Congrats! You’ve made it halfway through the semester. Can you believe it? I encourage you to take a moment and reflect on your accomplishments over the past seven weeks. If you’ve found yourself feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or lacking motivation, please know your feelings are completely valid and you are not alone. As we prepare to enter the second half of the semester, I want to offer some advice to help keep your mental health in check.
Learn to Set Boundaries
Disclaimer, this is something I am continuously working on. However, I recognize that setting boundaries is crucial. Many of us studying public relations are highly motivated, Type A individuals who are involved in internships and countless extracurriculars. We’re constantly working on a million projects and there are multiple ways to be in frequent contact with teammates, classmates, and coworkers. The idea of saying no and “disappointing” people can be terrifying. I’m here to tell you – it is okay to say no. It’s difficult, but sometimes we have to find the confidence to say “No, I cannot add more to my plate right now” or “I’m already being pulled in too many directions to give this my all”. On that same note, it’s important to set boundaries with yourself. The virtual classroom makes it all too easy to work nonstop. Healthy personal boundaries could mean eating a nutritious breakfast before you dive into your homework or not checking your email after 8 PM. Find a system that works for you and your schedule.
Picture this – It’s 3 PM on a weekday and you realize you’ve been sitting at your desk hunched over your laptop since the morning. You’re lethargic, losing the ability to focus and the Zoom fatigue is hitting hard. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, there are many dangerous physical and mental effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Close the laptop and take a break, your body and mind will thank you. Go for a walk and call a loved one. Take a virtual yoga class. If you’re comfortable, go to the gym (just please wear a mask and practice social distancing). Tidy up your room or make a meal. Bottom line, do something to get your body moving and break up the monotony of your day.
Prioritize Self Care
We are communicators and need to remain sharp and be able to quickly adapt. By burning ourselves out and refusing to take time to enjoy ourselves, we’re doing a disservice to ourselves and those around us. During the first PRSSA REIMAGINED panel, all three guest panelists emphasized the importance of practicing self care, especially in this field and when working remotely. Sleep in every once in a while. Plan a trip to your local apple orchard. Watch some television (I personally recommend a Disney Halloween movie or Schitt’s Creek). Find time each week to decompress and do things that bring you joy.
As you embark on the second half of your semester, I hope you take this advice to heart and incorporate healthy habits into your routine. I realize that whether this is your first semester or last, the past few months have been trying for everyone. I am so proud of you and hope you are too. Your classmates, professors, advisors and loved ones are here for you and rooting for you. Be forgiving and kind to yourself and others. Best of luck.
For additional resources
Free Mental Health Resources Courtesy of Governor Whitmer and Headspace
Affordable Online Therapy and Counseling
Local Health Services