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Spring cleaning for the mind

Wright State students get a full week off from classes during spring break before coming back to campus and finishing out the semester.

The stretch from spring break to the end of the semester can be difficult for students mentally; it’s important to take the time over the break to do some mental spring cleaning.

Counseling and Wellness Services

How can students refresh their minds over spring break?

“It can be helpful to identify what is getting in the way of a clear mindset by taking inventory of what is currently working and what is not, starting from the ground up,” said Staff Therapist Sarah Peters. “For example, are you getting seven to nine hours of sleep on a regular basis, and you wake feeling rested? Are you eating a balanced diet that provides you with adequate energy to fuel your day? Are you moving your body on a regular basis, whether that’s walking around campus or using Campus Rec facilities? Are you keeping your living space clean? If you answer ‘no’ to any of those questions, that may be an area to start implementing a new self-care routine.”

What might be preventing students from de-stressing? How can they change that?

“Anxiety can be unpleasant but in and of itself is not harmful. However, our responses sometimes can be, [such as] using alcohol or other substances, procrastinating/avoiding or saying hurtful things. The trick is to find ways to clear the unhelpful things out while keeping an optimal level of anxiety so you feel motivated to engage in your life,” said Peters. “Ways to do this include prioritizing your time and tasks, journaling about the things that are bothering you and the ways you want to address them and building a mindfulness practice. Try using an app like Headspace, Calm or Stop, Breathe & Think. We often think that we need to clear our minds of what is worrying us in order to be productive, but usually, it’s enough to acknowledge a thought and then intentionally shift your attention back to what you want to be doing. It’s challenging, and it gets easier with practice.”

Department of Psychology

What is the importance of de-stressing and recharging the mind?

“There is substantial research showing that people who take appropriate rest breaks are more productive. Certainly, students can do that over spring break, but they likely benefit from taking appropriate shorter rest breaks during the academic term,” said Dr. Debra Steele-Johnson. “Even taking a quick break every hour or two when studying, perhaps just a few minutes to walk down the hall or maybe get a cup of coffee or drink of water, can be enough to help students recharge.”

Physical activity linked to mental health

How does physical health play a role in mental health?

According to Psychology Today, exercise is necessary for good mental health.

“Exercise is well known to stimulate the body to produce endorphins and enkephalins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones which can make problems seem more manageable. The simple act of focusing on exercise can give us a break from current concerns and damaging self-talk,” according to Psychology Today.

Spring break gives students the chance to take a break from schoolwork and focus on having fun while taking the time to release built-up stress.

Alexis Wisler

Managing Editor

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