CONTENT WARNING: This blog touches on the topic of mental health. If you’d like to reach out to someone or if you know someone who needs mental health support, you may call the NMCH Crisis Hotline through the following numbers: Toll-Free Landline (1553, 1800-1888-1553), GLOBE/TM (0966-351-4518, 0917-899-8727), DOH Helpline Directory (https://bit.ly/DOHhelpline2022).
We all know that mental health disorders have been a rampant issue in today’s generation with different factors, such as social media usage and the changing times. According to the Department of Health (DOH), there are at least 3.6 million Filipinos who are suffering with mental health illnesses during the pandemic. The root cause is the fear of the frightening coronavirus which led to millions of unfortunate deaths.
Other reasons for the increase of mental health conditions were: being forced to stay inside their homes, stopping any physical contact with everyone, and facing their computers and gadgets 24/7 as all types of communication were transferred digitally. One of those most affected populations were the students of this generation who were compelled to start studying through online classes, modules, and activities.
At first, many people pointed out how it was more convenient for many students as they did not have to leave their homes to attend classes and study. It was also less time-consuming, and many would be able to save up money. However, to think that this was the case for every student was absurd. Many students, like myself, struggled to learn and cope with the new setup. It was definitely harder to stay grounded in reality.
Waking up to turn on the gadgets for classes and listening to the teachers became burdensome because many homes lacked a productive learning space. Students were tasked to study and do homework almost every day, but they were, at the same time, sons or daughters who had household responsibilities. So, achieving a proper school-life balance was almost impossible to do.
Surely, the majority of the students who have experienced these hardships are happy that the era of the pandemic is almost over. We are finally having face-to-face classes and being allowed to see our families, friends, and classmates. However, it is important to note that we are not all immune from feeling overwhelmed and listless, especially since this is another big change in our lives. As we return from isolation and quarantine, we should be more responsible for our mental hygiene.
Here are some tips that could help you, from one fellow student to another!
Stay physically fit
We all know how important it is to be mentally healthy, but it is equally important to stay physically healthy. This will not only help you in feeling confident and boost your self-esteem, but it also will help your body release endorphins and serotonin. These chemicals have been proven to boost your mood! Not only that, but you’ll also get other health benefits such as having energy throughout the day; you’ll be able to sleep better at night; it will sharpen your memories which will give you an upper hand in your students; and will generally revamp your lifestyle in a more relaxed and positive way. So, walk or jog your heart away!
Have social connections
It’s normal to feel awkward talking and hanging out with friends or different people now that we’ve been isolated from literally our closest friends to our closest relatives for almost three whole years. You have to understand that although it may be hard to adjust and be more sociable, companionship will lessen the feeling of isolation and loneliness and will give you a sense of belongingness and purpose in life. Getting connected with people can be done in many different ways! Maybe you can join a school organization so that you’ll be able to meet new people, you can indulge in nightlife after a major exam to relieve stress, or you can even go to the movies with your friends just for fun!
Get some alone time
Although having connections is paramount to sustaining your mental hygiene, you must also be aware of your social battery. Don’t ever tire yourself out from socializing continuously. Look at it this way, a battery will deplete faster than its average rate if you drain it regularly. It is much like socializing; manage your interactions with other people but ensure you get enough charge for your social battery!
You must be able to give yourself some alone time for your personal growth and development, like doing some of your favorite things such as binge-watching movies, eating out by yourself, reading a book, meditating, and more! Remember, never underestimate the power of solitude.
Get the right amount of sleep
It’s almost always impossible to have a full eight-hour sleep when you’re a full-time student, which may be because of the heavy workload that teachers give, or bad time management. Regardless, it is important that you prioritize enough sleep to avoid sleep deprivation which can negatively affect our brain’s cognitive skills. Not only that, but it will also be physiologically disadvantageous as lack of sleep would lead to less energy, weakened immunity, and many more.
Contrary to lack of sleep, it would be best if you also steer clear of having too much of it. So rather than lying in bed all day, it is better to stay active and productive!
Stand your ground
It is easy to get lost in the many schoolwork, hobbies, and tasks that we need or want to do. An advice that I can proudly give to you is to make a simple checklist in your head or on a piece of paper every morning when you wake up. This will help you feel more grounded and in control of the day ahead of you. Take baby steps until you’re confident enough to take bigger ones. Don’t worry too much when you fail to do something. Pat yourself in the back and say, let’s try again, shall we?”