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5 tips for dealing with mental health as a student

INSTAGRAM @__angelicadiaz   
Angelica is a junior finishing her undergrad at Oklahoma State University. She is majoring in wildlife biology with an emphasis on her pre vet option. She was born and raised in Moore, Oklahoma, (yes there are a lot of tornadoes).Growing up, Angelica always had a love for animals, however she didn't decide to go into the veterinary field until she was a senior in high school. She now aspires to become a vet who specializes in wildlife/exotics, which she decided after her amazing experience during a zoo internship last summer. When Angelica is not in the library, she enjoys hanging out with her sorority sisters, reading thriller books, and exploring the amazing outdoors with her fur babies.

Mental health is something we don’t tend to acknowledge enough, which is scary, knowing it has the ability to make or break us. As students wanting to pursue a career in this industry, we experience many obstacles that have an impact on our mental health. We have to be aware, stick together, and help each other at all costs. Throughout the years of dealing with mental health, as a student facing various obstacles, I have found some ways to cope with the roller coaster of my mental health.

1. Find a support system.

When I first became an undergrad, I felt alone and out of place. Being a minority at a predominantly white institution did not help that feeling either, until I met the girls I’m blessed to call my sorority sisters today. You may think you can cope with the stress of classes and anything else on your own, but that is where you’d be completely wrong. Knowing you are not alone is a refreshing feeling while attending college and stepping into a new chapter in your life. You do not think a flower can grow without a little water, do you?

2. Do things that excite you.

When I feel extremely tired and down for no reason, it’s not because of lack of sleep, it is the lack of excitement in my life. What I mean is that you should be doing things that excite you, make you energized, and joyful. Rather than doing what does not excite and ending up tired and upset, be spontaneous, take a hike and enjoy the beauty of nature, read that super cool book you’ve been wanting to read, paint, or even learn how to cook or bake. It’s okay to take a little break from school and the stress of the real world and go play Just Dance with your roommates.

3. There is no healthy mind without a healthy lifestyle.

In order for me to clear my mind of all the stress and any negativity, I have taken up running. I have also tried yoga and regular exercising at a gym. A tiny break to clear up all of the negative thoughts out of your body is all you need and can even enhance your brain function for the homework or studying you have. When I was younger, I remember waking up on a Saturday morning to Spanish music blaring and my mom cleaning the house for fun. Keeping a clean living space can make you feel like everything in your life is together or not as chaotic as it seems. Now look at me, cleaning my apartment for fun while listening to Spanish music on a Saturday morning!

4. Enjoy days of self-care/self-love.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a day off to practice self-care. We all have a different definition of self-care, ranging from binging Netflix all day while cuddling with your dogs to taking a bath and doing a face mask. What really causes our mental health to deteriorate is the unkind way we treat ourselves. You can think of three negative things about yourself easily, but how about thinking of three positive things about yourself instead. Practice this as often as you can because these days can really save your sanity.

5. Reach out to others.

When life throws obstacles at you, it can get very overwhelming and feel like you are alone with no help. However, that is not true.  In order to succeed in life, we cannot just sit with ourselves and think for hours about how to get through something. The most important thing I have learned is to not be afraid to reach out. Some of us are very comfortable with being stuck with our own thoughts, or if you are like me you want to try and do everything on your own. The end result of that scenario is only hurting yourself. Step out of your comfort zone a bit and better yourself.

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