Story by Sarah Sabatke ♦ Illustrations by Claire Richardson
The end of spring semester can be a difficult time of year. Finals are coming, possibly graduation. There’s summer work or internship plans to make and extracurricular activities to wrap up. Sometimes, the workload can feel overwhelming.
Mizzou has many campus resources available to help students navigate those pressure-filled moments and improve their wellbeing. We caught up with representatives from two of those groups to share the tips and lessons they’ve learned along the way.
How to take care of yourself during stressful times
From Kira Schneider, co-president of Active Minds Peer Educators
Get plenty of sleep. Your body needs to be well rested to function efficiently.
Eat balanced meals. Even if you are extremely stressed, ensure you eat balanced meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Aim to include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in your larger meals (but also treat yourself to some ice cream and whatever snack you are craving to reward yourself).
Have some fun. It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment, but make time for yourself so you don’t burn out. Consider having dinner with friends, taking a bath, working out, reading a book — anything that brings you joy.
From Danielle West, president of Mizzou Student Suicide Prevention Coalition:
For mental health, set a timer and work for 25 minutes. Take a five-minute break. Repeat. Stand up and walk around. Listen to classical piano music to focus. Reward yourself for accomplishing goals.
For physical health, pack snacks for you and your study groups. Go to MizzouRec or walk laps around Ellis Library. Schedule yourself enough sleep and take power naps. Stretch your body to help blood-flow. Drink water.
For social health, attend group study sessions. Problem-solve as a team. Attend a workout class with a friend or meet a new one. Grab coffee with a friend. A 30-minute break can make all the difference. Send an encouraging text; chances are you will get one right back.
How can students recognize if they or others might be struggling?
From Active Minds:
Signs that your peers might be struggling can include:
- Not acting like themselves
- Changed eating patterns (eating more, eating less, or changes to their entire diet)
- Acting grumpier than usual
- Spending less time with friends and loved ones
From Mizzou Student Suicide Prevention Coalition:
In terms of recognizing when you or someone around you is struggling and how to have a conversation about it, the Mizzou Student Suicide Prevention Coalition has this amazing Instagram campaign that walks you through everything, step by step.
For your friend, just knowing they are not alone in how they feel is huge, as is getting on the path to the help they need. Those and many other reasons are why it is important to have these conversations.
How does your organization serve students?
Mizzou Student Suicide Prevention Coalition:
We are not licensed mental health professionals, but if someone reaches out to us, we will get them connected with a licensed professional. The Counseling Center and the Student Health Center’s Behavioral Health Services are both amazing resources. Both centers offer a specific number of appointments per semester that are covered by student fees. Students can follow MSSPC on Instagram and Facebook for mental health-related content and to stay updated on our events.
Active Minds is a student-run organization focusing on mental health awareness, education and advocacy. The organization coordinates a variety of events throughout the year to combat the stigma surrounding mental health and employs peer outreach to provide valuable information to students, including connecting them with relevant campus resources.
If you or someone you know is struggling, visit wellbeing.missouri.edu or check out these campus resources:
Eating disorders are a complex medical and mental health issue.
Joan Masters has helped build the Partners in Prevention coalition into a statewide force for college wellness.
Members of the Mizzou Student Suicide Prevention Coalition are working to raise awareness of mental health on campus.