The Student-Run Newspaper of Kishwaukee College

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Mental Health Self Care in the Wake of the News

The recent months have had an extreme toll on many people's mental health; this article contains advice from someone whose own mental health struggles have contributed strongly to who they are today.

Matt Fazekas, Staff Writer

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With all that’s hard going on in the U.S. and in the world at large, it’s hard not to be afraid. A lot of us are afraid, for our lives and those of others. Sometimes, it’s tempting to just plunge yourself into the despair and terror.

But we can’t do that, we can’t let that feeling win. We are human beings, we have to stick together, and we’re only able to do that if people actually are able to fight. Even if you aren’t concerned with the effects of stress for your own sake, the fact is that you can’t help anyone if you’re hurting yourself, so, if nothing else, take care of yourself for the sake of those who may depend on you later.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that no one’s alone throughout this. There are a lot of people who are with you, who want the best for you, who will stick with you, both here at Kish, and just out in the world at large. Even social media, which is often terrible, has corners that are loving and inclusive, it’s just a matter of finding those corners.

Tied in with this is realizing just how much you can do, how much power you do have. As part of a larger group you can speak out, you can fight against repression, you can work toward a better future. There’s very little that one person can do, but there is a lot that a group of people can do.

Being happy with yourself is also important. Whatever you can do to feel comfortable with yourself, in your own body, do it. Anyone who judges you for it isn’t worth your time.

One thing I’m not a fan of personally is the advice “make time for yourself.” Frankly, the way people’s schedules are built, either they already have time for themselves built in, or they have no time that could be used for themselves without serious negative consequences. The idea of “carving out a slot” for oneself is impractical and ignores the reality that many people face.

If you are lucky enough to have time for yourself, do something that makes you happy. Watch or play or read something you enjoy, or do an activity you like. Taking a moment to distract yourself from the world is not a personal failing, it’s a perfectly valid coping method, it’s much healthier than wallowing in despair.

If you don’t have the time, realize that you’re not alone in that regard, and, more importantly, realize that it won’t necessarily always be this way. If you can organize, do so, and if you can’t, find something to hold onto through the rough, and either way just know that no unjust structure can stand indefinitely, and, most importantly, know that you, as a person, are important, and your well-being is important. There are people out there who realize that and who care about both, and who will use their position to fight for you.
The common through-line in all of this is, again, realizing that you’re not alone. That knowledge has helped me when I’ve felt helpless. I can only hope it does the same for people feeling that way now.

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Mental Health Self Care in the Wake of the News