With all of the chaos going on in the world, it is hard enough to stay sane and focused. Now, on top of that, we have finals week?!? As educators, we know how hard it can be on our students to already deal with the stresses of life and then have assessments added to that. The same applies for us as future educators and college students. Mental health is IMPORTANT so we took some time to gather resources available for you to keep your stress level as low as possible with finals approaching.
Participate in the 30 Day Mental Health Challenge
BYU's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has created a 30 day mental health challenge for all to participate in! The tasks in this challenge are simple things that we may have stopped doing with all of the chaos in the world. Some tasks include writing a gratitude letter, improving exercise, looking for humor, or reaching out to others.
Apps/Online Systems for Stress Management
SANVELLO: BYU knows how it important it is for us to manage our stress, so they have purchased the premium version of Sanvello for all BYU students, faculty, and staff. This app offers daily mood tracking, teaches coping skills, and provides activities that are drawn from proven therapies! Just log in with your net ID for access to the premium version.
SILVERCLOUD: If you want to be enrolled in SilverCloud, just shoot an email to email@example.com. This online system has articles, video clips, interactive activities, and more to help you cope with mental health.
DAYLIO: Another great mood tracker that is free for all! There is also a diary included for you to record the emotions you may be feeling during this stressful time.
CALM HARM: If your stress has driven you to the point of considering self-harm, please contact CAPS. You can also use this app that provides activities for those who are dealing with the urge to self-harm.
INSIGHT TIMER: Check out this free meditation app for help with sleep, anxiety, and stress.
Get Better Sleep
When we do not get quality sleep, it is harder for us to manage the stress we may be experiencing.
There are many different things that may be causing difficulties with sleeping. The following are just a few suggestions from Dr. Russ Bailey from CAPS.
Set a bedtime and a waking time. Plan enough time for sleep.
Start a regular bedtime routine for yourself. Establishing a pre-sleep ritual will help your body be ready for sleep.
Avoid napping during the day or, if you have to nap, keep it under 30 minutes and in the early afternoon.
Avoid caffeine up to at least 4 hours before bedtime.
Exercise regularly, but not within 2-4 hours of bedtime.
Make your bed and bedroom comfortable.
Only sleep in your bed. Other activities, such as reading or watching TV, should be done elsewhere.
Diaphragmatic Breathing/Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Tense groups of muscles for a few seconds and then release the tension, breathe from the diaphragm which is low in the body, recommended 5-10 minutes a day twice per day. This will help you calm down and focus on thoughts that are helpful to your mental health rather than focusing on the stress that may be overwhelming you.
It is easy to beat yourself up when you are getting overwhelmed. It is common to feel that it is your fault, but it's not! Stress is just a part of life and we need to learn to be compassionate to ourselves as well as others. As cheesy as it sounds, you need to truly love yourself! To learn more about how to practice self-compassion, check out self-compassion.org.
Remember, you can do this. Finals are hard, but they do end. Work hard while making sure to maintain your mental health so you can enjoy summer and be prepared to return to BYU!