The last seven months have been anything but normal. Adjusting to the new pandemic lifestyle has taken a toll on all of us, no matter where we are in the world. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, I don’t think anyone ever pictured where we would be today. Along with this, it is hard to imagine what the world is going to look like even one month from now.
With the world being in a constantly changing state, it is extremely important to have different ways and resources that will aid you in taking control of your mental health. As someone who has always struggled with my mental health, this pandemic has truly forced me to find new ways to help me stay in control. I’ve compiled some different tips and tricks throughout this post that will hopefully inspire and give you some good ideas on how to deal with your mental health in a positive way. Whether you are on campus or off campus, there is something here for everyone when learning how to take control of your mental health.
First and foremost, for those of us that are taking in-person classes this semester, there are many resources designed specifically for dealing with mental health right here on campus. The Dana B. Torrey Health and Counseling Center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and is always accepting calls to make counseling appointments at 315-229-5392.
Making an appointment and talking to a counselor is always a great way to help you sort through some of your thoughts but can be a useful tool now more than ever. College, in general, is extremely overwhelming at times and there is no shame if you decide to go and talk to someone. If you feel like this could help you stay in control of your mental health, it is definitely worth calling over to the health center and making an appointment.
The Great Outdoors
Although counseling is a great strategy when it comes to taking hold of your mental health, there are also many other methods that can contribute to not only helping your mental health but your physical health as well. The next few tips are for the people who want to start taking advantage of the beautiful upstate New York scenery that surrounds us.
Here are some suggestions that will not only help you with your mental health but make a great adventure as well:
- Lake Placid, NY is a cute town about an hour and a half away from campus and is a great area with lots of hiking (the administration is taking applications for day trips to go out of St. Lawrence County. Please do not leave the county without getting approval first). If you have a group of friends who like to hike, that can be a great way to clear your mind and take some time to yourself.
- If you aren’t comfortable doing this, there are plenty of places within St. Lawrence County that can be good options when you want to get away from campus for a little bit. Lampson Falls is a nice little walk off of County Road 27 that leads to a beautiful waterfall and is a nice place to forget about your worries and explore some of the beautiful scenery around Canton.
- Even if that is still out of your comfort zone, we have some beautiful trails right on campus that will allow you to feel like you are getting away for a little bit. The Saddlemire trail is located right off of The Avenue of the Elms and is a peaceful area where you can walk, jog, or bike. The Kip trail is one of the other beautiful trails that is located right on campus. This trail is located around the athletic facilities and goes right along the Grasse River. Both of these trails are a great option to get out and get some fresh air before the snow comes.
Be sure to wear a mask and social distance while exploring off-campus!
Make Sure to Focus on Yourself
One of the other suggestions that I have is to start picking up some new hobbies. Last semester when CCOVID-19 first arrived in the United States, I had just learned how to crochet. I quickly learned that crocheting is something that I enjoy doing when I get stressed out. That is one of the many hobbies that could help you relax in stressful times.
A few other suggestions could be reading, knitting, any form of art, playing an instrument, or photo editing. If there has been a skill that you have been meaning to learn, now is the best time ever to do that. Making some time for something as simple as a new hobby is one way to allow yourself to have some breathing room away from a stressful environment.
Learn How to Say "No"
The next tip that I have for everyone is to learn how to say "no." It’s okay to realize that you need some time to yourself and saying no to your friends is alright. It can be very difficult to learn how to say that you need some time alone, but taking some time to yourself to take a nap, watch Netflix, or play video games (Grand Theft Auto V has been my go-to game lately) will help you with the anxiety that you may be feeling. If you need to take an hour or two to have some time by yourself, that can make a huge difference in how you feel mentally.
Reach Out to Others
But on the other hand, realize when you may need someone to be around. Sometimes you may need a friendly distraction from the things that are going on around you. Get a group of friends together and check off my list of things to do outside. If that isn’t something that you like, get a group of friends in your family unit and go to Pub 56 for some food.
There are also plenty of off-campus restaurants that are open for dining in or take out. If this is something that you’re interested in, make sure that you are following the guidelines of the Laurentian Pact and social distancing.
The last thing that has made a huge difference in my life when I’m not in the best headspace is getting some exercise. This goes hand in hand with my section about different trails and hiking areas on and off-campus, but it is important to know that the exercise facility on campus is now open to students. You can sign up for a time slot to go get your favorite exercise routine in.
But of course, I’ll give you guys some options if you aren't on campus, or if you don't want to go to the gym.
If you don’t use YouTube, it is about to become your best friend. When I got home from campus last March, finding effective ways to exercise was something that was extremely difficult, so I turned to YouTube. Not only was I able to find a plethora of ab, leg, and arm workouts, I was also able to find some fun dancing and Zumba workouts as well. That’s a fun and effective way to get some exercise in.
I hope that these tips and tricks will help everyone in one way or another. It is important now more than ever to make sure you are doing things that are good for your mental health.
Stay safe and take care of yourself! And remember, you’re not alone right now. With the uncertainty of everything right now, it can feel that way. But I promise, there are other people who are trying to get ahold of their mental health as well.