Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mind Matters: The battle of mental health is being waged at Camosun

November 1, 2017 by Cindy Peckham, contributing writer

Mind Matters is a new column about mental-health issues.

An epic battle is taking place right here on campus—I’m talking about mental health.

Being buried in the books can become overwhelming. The pressures of juggling a personal life with the demands of studies are all too real. It’s easy to overlook self-care as we put in long hours and our hands reach for the first convenient thing that looks edible. But stress, if left unchecked, can undermine mental health. Here are some things that we can do to stay on track.

Mind Matters is a column about mental-health issues appearing in every issue of Nexus).

Sleep. You need seven to nine hours of sleep every night to be healthy and feel well rested. Even if you’re not hitting that mark, you can still help yourself by having a sleep routine with an established bedtime and wake time. Try not to alter it by more than an hour; this is easier for your body to adjust to than wild fluctuations. Also, to avoid feeling groggy, you can try timing your wake-up for the end of a sleep cycle, which averages about 90 minutes before a new one starts. For example, four and a half hours of sleep would be three 90-minute sleep cycles.

Eat. Your brain is running a marathon when you’re in college; just like an athlete, it needs more because it’s using more. Give it high-quality protein and lots of fruits and veggies.

Exercise. Do a quick Google search and you’ll uncover myriad articles and studies that relate better mental health to exercise. Movement of any kind will do, as long as it gets the heart rate up. Even a one-minute burst of intense exercise is enough to make a difference; you can do that while Netflix loads the next episode of your favorite show.

Relax. With the exception of overdoing it on alcohol or turning to drugs, there’s no right or wrong way to relax. The goal is to simply let go in whatever manner suits you, be it meditating, listening to music, or hitting the field for a game of soccer with your pals. Even just 10 minutes at a time can work wonders.

Repeat. Being a student is a time when we need more self-care, not less. Repeat these things as often as you can.

The best results come over time, but don’t let that deter you or add more pressure. Even the smallest acts done sporadically can make a difference. Remember: many drops make an ocean.

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