Mental health and how to take care of yourself has been a highly discussed subject, especially because of the pandemic and quarantine. Many schools have gone virtual because of COVID-19. Although that is an alternative for in-person classes, it might not be the best for students’ mental health.
A campus-wide mental health day would only not help students regroup and get back on track, but it would also help staff and teachers.
Paula Adams, director of health promotion at WSU’s Cougar Health Services, said she personally encourages people to incorporate healthy mental health strategies into their daily lives. She said teachers are thinking about applying mental health strategies in the classroom.
“There are faculty who are doing different work to look at different teaching strategies that supports mental health in the classroom,” Adams said.
Adams said COVID-19 is definitely having an effect on people’s mental health.
“I think a lot of people, not just students, are experiencing more challenges due to COVID,” Adams said. “From that perspective, everything is different.”
Adams said we do not need new methods but to go back to the basics, like lifestyle changes.
“So all of the things we recommend, such as getting enough sleep, limiting social media, eating well, getting outside in the sunshine, all of those standard things that we do to take care of ourselves — now would be the time to get back to the basics and take care of ourselves,” Adams said.
Cristina McAllister, prevention science doctoral student, said it’s important for everyone to slow down.
“I think sometimes it’s really easy to feel this pressure to get stuff done and to work, work, work, do, do, do, and that will somehow will quell our anxieties or feelings of tiredness,” McAllister said.
McAllister said society puts extreme pressures on us to keep on going, whether it’s with work or school.
“The reality of being human beings is that we need rest more than our society tells us,” McAllister said.
McAllister said in regards to online schooling, people are being pulled at from different directions.
“With online schooling, there’s a lot that goes into it from a student perspective and instructor perspective,” McAllister said. “Instructors are being pushed to provide more engaging learning and what that often looks like is more work, individual work.”
She said this increase in work for students can be a lot, causing a drain on their mental health.
“One of the issues is that students are getting it [more individual work] from all of their classes and that can be really overwhelming,” McAllister said.
We need to slow down and take a moment to collect ourselves. If that means emailing your professors and asking for extensions, contacting WSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services, or taking a walk, so be it. Taking care of yourself before taking care of your work is the best way to be productive and take care of your mental health at the same time.