get me though into second year?’. Don’t let the stress bubble up inside you, speak to a lecturer and get some clear answers that will help keep you on track, or of you don’t want to speak with them, the careers office is a good place to start. Be sure to keep on track of your assignments as to steer clear of unnecessary stress and anxiety, two of the big players in mental health that you don’t want to play against alone. 

If you find yourself feeling anxious, depressed, or down at any time during the semester, or the year, speak to someone. Too often to people let their mental health take over their lives, and many don’t come back from it. Know that there is always someone there to listen to whatever it is that you may have to get off of your chest, be it how you feel about a certain situation you’re involved with, or you’re dealing with a personal loss, or you feel like you don’t belong where you are, speak to someone about it. There are plenty of services on campus that are available for your needs and are there to listen, especially if you don’t want to approach a friend or family member. Always know that you should never bottle up anything, no matter how small or big it may be, it’s always better to talk. 

“Say yes more: When you’re feeling down, it’s easy to get trapped inside your comfort zone and avoid things that seem too scary or overwhelming. However, from doing this you can end up in a cycle where nothing changes and nothing improves. Even if you’re scared, take chances and do the things you know will benefit you in the long run. Saying ‘yes’ to just a few simple things, can lead to new positive experiences you never would have dreamed of.” – Kate Wylie 

“As with the start of a new year, everyone aspires to make strides in personal developments and achievements. If you can only aim to do one thing, it should definitely be taking care of your mental health and the rest will fall into place! One of the cornerstones of looking after your mental state is, of course, valuing yourself” – Amy Gill 

“Make sure you don't overdo your studying throughout the week, take time out for yourself, college is a great experience but the stress of it is never discussed until you experience it for yourself. Take the time to prepare a healthy meal, exercise as often as possible and make as many friends as you can! Now is the time to do!” – Shane Grant 

Pieta House – 1800 247 247    Samaritans – 116 123
Student Health Unit, Áras na Mac Léinn - (091) 492604, Emergencies: (087) 2623997
Student Counsellors, No.5 Distillery Rd - (091) 524411 etn. 2482