By Solomon McKenzie 22’
The advice in the following post are offered independently by the author. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis of any sort, please contact CofC’s Counseling Center
I’m sure I don’t need to state the obvious, but college can be a very stressful time. Even before Covid-19 pandemic and the struggles of remote learning, an average student was expected to juggle succeeding in academia while facing financial challenges, social changes, and housing issues (to name a few). Dealing with these elements of stress is easier said than done, especially as the semester begins to hasten and workloads increase.
There are a few methods I’m going to share that I use during the semester to help manage my anxiety and mental health:
1. Taking care of your physical needs:
When I’m feeling overwhelmed or burnt out (something that has been unsurprisingly common during my thesis year) I tell myself to take a step back and assess my current mental state. Sometimes we have a bad habit of using tunnel vision when we’re overly stressed, this leads to us neglecting our other physical needs throughout the day. Having learned this not too long ago whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed I take a step back to make sure I’ve eaten recently, I’m hydrated and well rested. I’ve found that after taking care of my immediate needs my anxiety tends to lessen.
2. Support Systems:
Another strategy I use is to immerse myself within my support system and hobbies that I enjoy. When we’re overly stressed, we tend to self-isolate and let activities we enjoy fall by the wayside in lieu of dealing with our stressors. Speaking for myself, I know that doing this just further worsens my mental state. For me connecting to friends and family when I’m feeling anxious helps take some of the pressure off, but for you it’s important to figure out what activity eases your mental health.
3. Take a day:
Something that I’ve put into practice in my own life is taking much needed mental health days during the semester. Over the course of my seven years spent in college and grad school I’ve learned the hard way that stubbornly pushing through being in a state of complete burn out, or mental health difficulties only results in mistakes and more stress. Whether you take a mental health day or not, the work is probably still going to be there tomorrow, might as well spend a day regrouping and give it another shot tomorrow.
Solomon McKenzie is a 2nd year Community Planning and Design master’s candidate at the College of Charleston. He’s currently finishing his architectural thesis project on an innovative mixed-use low income housing complex.