How to stay healthy during midterms

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With midterms in full swing, there are exams and papers piling up. This can have severe effects on mental health of those stressed out and anxious about grades, lack of time and personal factors outside of class. It is essential to understand what mental health is and why it is vital maintaining a healthy mindset going into stressful events.

Jennifer Henry, director of personal counseling at Maryville University, is a strong advocate for proper mental health care stating, “Mental health includes many aspects such as emotional, psychological and social well-being and affects how we think, feel and behave. It’s important to care for our mental health because mental well-being is integrally connected to all areas of wellness and impacts learning, happiness, physical health and relationships.”

Learning some helpful tips for time and stress management may also help grades and overall health, as well. Knowing these options can help students notice symptoms of anxiety and stress in themselves and friends. In testing these tips, students may find what works best for them individually.

“Thinking back, what helped me most throughout college was having limits and boundaries with time management and what I would say yes to and what I needed to hold off on. I was pretty disciplined in making sure my school work came first and nothing would pull me off track and possibly stress me out. I still worked part time and was involved and had fun, but it’s important to find that balance,” said Caitlin Layer-Gaskell, personal counselor.

Often, the most significant stressor for students is the thought of failing. This can set a student up for struggles throughout the rest of the semester. It is important to get help through the variety of resources around campus that are available to students.  

“Make sure that if you have any concerns about the material or study skills you’ve met with a tutor or you set up an appointment with the professor to clarify and that you have good time management and organization,” said Layer-Gaskell. “ The personal counseling office offers a MindSpa every Monday outside of Kaldi’s where we do various crafts and stress relief activities from 5-6:30 p.m. As well as, Relaxation Station on Tuesday nights for students to come rest and study in a calming environment with music and aromatherapy.”

More tips for improving mental health include,

  • Physical activity
  • Eating healthy
  • Taking study breaks structured with relaxation
  • Meditating and social interaction with friends
  • Getting enough sleep

“I think it is important to think about the “whole person” when it comes to wellness and stress management. There are six areas of wellness: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, occupational and social. The amount of time you spend in each area affects all the other areas and if you neglect areas, the result is often stress, anxiety or different negative outcomes,” said Henry.

For more information about the personal counseling office hours and services or to schedule an appointment visit their website or stop by the personal counseling office located in the library. Online resources are also available on the website linked above for after-hours, weekends and breaks.

Maryville University counselors (from left to right) Verne Wilson, Caitlin Layer-Gaskell and Jennifer Henry. Photo courtesy of Maryville University.
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