Mental Health Tips During Reading Week and Midterm Season
Between studying for tests, submitting assignments, and completing projects, it can be hard to de-stress and take care of your mental health during Reading Week and midterm season. Here are some ideas for managing stress and boosting your mood:
Connect with others
Having good social support may help protect you against the harms of stress. It is also good to have different types of connections. Aside from connecting with family and friends, you could find ways to get involved with your community or on campus. For example, you could volunteer with SAMRU or find a group of pals who share similar interests by joining a SAMRU Club! There are also weekly programs at the Pride Centre and Cultural Inclusion Centre where you can connect with others. Check out samru.ca/events to see the full schedule!
Make to-do lists
There are three types of lists that are beneficial when it comes to completing everything that you need to get done:
- A master list. This type of list lays out your long-term goals.
- A weekly project list. This should contain everything you need to complete in the next seven days.
- A high-impact tasks list. This list shows you everything you need to prioritize.
Crossing items off your to-do lists is a great way to track your progress, not to mention it’s super satisfying to be done with a task! If you’re finding it difficult to make time for the things you enjoy, adding them as a priority on your to-do list might be helpful.
Move your body
When you move your body, it releases endorphins, which help your mood improve. Moving your body may also help take your mind off anything that’s causing you stress. Try taking a walk around the block or meet a friend for a walk and a chat. Even if you only have a bit of time or energy, any movement helps!
Spend time in nature
Spending time in nature allows you to slow down and be in the present moment. There is plenty to see, hear, and feel, and as a bonus, sunlight helps boost your mood (just don’t forget your SPF)! Combining movement and nature may be especially helpful – if you feel like a change in your workout environment, moving your body outdoors could provide a new and relaxing experience.
Studies have shown that meditation relaxes both your body and mind. All you need is a quiet location, a comfortable position, and an open mind. So how does meditation help? Studies show that meditation:
- Can help to relieve stressful feelings
- Provides tools to cope with stress and uncertainty
- Reduces negative emotions or attitudes
- Nourishes creativity
- Helps you develop patience
- Allows you to focus on being present
Mindful provides this free guide to meditation here.
Pet a furry friend
Hanging out with a furry friend can help improve your mood! Being around animals has been shown to reduce cortisol (a stress hormone) and help you feel less lonely. If you don’t have your own pet, see if you can visit with one of your friends who does, or consider volunteering at an animal shelter!
Talk to a counsellor
If you’re finding that the above tips aren’t helping to improve your mood, or you’re feeling stuck, talking to a counsellor can allow you to work through your feelings and find solutions. You can visit MRU Wellness to access professional mental health care services.