As you finish your November assignments and prepare to head home for Thanksgiving, now is the perfect time to reflect on your mental health and, if necessary, talk to your family about it.
How is your mental health? What do you need?
It’s understandable to feel tired, burnt out, and in need of a break, especially at this point in the semester. It’s important to check in with yourself: What else are you feeling? What can you do to better support you and your mental health? Here are some ideas:
- Make a list of self-care activities and carry it with you in your phone or wallet. Include things that relax you and fill your cup.
- Schedule self-care in your planner or calendar often. Make it a non-negotiable.
- Prioritize sleep. You need at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night, even if that huge project is due tomorrow.
- Revisit your boundaries. Do you need to make new ones or adjust your old ones?
- Lean on your friends and loved ones. You don’t have to go through these stressful times alone.
- Consider seeking mental health care. It’s never too late in the semester to start seeing a professional.
Talking to your family about mental health
Consider talking to your family about your mental health and about mental health in general. This sounds scary, but it can be beneficial to be open and honest with your family about how you’re feeling. It can even open the door for your family members to help you access care; if a family member knows that you’re struggling, they may be willing to help you find a mental health professional or to help you with the cost of mental health services.
Here are some of our tips for talking to your family about mental health:
- Approach it as a normal topic, even if it may not be normal for your family to discuss. Your normalizing it can help them normalize it, too.
- Introduce it as a topic of concern at your school or in the news if that will help you get the conversation started. Here’s a good article about the long waitlists at college counseling centers.
- Talk about it one-on-one, not with the entire family. This can make the situation less scary for you.
- Bring a friend to support you. You don’t have to have the conversation alone! It may calm your fears to have a friend sitting next to you while you talk to your family.
- Share what you want to share. You’re not under any obligation to give them every last detail of your experiences. Only share what you’re comfortable sharing.
Please take this suggestion with a grain of salt. We realize that not all families are accepting and open about topics like this, and that it’s not safe to discuss mental health in some households. We encourage you to use your best judgment and discretion, and if it’s not an okay topic in your house, consider talking to another loved one about what’s going on.