As the world adjusted to a new way of life, college students are among specific groups whose mental health has worsened since COVID-19 began.  

The New York Times reported that approximately 55 million children and teens were cut off from resources. This included a listening ear from staff members who helped build self-esteem, and navigate the pressures of adolescence. They also helped students cope with trauma since the virus put a halt on lives all over the world. Although focusing on mental health during the school year is imperative, many tend to exclude how vital it is year-round.

Summer break, which lasts about two and a half months, opens many doors for students to fall into a hole of depression. Being away from peers, spending more time in toxic households, and not having some forms of positive energy are just a few reasons students should focus on their mental health and put it at the top of their summer to-do list. Here are some ways to do that without over fogging your mind.

Write your thoughts in a journal

Journaling is a great way to express your frustrations, manifestations, or overall emotions without judgment. It allows your mind to experience some form of break from thoughts you’ve been holding in for days, months, even years. The best part is that you can keep these journals and look back at them to see how far you’ve come, or you can burn them to let go of those thoughts forever.

Practice self-care

Self-care campaigns are plastered all over the world and it’s because this is a crucial part of taking care of your mental health. It would help if you had more ‘me days.’ Days where you allow yourself to be the main character in your life, pampering yourself with facials, massages, or solo walks in the park, and more. Give your mind a break, practice breathing techniques, read your favorite hard-cover book, and put your phone down.

Take social media breaks

We live in a world where technology and social media crowd our lives. We use it for work , to track our health, reach family members, etc. However, consuming social media just as much as the air you breathe is not healthy. Sometimes the toll on our mental health comes from comparing our lives to those we see flourishing online. Try limiting yourself from using it as much.

While many things may be seasonal, taking care of your mental health is not one of them. If you’re the parent of a student who seems stand-offish, offer a lending ear and time to let them know you’re there for them.

Blavity U Ambassador Lashaunta Moore is a graduate student at Columbia College Chicago, studying entrepreneurship for creatives. Moore has a bachelor’s degree in media communication, and she’s also a freelance journalist and digital content producer.