Breathe in, breathe out: help is here

At this time of the semester, it seems like everything begins to fall apart.

School is becoming more demanding with essays, projects and the upcoming exams of finals week. Now more than ever, personal relationships are strained due to the stress and maybe life is not going the way you hoped. We at The Pacer are here to tell you this: it is okay.

With the recent release of the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, it is especially important to let others know that they are important and life would not be the same without them, despite bullying, stress and other factors telling them otherwise. Here are some tips we have for when you feel stressed, anxious, depressed or even suicidal.

Nothing feels better than to walk through nature. A recent study from the University of Michigan and Edge Hill University in England shows that people simply walking outside with nature were associated with significantly less depression and that it reduced the negative effects of stress. Though nature walks do help, they are not the overall cure. Take a walk around campus and absorb the scenery. This theme from the transcendental era of literature may help you find yourself the way it did for Henry David Thoreau and others.

Leave motivational or inspirational quotes in places, such as a bathroom mirror, so that you can always see it as an uplifting reminder. Repetitive stimuli, in the form of positive phrases, usually trains the brain to believe what it has seen repeatedly. One member of the Pacer Staff recalls having a mirror in her high school that specifically said, “You’re beautiful,” and that students would go to that specific mirror to take selfies.

There is no shame in seeing a therapist or psychiatrist. If you need to relieve yourself of the weight on your shoulders that has become more serious, seeing a professional is the first step. You might be prescribed medication as well to help with any diagnosed mental illnesses, and there is no shame in that either. Do anything that will help you feel better. Professionals are available to talk to at the Student Health and Counseling Services on the edge of campus by the Phases and Cooper Hall. It is free and appointments can be made by calling 731-881-750.

Try to find time to meet with friends or classmates outside of classes. Even though the semester is winding down and the classwork is beginning to pile up, socialization is just as important as ever. Your friends may even be able to offer you a safe place to talk through your feelings.

List five reasons why you are alive every day. Reasons can be anywhere from, “I am alive because I love my family and friends,” or, “I am alive because I really want to see this movie.” Another similar activity is listing five reasons for needing to be alive, like listing, “I need to be alive so that my family will not be sad.”

Remember that basic tasks to take care of your health are not unreasonable. Your homework can wait 30 minutes while you shower, 20 minutes while you eat lunch and that water break can help you destress for even a few minutes from that overwhelming to-do list. It is okay to go for a run to blow off steam or spend a few extra minutes playing with your animals. Please know that when life is too much, your daily tasks do not have to be sacrificed.

Lastly, if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or have suicidal tendencies, you can text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or call or chat online with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or Despite what life may be throwing at you, you are important and needed. Life would not be the same without you.

With these tips and ideas at hand for when life is being difficult, we hope you will be able to get through the next few weeks of end-of-semester stress with as much peace as possible. Always remember to just breathe and embrace life knowing that you are not alone and that it will all be over in a few short weeks.

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