4 Tips to Take Care of Your Mental Health This Semester

Before winter break in December, when I looked at how my days were going, one of my first thoughts was, “Something needs to change.” 

I wasn’t managing my time well. Sometimes I would overwork myself. Not only did I have school and sports, but I put a lot of pressure on myself with writing and sometimes neglected my mental health. 

At other times, I let myself slack off. I knew that I needed to write, but I put it off until the last minute and didn’t get very much writing done. And often, I didn’t trade productivity for family time or time reading Scripture–I traded it for time on my phone, reading, or playing piano (which aren’t bad things but should come after better things). 

Every time I tried to fix how I spend my time it didn’t work. I would tell myself I wouldn’t go on Instagram, but later that day I used up my time limit. 

I need to find a balance between being productive and giving myself rest. Not finding that balance negatively affects my mental health because I either tire myself out or don’t pour my energy into the right things. 

Have you ever felt like that? When you know something needs to change but you keep trying and it feels hopeless?

Maybe you felt like that last semester, or already feel that way this semester. You may be stressed by an overwhelming amount of work from school. It may be that you haven’t been as happy lately, or maybe you’re struggling with your mental health. Maybe life is good right now and there is nothing you feel has to be changed. 

But if there is something that’s wrong, you know that it would be foolish to continue down that same path. 

It’s common to have poorer mental health during the school year. We are often more stressed, have busier days, and get less sleep than when we don’t have school.

The school year is usually when we look at our lives and think, “Something needs to change.” 

“I need to get more sleep.”

“I’m not being productive at school.”

“I should focus on God even though life is busy right now.”

It will be harder to take care of ourselves and have good mental health in the trenches of this semester, but there are ways we can minimize school’s negative effects. Here are 3 tips to do so.

  1. Take care of your physical health.

Physical and mental health are greatly related. I’ve noticed that when I exercise and eat healthily, I generally feel a lot better than when I don’t. Exercise helps me destress, and eating healthy food keeps me energized.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV), Paul writes, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 

Though Paul is talking about sexual immorality (a sin against one’s own body) in these verses, he does say that we are to respect our bodies and take care of them. When we have able and healthy bodies, we are able to do many things we couldn’t otherwise and glorify God because of that. Having a healthy body makes us feel better, too. 

We should take care of the body God has given us, not only so we can feel good, but so we can glorify God. Good physical health often corresponds with better mental health. 

  1. Prioritize your spiritual needs.

Our spiritual health also greatly affects our mental health. If we are spiritually starving, the rest of us won’t feel as good, either. 

We can take care of our spiritual needs by praying, reading scripture, and spending time with God. I can’t remember a time when I have spent time with the Lord and felt worse afterward–being in God’s word, praying, or stepping back from a busy day and focusing on Him always improves my mood. Closeness with God does not guarantee that life will be perfect, but it does encourage us and guarantee that we will never be alone.

I have noticed that I can spend time in God’s word while my mind is on something else and not comprehend what I read. Sometimes I read my Bible to check the box on my to-do list and the reading doesn’t impact me as much. However, we will grow more by being intentional about understanding scripture and spending time with God. 

When our spiritual state is healthy, our mental state is affected and grows stronger, too. 

  1. Know what you can handle.

Knowing how much pressure and busyness you can handle is tricky sometimes. In the past, how much could you take before you got burnt out? Don’t wait until you reach that point again. Rest before you reach the point of burnout so you can take care of yourself. 

If there is too much on your plate, you can get rid of the non-necessary things. For example, I have to complete my homework, but I don’t have to FaceTime my friend for an hour. It’s something I’d love to do if I had the energy, but if I’m really tired, I usually skip that part of my night. 

We should be mindful of how many unnecessary things we’re putting on our plates. Often, if we don’t let ourselves rest now, our mental, physical, and spiritual health will decline until we are forced to rest later. Taking time to relax may seem counterintuitive, but it actually makes us more productive because our energy is renewed. 

  1. Replenish your mental energy.

 We not only want to keep from depleting our mental health and energy, but we also want to restore it. What is something that makes you have more energy to think, do activities, and learn?

Spending time with close friends and family, reading Scripture, and going outside usually helps restore my mental energy. Playing piano or listening to music helps too if it’s not in excess. I play piano when I get home to destress from the day and give myself energy for homework. 

When we take the time to restore our mental energy, though it takes time away from doing the things on our to-do list, we can later do those things more efficiently because we have more energy. When our mental health is better we’ll often be more focused and productive. 

Maintaining our mental health…

Mental health is like physical health, in a way. When we are physically tired, we sit down and rest. We should do the same when we are mentally tired. We might do things to refuel ourselves, like eating healthy food or doing a leisurely activity.

Our mental health affects every aspect of our lives, from how we interact with other people to how much schoolwork we get done to our mood. Taking care of our physical and spiritual health can help our mental health. Knowing what we can handle and replenishing our mental energy also plays a big role. 

In past semesters, I’ve let school affect my energy and happiness a bit too much. This semester, I’m going to try as much as I can to maintain the mental health I had over Christmas break. I feel more relaxed and closer to God because of the break right now. 

The high may not last forever, but I want to take care of my mental health so I can serve God the best possible.

5 responses to “4 Tips to Take Care of Your Mental Health This Semester”

  1. I pray that your mental health gets better.
    I love how obvious your tips are. Sometimes I think I need a new method to change my life, but no, I just have to keep doing what I’m supposed to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah! Though the tips are simple, though, they’re not always easy. That’s the hard part. 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Charlotte Mills Avatar
    Charlotte Mills

    I love these tips!! They are so helpful and applicable 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad they’re helpful! 😊


  3. Definitely helpful!! Mental health is SO important. Thank you for the post!


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