Breaking Down the Wall: Taking Care of Yourself the Fun Way

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When classes, homework, jobs and everything else builds up into a wall, it’s hard to know where to begin to hammer at it. With that much emotional weight, it is difficult to feel as if there is light at the end of the tunnel. Well, there are ways to enjoy organizing your priorities while making them beneficial to your overall health as well. 

INDIVIDUAL

PODCASTS – Sometimes, there isn’t enough time in the day to set aside time for yourself. An easy fix to that is finding those moments in between large activities to break out your phone and move out of one mindset into another. Spotify has thousands of podcast choices. In the mood to expand your knowledge? MSU students have suggested Hardcore History and Hidden Brain. Need to get out of your life and into another? Try a new story with Lore or Gossip.

MUSIC – There are some things that always bring on a smile. When a day seems extremely rough, those old classic songs can always turn a mood around. Create a playlist entirely of dance songs. Create another with all the songs to sing in the shower. Use that music to have a mini-dance party. Who cares about looking crazy when you feel good? Plus, like podcasts, using music to improve a bad mood can be done in a short amount of time anywhere you are. 

PLANTING – Taking care of plants is a basic task that also promotes many of the same emotions as animal therapy, giving purpose and satisfaction. The American Horticultural Therapy Association describes horticultural therapy as a means to “help improve memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills and socialization.” Many plants give back to the needs of a person as well. Specifically, lavender is often associated with relieving stress. Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to mean doing things for only your benefit. By helping the world, you can help yourself, too.

SOCIAL 

YOGA – Exercise can help physical and mental strength. In the article “38 Health Benefits of Yoga,” Yoga Journal concluded that “consistent yoga practice improved depression and led to a significant increase in serotonin levels” (the chemical that makes you feel happy). You can knock out two needs in one, increase daily activity and decrease stress. Who doesn’t want to forget about midterms for a while? Different types of yoga classes are offered at the IM gyms, so you can pick what works best for your schedule. 

APPS – There are many different apps out there that can help lower anxiety. ABC News put together an article on “7 apps to support your mental health and mindfulness.” There are some specifically for distraction like Happify, a series of games to help increase serotonin levels while entertaining. If talking through a situation helps, apps such as Talk space allow texting with a licensed therapist. It’s simple to track your mood with What’s Up?, an outlet for journaling, ranking emotions and coming up with solutions to everyday problems. 

NETFLIX AND CHILL – Having people around always allows for a mood to be lifted. This works especially well when there is no stress about entertaining your guest or communicating. Pick out a favorite show, throw some popcorn in the microwave and grab a million blankets. Enjoy your favorite things with your favorite people. Being close to others has been proven to aid mental health and boost positive thoughts. Being with another person also provides an opportunity to talk through what’s going on within a comfortable environment. 

 When it comes to mental health, keep in mind that getting better will take time. By adding these simple actions to your daily routine, the cracks in the wall will open a window and eventually a doorway. Any of these ideas and more can lead to a lifetime of better habits and a better you.