Practice Self-Love This Finals Week

Practice Self-Love This Finals Week

Finals is one of the most stressful times of the semester, so practice self-love to maintain your mental health.

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Now I know everyone always tells you: "Just study, you'll be fine" or "I'm sure it's not that bad." Everyone also tells you to watch your mental health, don't stress out, take time to self-love. But, how much do you really know what self-love means? Or how to take care of your mental health? We all go through stressful times, and finals is just another category under the umbrella. However, taking time to figure out what self-love means to you and how you can practice it will benefit you in the long-run. The dictionary definition of self-love is: "regard for one's own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic)."

Despite the efforts to spread awareness about mental health, there are still some stigmas about "taking a break." You are not selfish, nor are you wrong for taking any type of mental pause during stressful situations. You come first, and here are some ways to inspire you.

1. Jam Out to Your Faves 

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Connect your speakers or your noise-cancelling headphones and turn on your favorite playlist. Music has been proven to be therapeutic and is a great distraction from all those books. If you have a car and commute, blast the playlist on your drive home to destress yourself!

2. Treat Yourself 

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Buying yourself a little something can be a great way to self-love, and it boost your mood for finals week. Now the little gift you get does not need to break the bank; it can be anything from a new outfit to a simple order of your favorite dessert. Having a moment of pure happiness and excitement, away from the studying, could be your treat for your hard work.

3. Turn it Off

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One of the worst parts about finals is not only your stress, but everyone else's stress. How are you supposed to take care of your mental health if you are concerned with your surroundings? Take the time to turn your phone off or simply put it on do not disturb. Maybe this is your chance to grab a book you want to read, go outside, or take a power nap.

4. Exercise

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Exercise is common for stress relief because it releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers. Whether your enjoy a simple walk outside or you like to power lift, don't forget to take the time to do the things you enjoy doing, that benefit you in more ways than one. Especially during stressful times, exercising can also help you sleep, which might be more difficult if you are nervous about exams.

5. Grab some Grub

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Set a goal to grab one of your favorite meals or desserts after you're done studying as a reward. Whether you go to your favorite diner for some late-night pancakes or you grab a meal with your friends, take the time to treat yourself and satisfy your cravings!

We all know that finals can be tough, but rewarding yourself, and taking time to focus on what YOU need is also just as important. Not only will it improve your mental health, but can boost your mood, and possibly affect those around you to do the same thing.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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If I Could, I'd Start Running And Not Stop Until I Got To Kenya ​

The high altitudes of this east African country make conditions ideal for any runner looking to excel.

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If you're into running like me, then it's no secret where the best runners in the world come from. The African country of Kenya is home to some of the greatest runners to ever step foot on planet earth. Phenomenal talent emerges from Kenya year after year. Records get shattered as if they were minor accomplishments. Most of the talent goes unnoticed until the Olympic games roll around and get showcased to the world.

Kenya is a place I've always wanted to visit. Many of my running idols either live or train in Kenya. I'm talking about some world record holding athletes. Like Eliud Kipchoge, for example, who recently broke the world record for the fastest marathon ever. He trains every day alongside other world-class runners on the NN Running Team.

I constantly see athletes post on social media about their experiences while they training in Kenya. I think I would enjoy getting to know the culture. Life as a runner in Kenya looks like a lot of fun. The trails and roads look fascinating. There are always other runners striving to push one another towards their highest potential.

One big reason why I'd want to visit Kenya is that life seems so calm and simple. I wouldn't be caught up in the trends of society that resides while living in the United States. At times I feel overwhelmed and depressed from what goes on in the USA. I feel like there is a constant theme of people trying to outdo one another.

It's annoying because we are all the same and nothing should separate us, Sometimes I just want to get away from all that. I'd rather live out like a hermit and pave my own path in the vast open lands of eastern Africa. I admire the closeness of people in tribes and group settings in Kenya. People seem to be bonded tightly and enjoy the precious moments of life.

From what I read about Kenyan athletes, it sounds like I'd enjoy my time in the country. I would get to train with like-minded individuals day in and day out. The scenery would be incredible and breathtaking. There's just something about Kenya that gravitates me towards it. I've got it on my bucket list to accomplish at some point in my life.

Maybe my running ties could lead me to this place someday. Who knows, I'm just going to keep running until I can't anymore.

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