This week might be a little different from the regularly scheduled programming. Honestly, I don’t know why I thought I was qualified enough to write a column on mental health when my own journey with mental health is far from over.
As I’m writing this, I’m lying in the dark, on the floor, on a tear soaked pillow completely unable to get up and make my bed. It’s a Sunday, and I have school tomorrow, yet I haven’t fully recovered from the past week. I have overdue projects that have been staring at me through my backpack, but I haven’t had the strength to start them. It’s been one of those days where I’ve done every single thing I could possibly do to avoid working, and the pressure is painful. It’s the same pressure that I’ve been feeling for weeks, months even, and I’m only a freshman — I can’t imagine how much pressure the seniors have been going through lately. People say it gets easier, but I’m not sure if I believe them.
With everything that’s been going on recently and with what’s still to come, there’s a lot of strain on the students at Berkeley High School. And for the sake of us all, I wish I had an answer. A cure for all things stress-related, a newfound miracle. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything of the sort, but what I do have are the things that have been getting me through recently, some rays of sunshine I’ve been focusing on, instead of the shadows, that will hopefully help any of you who are struggling to remain optimistic right now:
Summer is just around the corner! For some of us, that might mean seeing family who we haven’t in a while, or maybe starting a new job, travelling to new places, meeting new people, finally having time to ourselves. Whatever your summer may look like, one thing it does mean is sunshine. I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, almost any day can be improved by taking some time and sitting in the sun. Spending time with friends! I know it’s the most basic of them all, but that’s because it’s so effective. I can confidently say that I would not be where I am today without the help and encouragement of my friends. Many days, the only things that get me through are the warm hugs and reassuring eyes of my favorite people. So, if you’re stuck in a rut, try reaching out to your friends and hanging out with them. You might be surprised at how quickly they can cheer you up.
Getting lost in a new hobby can always help to take your mind off of things. Maybe try learning a new instrument, joining a club, doing things outside of your comfort zone. If you’ve always had something you’ve wanted to try, try it! It’ll give you something to be proud of and hopefully you’ll be able to feel good about it.
Those are my top suggestions for getting through stressful periods. I know they’re not by any means surprising, and I strongly encourage you to look for your own rays of hope. Just remember that it can be very easy to get lost in the negatives and neglect the positive aspects of life during difficult times which can end up making them worse.
Stop and smell the roses, spend time with people you love and care for, keep your mind active with curiosity and wonder. Remember that life’s struggles are only temporary.