We were taught to take care of ourselves at a very young age. Always brush your teeth, regularly take a bath, change your undies, wash your clothes, eat right, and be active—these are just a few of the things that we needed to learn for us to be regarded as healthy. Little did we know that health has a lot of aspects. And one of these aspects is a term that we often hear nowadays which is mental health.
According to Mental Health Awareness Foundation (2022), one in four adults feel lonely some or all the time. There’s no single cause and there’s no one solution. After all, we’re all different! But, the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems. Some people are also at a higher risk of feeling lonely than others.
Students and teachers alike are not exempt from these kinds of experiences. Since problems arise every day, and these are inevitable, we must learn how to navigate through them, and it starts with being aware of one’s mental health and taking care of it too. How do we do it? In this article, we are going to discuss practical tips on how we can better take care of our mental health thus becoming not just physically healthy but mentally too.
As students and teachers, we are faced with a lot of school tasks that we are to accomplish on a given date. UNICEF (2021) suggested that we should always plan ahead. Planning ahead means that we understand the tasks or assignments that we are going to do, and we are allotting time and schedule for each of these tasks. This is much like time management where one plots priority tasks daily to avoid cramming or procrastination. The more we avoid procrastination the less we become frustrated and the less we become frustrated, the more we become mentally healthy.
Another tip that UNICEF gave in their articles is that teachers, as well as students, must set boundaries. Make sure the students and their parents/caregivers know the best time to contact you. Establish (and stick to) a window of time before bed that is "tech-free" - when you are making sure not to check emails and messages. You may also consider setting reminders to help you remember your boundaries. If you feel that others are not respecting these boundaries, think of ways that you can gently and respectfully have a conversation with them, sharing what you know about the importance of protecting one's mental health and how your boundaries help you to do that (UNICEF 2021). Students can also apply this by setting limits on their screen time and asking questions to teachers only during school hours. This will help both students and teachers secure resting time.
World Health Organization (2020) released an article with tips for keeping a healthy mental state during the pandemic. One of these tips that we can apply as students and teachers is we create a routine. Creating a routine can help keep track of the important things that we should be doing or accomplishing. Few of the suggestions given by the WHO are as follows: Get up and go to bed at similar times every day; Keep up with personal hygiene; Eat healthy meals at regular times; Exercise regularly; Allocate time for working and time for resting; and Make time for doing things you enjoy.
We are in an era that which our mental health should be prioritized. We cannot be the best we can be if we are not doing anything to take care of ourselves. It is, however understandable that we will still feel negative things as we go along our journey, but what matters is not what happens to us but how we respond to it. As the saying goes, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% is how you respond. So, I hope we can look at our obstacles not as hindrances to our success as students and teachers but as challenges that we can surely overcome.