In the United States there is still a prevailing stigma around mental illness. It is hard to admit that one is feeling depressed or anxious or is in need of help, in general. Nursing school causes a lot of psych patients. Every nursing student has anxiety. Every nursing student has trouble sleeping or has an interrupted sleep cycle because of late study nights and early morning clinical. Every nursing student spends a great deal of each day sedentary. Most nursing students have loans and are running on financial fumes so spending money on food is difficult, especially in a “food desert” like Aroostook County.
Prices for food keep going up, but people’s wages are staying the same. It is a classic example of how the working class is short changed while corporations, banks, and the 1% continue to profit off of war.
How does this relate to mental health? Well, staying mentally healthy in an environment like this is challenging. One must find ways to stay fed, sleep enough, and reduce anxiety, but this becomes increasingly challenging if a person must work most of their waking hours just to barely get by.
What are some solutions to this conundrum?
- Take ten: Find a quiet spot and plug some headphones into a computer, phone…whatever you have…and lookup Meditation for Positive Thinking.
- Gratitude: Find one thing each day to be grateful for.
- Move more: Take a walk. Bike to school. Dance while brushing your teeth.
- Meet people different than you.
- Try something new: a food, an experience, a piece of clothing, a workout.
- Know your non-negotiables: what are you unwilling to compromise.
- Find your yummy place: when you are there your soul sighs with relief.
- Learn to say, no: No can help you set limits and protect your time and your space. Use it.
- Thank you: Expressing appreciation can change our mindset in small, but significant ways.
- Minimize the miscellaneous fees: over due books, bills, over draft fees, etc.
- Make lists: grocery lists reduce random spending. To do lists can help keep you organized and show you the time you have.
- Know if you are passive, assertive or aggressive: knowing this quality about yourself can change the way you interact with people, approach conflict and resolution, and go about your day.
- Believe and then achieve: develop a clear goal and believe you will get there.
- Become indisputably talented at what you do for a living: your job is not who you are, but it can help us solidify our purpose while we are figuring it out.
- Talk less and say more: Pay attention to the non-verbal forms of communication.
- Ask for help: A liberating phrase is, I don’t know.
- Be early: Rushing at the last minute is mentally frustrating, stressful, and often counterproductive.
- Prepare for the worst, expect the best, and assume nothing.
Maine Crisis Hotline: 1-888-568-1112
National Suicide Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (Talk )