Category Archives: Mental Health

9 feel-good songs to (you guessed it) help you feel good in quarantine

By Thea Gay

During this time of tension, uncertainty, and stress here are nine feel-good songs that you can dance, sing, chill or relax to! Enjoy this small playlist, be safe, and take care of yourself.

  1. Keep It Gold / Surfaces
  2. Daydream / The Aces
  3. Valentine / COIN
  4. Levitating / Dua Lipa
  5. Glitter / Benee
  6. My Dude / Litany
  7. Sweet / Bren Joy, Landon Sears
  8. Golden / Harry Styles
  9. Juicy / Doja Cat


Featured image: Benee (Source: Isolated Nation)

Practicing Self-Care at Home

By Avery Serven

 Over the past month, social distancing and working from home have become the norm across the country. In times like these, it’s normal for everyone to have a lot on their mind. Therefore, practicing self-care at home is essential. And no, this doesn’t mean just taking a bubble bath every now and then; it’s about actively practicing self-care. Staying home all day can take a toll on your mental health, but there are a few things you can do to put yourself first. Here are some of my best tips for actively practicing self-care at home!

1- Keep doing the things you love

When we have unprecedented times like these, it’s easy to keep your activities to the bare minimum, whether they involve doing schoolwork or working from home. Remember to continue doing the things that you are passionate about (as long as they don’t put you or anyone else in harm’s way). This can be anything from running to gardening to doing yoga. And it doesn’t always have to be something that is physically active––it can also mean watching a favorite childhood movie, reading a new book, or listening to an interesting podcast. You can also take the opportunity to try something new! Whatever it is, make sure you keep it up so that you’re continuing to make time for yourself outside of work or school. Even just ten minutes a day of an activity will serve as a much-needed break from your regular routine.

2- Take time to relieve stress and anxiety

Since everything has shifted online, it may be a hard adjustment to not have in-person mental health resources. Luckily, there are a ton of apps out there that are really great for helping with meditation and mental health. One of my favorites is Stop, Breathe & Think. This meditation app is personalized, greeting you with a check-in page upon opening the app. It asks how you’re feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally, and then recommends meditations for you. Most of the meditations are under ten minutes, so they’re easy to squeeze into your day. Headspace is another great one that can serve as a relaxing escape from your daily routine. The app has group meditations, as well as exercise-focused meditations to get you moving in a mindful way. Similar to Breathe, there are a ton of different topics on Headspace, so you’re sure to find something you’re interested in.

3- Get outside (while practicing social distancing)

Obviously, social distancing is very important to remember. However, since it’s springtime and many places are closed, you might use this as an opportunity to go for a hike or a walk. I’ve already explored some new areas around my house, and I’m so glad I did. Spending alone time in nature can have many unintended benefits. Whenever I spend time outside, I find that I’m usually able to clear my head of any anxiety and stress that I may be feeling. Just the other day I went for a run in a new area, and it was a great way to get out of the house and unplug. If you live in an area that allows you to explore the outdoors, I would definitely recommend taking the time to do so!

4- Try to stay active

As I mentioned before, your choice of activity doesn’t have to involve doing something physically active––but it also can’t hurt to keep up with exercising! Exercise is a great way to keep yourself busy while you’re at home, and you won’t regret it once you’re done 🙂 Since there are countless videos online that cater to any and all of your fitness needs, it’s easily accessible, especially if you don’t have equipment. Staying active and healthy is an essential part of self-care; luckily, it’s very accessible while staying home.

5- Maintain a routine

In addition to trying new things and taking breaks throughout your day, try to stick to some kind of daily routine. For me, keeping a routine is essential for maintaining my mental health, especially in a time like this. Maintaining a routine doesn’t necessarily mean doing the same exact thing every day, but rather trying to keep a few things in daily life constant. This can be something very small or something big. Personally, I have been trying to start my day the same every morning: waking up, making my bed, getting dressed, and making breakfast. While these things seem like a given, the consistency of having the same steps every morning helps to keep me on track. This way, I’ll have the same productive mindset that I had when I was back on campus. It doesn’t have to be big, but some version of a daily routine might be helpful!

I hope you found these tips for practicing self-care at home useful. In these unsteady times, remember to make time for your mental health. The most important thing right now is keeping yourself and your loved ones healthy and happy!

I Did a Gratitude Journal for a Month, and Here’s What I Learned

By Riya Gopal

Psychologists and neuroscientists have created headlines everywhere explaining the health benefits of gratitude. Between creating an increase in overall happiness, deeper sleep, and reduction of cellular inflammation, who knew that a simple act of appreciation could go so far? However, gratitude is not just a half-hearted “thank you” to the people around you. True gratitude requires taking time out of your day, even if just a couple of minutes, to really reflect on what creates a genuine sense of joy in your everyday life. Of course, after reading so many articles on the benefits of this practice, I simply had to try it.

My intentions towards the beginning of my practice were very intrinsic in nature. Would this make my skin clearer? Would I win a million dollars? I decided to write down five things I was grateful for each morning, first thing when I woke up. The first morning, I excitedly opened my empty blue journal, flipping it to a clean sheet and taking out a colorful purple pen. As my pen touched the paper, this inexplicable change in quality shifted my mind from my intrinsic thoughts to the atmosphere around me. I began to notice things I hadn’t noticed before. I was suddenly so grateful for the way the sunlight streamed into my room. I was grateful for the tea that was sitting next to me, steaming aromatically from my cup. I was grateful for this moment of peace, in a still room, my legs crisscrossed underneath me. Paying such active attention to such pleasant feelings gave me this incredible rush of joy, one that is only experienced when in touch with genuine appreciation. Since that day, I can say that my joy has only grown more as I have continued this practice.

In addition to such genuine happiness, I also noticed something about myself. I had a tendency to appreciate others while neglecting what I loved about myself. While looking back at my past entries, I came to the realization that there has to be a balance between internal and external gratitude. I focused so much on the external, yet felt like I would be cocky if I wrote down what I liked about myself. This, my friends, is a toxic female habit. We as women tend to minimize our self-worth, feeling as though highlighting our strengths makes us less humble people. We deny and deflect compliments rather than simply saying “thank you.” Confident women get told by men that they are “bitches.” I never truly understood how much this vicious gender dynamic impacted my ability to express self-gratitude, but I embraced this revelation and changed my ways of appreciation. Of course, my external gratitude still remained, but I began to congratulate myself on my accomplishments, or tell myself that I was beautiful.

Being able to express both of these means of gratitude on paper changed me as a person. It has only been a month, but I already feel my chin rise higher than normal when I walk. I raise my hand more in class. I express how proud I am of myself. Not only has my relationship with myself changed, but my relationship with others has blossomed. I take the time out of my day to call my loved ones, or stay up with friends and really listen to what they have to say. I hug people a little harder before parting ways. So, pick up a blank journal near you, pick up a colorful pen, and really tap into what you love about yourself and what is around you. You will be surprised by how much you learn about yourself.

The Joke That’s No Laughing Matter

By Sabrina Huston

There’s been a joke going around social media lately. “I have PTSD-President Trump Stress Disorder. Impeachment is the cure.” The joke has become popular enough that there is now a t-shirt for sale on websites from sunfrog to amazon including Prime shipping. Articles about “President Trump Stress Disorder” have appeared in numerous publications, including USA Today, the Huffington Post, the New York Daily News, and the International Business Times, often in a mocking light. To use an acronym such as PTSD, which has significant meaning, for this political joke and reality is despicable and inhuman.

Political anxiety is real. Many people are concerned about losing health care or family members and Republicans in Washington continue to ignore the calls of the people. Politically caused anxiety, while it can often be debilitating, is not the same as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and conflating the two is helping no one.

People seeking therapy for anxiety caused by the possibility of their parents or siblings being deported an increasing occurrence should not be mislead into believing they have PTSD. That misbelief can hurt chances of therapy being successful or helpful at all.

But the main problem here is not the serious discussion taking place on some media sites and within the psychological community over how to best assist those who fear family separation through ICE. The problem is that mental illness, especially PTSD, has increasingly become a punchline.

Triggers are a real thing for many people. Some people with depression are triggered by graphic descriptions of violence, as it can remind them of episodes of self-harm. Many veterans with PTSD are triggered by loud explosions, such as fireworks, which can send them into traumatic memories. Memories of my suicide attempts are often triggered by classical music. Not all triggers make sense, but they are all legitimate and should be recognized as such. Despite this, a popular meme has been making fun of people who object to racism or graphic imagery with the phrase “triggered” overlaid on an often blurred picture. The mocking of a serious mental health concern has caused many college classes to stop giving trigger warnings due to a lack of understanding by the administration and professors as to what triggers and trigger warnings are. A trigger warning, or content warning, is a brief blurb of what may cause or trigger someone’s mental illness symptoms. For example, someone with PTSD will often relive a traumatic memory, including emotions, compulsions, and feelings of anxiety or panic. To not give someone a warning and the opportunity to avoid or mentally prepare themselves for whatever is coming is indeed inhuman and uncaring.

Mental health is a serious issue, especially in the US. In 2014 42,826 people committed suicide in the United States, and 383,000 visited emergency rooms from self-inflicted wounds. The number of suicides is still rising, with an estimated 44,193 committing suicide in 2016. Despite this epidemic, we still treat mental health as a joke, on both the right and the left, as can be seen by the “triggered” memes and the “Impeachment is the cure” t-shirt. Mental health is a serious issue that affects people of all races, genders, sexualities, socio-economic backgrounds, and ages. It is not a joke, it is not something that can be used as a scapegoat for gun violence, nor something to be turned into a horror trope. It is a serious issue far too many people are afraid to deal with properly, often for fear of being mocked or harassed. So, the next time you think of reposting a “triggered” meme, or saying you have “President Trump Stress Disorder,” remember this: you’re making it harder for people to take care of themselves.