Just keep swimming: Taking time for self-care

Ways to self-care, find positivity during stressful academic times and cultivate motivation

As midterms wrap up and the number of days left in the semester starts to dwindle, the environment around Trinity may feel something akin to that of a graveyard. This change in energy and pace can often cause burnout and increase instances of stress.

Studies show that around 40 to 45% of American college students feel “more than the average” stress levels, causing them to feel more pressure and possibly experience additional mental health disorders. In addition, college students juggle many responsibilities which can cause them to not only feel pressure from school life, but in many other areas as well.

Mackenzie Dupréy, a first-year intended psychology major, shared that her stress levels have not been too bad. Even though some days are not as great as others, she has found many ways to prioritize herself while also balancing school and her social life. Dupréy also shared she has been more mindful about things she needs to work on, such as her sleeping and other daily habits.

“I feel good here at Trinity. I am rushing Greek life organizations right now and have met so many people that I really like. When it comes down to taking care of myself, I make sure I take the time each day to check in with myself and ask how I am doing,” Dupréy said.

Normalizing taking breaks and genuinely processing any stress or whatever else you might be going through is crucial. For Dupréy, finding little things that improve her day-to-day life has both increased positivity and mental well-being. Her self-care consists of outdoor walks, listening to music, appreciating nature around her and free writing. She is also enrolled in an aerobic fitness class on campus which she said has helped her.

Sorin Wechsler Kelly, a first-year intended biology major and Chinese studies minor, from Houston, TX, said he has found many fun things to do when he has down time. Kelly shared that his mental health is at a peak low when school is really stressful and that he hopes to work more on his time management skills. He also noticed that his mental health fluctuates and is very “wave-like.”

“When I get the opportunity to self-care and relax I really enjoy it. I love taking care of plants, playing video games in the dorm and reading. I love reading light novels and even fantasy books. I definitely need and love my dwindle-down moments,” Kelly said.

Some tips in terms of self-care and finding motivation when times get more stressful can be as simple as journaling, planning out one’s week and trusting you will get through it. Counseling services provide resources and assistance to students virtually or in-person that cater to the well-being of students. In addition, mental health awareness weeks, hosted by certain clubs and organizations throughout the year, help individuals de-stress and relax through yoga, meditation and self–care tips. Reaching out to professors, academic advisors or even peers to lean on is also a great way to find support.

Taking care of oneself is a term often used to comfort oneself, but this might look different for many people. While some people might love to work out and destress, others need time to simply do nothing.