Mid-semester blues are real. How do I know that? Because I’m going through it right now. Being in a study abroad program in places like Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, etc is an incredible opportunity that not everyone gets to experience, so it’s important to make the most out of the time here and be grateful for it. But at the same time the struggles of academics, keeping up with social life and settling in a new place can catch up to you, so let yourself feel those mix of emotions. Our mind is well-equipped to handle the stress, we just need to find the right ways to do it, so let me help you with that.
Find an outlet for your feelings – Our thoughts tend to get jumbled when they stay in for too long so it’s important to find a way to express them. You can communicate with those you trust, you can journal, or use any method of expression that takes the burden off your shoulders. Let me tell you why this is helpful. When you’re trying to solve a math problem and you’re doing all these mental calculations, the numbers get chaotic in your head and they confuse you even more. But when you write those numbers down on paper and see the calculations unfolding, it becomes so much easier to figure out the process. I think our feelings are like those math problems sometimes. They become so much clearer when they’re not just voices in our heads anymore, and when we say it out loud or write it out loud, it just makes figuring them out so much easier.
Create boundaries, and stick to them – Often times, we cave in to the pressures of making plans with friends when honestly we really just don’t want to go. We say yes cause it’s so much easier than saying no, but when the time comes that we actually have to go, we feel exhausted and we don’t have enough time because of the work load. This is why creating boundaries is so important for your mental peace, because it allows you to choose how you want to spend your time with no compulsion to agree to plans that don’t excite you or contribute to your betterment. If you want to skip out on a night of clubbing to relax in your room watching movies, do it. If you don’t want to go out to dinner because you’ve been spending a lot of money and it’s stressing you out, then don’t go. It’s okay to say no.
Plan healthy, but delicious meals – I cannot stress enough the difference I observe in my mood and mental health when I’m eating right. When I say healthy, don’t be fooled by a mental image of bland, green food. There are so many ways to make your meals healthy, affordable and delicious at the same time, it just takes some effort and research. But at the end it’s so worth it. The internet is truly your friend in this situation because there are countless recipes and videos all over YouTube, tiktok, etc that show how fun and therapeutic it can be to prepare good meals. I recently began making this banana oat pancake recipe that I saw on tiktok of course, and let me tell you, it has been a gamechanger. There are obvious nutritional benefits to eating right but it’s more than just that. It’s the feeling of being in control of your life, and the movement that comes with preparing your meals that can have an effect on your mental health. So trust me on this one and start with something small and simple and gradually build up from there.
Despite giving all this advice, there are moments where I don’t follow through with them myself, and I think that’s okay. Just make sure to pick yourself up eventually and not let anyone or anything else but you define how your days are spent. Additionally, everyone has their own way of dealing with stress, seasonal depression, or anything else that is deteriorating your mental health and peace so if these things don’t work for you don’t be confused, just figure out what works best for you.
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<p>I am an international student from Kathmandu, a small city in Nepal, currently pursuing my Bachelor's degree at DePauw University in Indiana. I'm majoring in Neuroscience and have a keen interest in psychology. There are a few things that I enjoy doing in my free time, like singing, trying out new recipes, reading, etc. I have fostered a lot of cats back at home in Nepal so yes I'm a cat lady, but I absolutely love dogs as well. I'm mostly an introvert but if you come talk to me I promise I won't be awkward, I do enjoy having conversations with people and learning new perspectives.</p>