As the seasons shift the students into a dreary (and lately, foggy) stupor, it isn’t shocking to be stuck in a similar mental mindset. The winter atmosphere can bring increased mental strain for many, and being a full-time college student can add even more unneeded stress. Mental health days are important to consider throughout the quarter — even taking an hour off whenever possible can help recharge motivation and (at least) lower some stress levels for the day.
As the midterm influx begins, time to take care of oneself can seem scarce. Luckily, there are more methods to promote mental relaxation via online sites and applications that are perfect to check on-the-go or in between study hours. Here are some of my personal favorites:
Headspace is a free app available for both iOS and Android products. My own personal recommendation, Headspace effectively teaches meditation and mindfulness even during times of intense stress. The app offers meditation techniques for all types of people and situations — from those having trouble sleeping to students suffering over an upcoming midterm. Personally, the app has taught me valuable and quick lessons in managing stress, such as taking 30-minute breaks in between long periods of reading or allowing myself to go through breathing routines when I am having an especially difficult time doing homework. Cleansing the mind for even just a minute will rejuvenate the soul and work ethic. This app will give a framework or routine for better thinking patterns and stress management.
Moodnotes is a low-cost app ($3.99) for both iOS and Android products. The app gives someone the capability of tracking their own mood throughout the months and write notes on why they may be feeling that way. Understanding where one’s emotions originate from will increase mental awareness of one’s own mood and how to better manage emotions in the long-run. For example, I could identify that I feel stress when attending my harder classes on Wednesdays; realizing this is where my stress is at its highest, I can begin to develop healthy coping mechanisms in order to combat it effectively. This way, I can keep up with my work and stay focused on the material that I need to absorb. Additionally, this app can also assist in identifying negative patterns to develop more positive outcomes for the future. It all serves to promote a better understanding of oneself and create an easier internal environment.
Stop, Breathe & Think
Lastly, one more free app for iOS and Android products, Stop, Breathe & Think is another helpful meditation app that recommends certain exercises based on how someone feels at the moment. They can practice short exercises in between tasks or just check in on their current emotions. This app can also be accessed via web browser, making it accessible on the run and during those late Geisel hours. Each exercise is marked with time limits and information cards that can give the reader an understanding of how this will improve your emotional wellness. Additionally, there is a step-by-step guide on learning the basics of meditation and how it can be incorporated into the most hectic of schedules.
Other noteworthy apps that can be found on the app store include :
Calm (Free to download)
Pacifica (Free to download)
Rain Rain (Free to download)
Centered (Free to download)
Finally, always remember: just breathe in slowly and remember who you are. You have made it through all the hardships in life thus far, and you are certainly going to overcome whatever life throws at you. I believe in you!