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 theyve learned along the way.

How to take care of yourself during stressful times

A cartoon-style illustration of a head with a thought bubble inside with a picture of two friends having coffee together.
Making time to relax and connect socially is important in maintaining a sense of wellbeing.
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.

Stress-busting Tips You Can Use Right Now
Walk as fast as you can to the nearest water fountain, refill your water bottle and take two long sips. Why? The physical activity is an escape valve for your anxiety. It allows it to drain out of you rather than remain inside. Eating a snack or drinking water can give immediate relief for anxious feelings and bring you to the present moment.

How can students recognize if they or others might be struggling?

A cartoon-style illustration of a head with a thought bubble inside with a picture of a teacup, a tree and a journal.
Practicing regular self-care, which are activities we do deliberately to improve our mental, emotional or physical health, helps prevent against burnout.
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.

Stress-busting Tips You Can Use Right Now
Open your phone contacts, choose three people to be your support system and let them know how you’re feeling. Why? Reaching out to a friend when you start feeling anxious, sad or overwhelmed can restart your day.

How does your organization serve students?

A cartoon-style illustration of a head with a thought bubble inside with a picture of weights and protein powder.
Good diet, exercise and sleep habits are important in maintaining physical health.
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

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.

Stress-busting Tips You Can Use Right Now
Repeat affirmations. Why? By repeating a positive statement over and over again, you can focus on your desired outcome. Create your own meaningful affirmations. For example: “I have the power to change myself”; “My body is healthy, my mind brilliant and my soul tranquil”; “I adjust to change with grace.”

If you or someone you know is struggling, visit wellbeing.missouri.edu or check out these campus resources:

Wellness Resource Center
202 MU Student Center | 573-882-4634 mizzouwellness@missouri.edu
Counseling Center
119 Parker Hall | 573-882-6601
MU Women’s Center
573-882-6621 MUWomensCenter@missouri.edu
Student Health Center
1020 Hitt St. | 573-882-7481
mizzoustudenthealth@missouri.edu
Gaines-Oldham Black Culture Center
813 Virginia Ave. | 573-882-2664
MU International Center
N52 Memorial Union | 573-882-6007
MU Multicultural Center
573-882-7152 multiculturalcenter@missouri.edu
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line
Text ‘HOME’ to 741741
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