The Daily Gamecock

Column: Tips for mental well-being

Everything is kind of chaotic right now, and even if it wasn’t, taking care of your mental health can be hard. Regardless of what kind of mental illness you have, or if you have any at all, there are a few things that can improve mental well-being that range from one simple action to a few simple steps. These won’t cure anything, but they could make you feel a little better.

  • Make your bed in the morning. You can feel satisfied knowing you got one chore done first thing in the morning, and if other tasks become overwhelming throughout the day, this is one less thing to worry about. As said by Admiral William McRaven, author of "Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...and Maybe the World," in his 2014 commencement address for the University of Texas at Austin, “It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.” Plus, at the end of the day, you know you can go to sleep in a well-made bed.
  • Prepare meals, or at least think ahead of what you’ll have for dinner. It doesn’t have to be every day, or even all the time, but think ahead on what there will be for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It could be something you make ahead of time, something you make right before you eat or take out or fast food. If you know where your next meal is coming from, it will cause you less anxiety towards mealtime. Plus, if you make your own food or meal prep, you control the ingredients and the portion sizes, which can lead to more nutritional foods than something from a fast food restaurant. This can give you a better sense of self-control. If you feel you need to, eat healthier, which can help with a number of mental illnesses and with general well-being. 
  • Talk to someone. It might feel like you’re annoying your friends or family with your problems, or you’re bringing them down, but you’re not. They genuinely care about your well-being because they’re a part of your life. That doesn’t mean to only use certain people for venting, but just simply telling someone, “Hey, I had a rough day,” or “I’m having a hard time right now,” lets them know how you’re doing. If you feel comfortable enough, you can have a sit down and chat about why you’re having a rough day or why times are difficult for you. Things are a lot harder to deal with alone, and the emotional support of those around you does help. 
  • Find a hobby or a club. This could be painting, knitting, yoga, cycling, running, collecting something or even playing a certain video game. Those who participate in meaningful and enjoyable hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress and low mood. This gives a break from the day, and from both the stress of school and work. When you carve out a certain part in the day for a hobby, you know it’s just for you.