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Keeping your cool: tips for a happy mind

As fall ushers in another academic year, it means the start of a fresh chapter filled with anticipation and excitement. However, in the rush of classes, social interactions and personal growth, one crucial aspect often takes a back seat: mental health. 

In the hustle and bustle of academic hurdles and new experiences, we sometimes forget to check in with ourselves.

The balancing act of mental health

Maintaining mental health while dealing with new responsibilities can be challenging. The demands of rigorous coursework and adapting to a new environment may lead to academic and personal pressures.

Understanding mental health plays a pivotal role in academic performance and overall life quality is the first step toward addressing these challenges.

Self-care as the foundation

Some research suggests improving your mental well-being can be achieved through the practice of simple self-care routines. While it may feel overwhelming to establish personal routines in the whirlwind of academic life, adopting a balanced eating and sleeping regimen may have a deep impact. Regular exercise, effective stress management techniques and reaching out to mentors or utilizing counselling services are other avenues to support mental well-being.

The creative outlet connection

Creative outlets may serve as a refuge and a source of solace for students. When academic pressures loom large, turning to familiar comforts like listening to a favorite song, immersing yourself in a good book or going for a contemplative walk may provide a break for the mind. Others might find sanctuary in the kitchen, discovering relief in cooking or baking. 

Some students are drawn to artistic ventures, such as painting, drawing or crafting, while others find their voice through journaling. The path to a healthier mindset is diverse and personal. Exploring various mindfulness techniques may help you uncover what resonates most effectively with your unique journey.

Exploring self-care in Halifax

Halifax has a variety of opportunities for self-care. Students looking to spend time in nature may find solace in Point Pleasant Park, the Halifax Public Gardens or Lawrencetown Beach. Those looking for an artistic venture may enjoy exploring the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, taking a class through NSCAD extended studies or seeing a performance at the Bus Stop Theatre. Dalplex also offers multiple yoga and other fitness classes every week. Dalhousie University even has a therapy dog! Catch Ollie in the lobby of the student union building every Wednesday between 4 and 5 p.m. 

A holistic approach

As we start this new academic year, it’s important to remember that our mental well-being deserves a prominent place in our lives. By incorporating self-care practices, seeking support when needed and embracing moments of reflection, we can navigate the challenges and opportunities that university life presents. 

This holistic approach enriches our academic journey. It may also contribute to personal growth, ensuring we are resilient and fulfilled by this chapter of life. 

Dalhousie offers mental health services such as same day counselling, peer support services and appointments with Dal’s social worker. To find out more about all the options available, visit https://www.dal.ca/campus_life/health-and-wellness/my-health/mental-health.html. Appointments can be made online or by calling 902-494-2171.

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