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Taking Care of Your Mental Health

"The best thing we can all do is to put our mental health first and take care of ourselves. Making yourself a priority will only come back to benefit you in the long run."

I write this letter in a moment of sadness, seeking the friendships and purpose I felt in college. As an alumna, I miss the days of late-night snacks in the chapter house, sisters sharing stories at the end of my bed. Life after college is different. I miss the simpler days where I felt my purpose was helping others find the sorority that was right for them and learning and growing.

What I have learned during this time is how important it is to care for our mental health. There are daily burdens and hurdles we all will face, but we must also remember to take time to care for ourselves. There are a lot of resources and tips to get through tough times or others we can reach out to for help.

Positive Reminders

Now, things feel dark and gloomy in a way I never felt as a student. I am struggling to keep the positive attitude I felt in college. To help me get through tough days where I struggle to stay positive, I repeat a group of sayings listed below. They help remind me that I am not alone, and I hope they serve as a reminder for others they are not alone either.

Quotes from others

  • “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. – Henri Nouwen”
  • “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey
  • “What if we have the fundamental belief, That people are doing the best they can.”- Brene Brown

Quotes I say

  • If we show compassion for others, assume positive intent and give others grace, can we also give it to ourselves.
  • Happiness is not a place but a choice, there are many things that hinder it and mental health is so important. I just hope that you see happiness as a journey and not a destination.
  • You can always reach for the moon, but the stars have an amazing view too!

Taking Care of your Mental health

The best thing we can all do is to put our mental health first and take care of ourselves. Making yourself a priority will only come back to benefit you in the long run. But, if you don’t know where to start it can be tricky to put a priority on your mental health. Luckily, there are small and easy steps to take care of you.

Love Yourself

I know this sounds a lot easier than it is. But, start small. Each morning start by writing down a daily affirmation. It can be something as simple as “I’m deserving of my dreams” or “I am powerful.” Telling yourself these things daily and tailoring them to you can help create a positive mindset for the day.

Downtime

Downtime for everyone will look different. Find a hobby or activity you enjoy and carve out time to do it. Maybe this is exercising or meditating, reading or painting. Chose whatever your thing is and do it And, if you don’t know what it is, spend time trying out different activities. Part of the fun is exploring what you like to do.

Surround Yourself With Good People

Having a good group of people you can lean on can be a tremendous help. If your relationships are bringing you down, that can be a big stressor in your life. Find people who you can turn to and who will always support you and cut out relationships that are harmful to you.

Seek Out Resources When Needed

Sometimes the hardest, but the most helpful thing you can do is to seek out resources and help. There are a lot of great tools you can turn to that can help you care for yourself and your mental health. Having a professional to speak with can help you find the correct tools you need for long-term care and happiness.

Resources

I share these resources to remind myself and anyone else who reads this, that it’s OK to need help, to be overwhelmed. Please know that you are not alone and that there is no shame in reaching out to others and asking for help. Below are some resources to help you get started. You can also look for professionals in your area who can offer long-term assistance.

Hotlines

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-8255. We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

Veterans Crisis Line – Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 or text to 838255. The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource that connects veterans 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a trained responder. The service is available to all veterans, even if they are not registered with the VA or enrolled in VA healthcare. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have hearing loss can call 1-800-799-4889.

Online Resources

MHA – Mental Health America (MHA)’s work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need them; with recovery as the goal.

NAMI – NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

NIMH – The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. NIMH is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest biomedical research agency in the world. 

Clare (CJ) Smith

CJ is a member of Delta Delta Delta from the Alpha Tau chapter. CJ attended Carnegie Mellon University where she earned a bachelor’s in theatre studies and Colorado State University where she earned her master’s in higher education. CJ now works at the University of Arizona as a recruiter.

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