It’s the middle of the semester at Cal, and if you’re anything like me, you’re in a slump. Everyone seems to be getting sick nowadays, and it is definitely not ideal for mental health to have perpetual midterms (I swear I have one every week… Go Bears?). I think in these times, it can feel like you have a whirlwind of things to attend to. Because of that, it can be difficult to validate taking care of yourself. Really, I totally get that. But I would like to say, “DUDE, take care of yourself!!”
Aaand on that note, here are some ideas of self-care tips for things you can do at home and around Berkeley, brought to you by myself and my Role Model of a roommate, Bekah. I’d like to note that these might not help everyone in the same way, so experiment to figure out what works for you!
1. Drink some coffee to warm your soul. Or if coffee isn’t your cup of tea… drink tea?
I think what happens sometimes with depression or anxiety is that you can feel kind of cold or empty inside. Maybe it seems silly to quite literally fill yourself up, but I find that a physical phenomenon can sometimes manifest psychologically.
2. Escape your own world and dive into a different one.
This can be done in a few ways. For Bekah and I, this means reading and Netflix-ing. She’s a big fan of Harry Potter (she’s a Gryffindor; I’m a Hufflepuff), and I read Marvel comic books in my free time. Together, we are pushing through the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has been marvelous (sorry--had to). When things get difficult to face in your own reality, it is okay to step away from it for a little bit.
3. Grab a yummy breakfast or a sweet treat at Little Gem Belgian Waffles.
This my favorite on-the-way-to-campus treat. It’s delicious and well priced, and you can get all sorts of toppings! Here we got a sweet one, but usually I put bacon bits on mine. And again, there’s just really something about a yummy nom warming your soul...
4. Let yo' freak flag fly!
It’s no secret that most of us at Berkeley have a rather eccentric splay of interests. But if it is what makes you happy, embrace it! Like I said, Bekah’s a Harry Potter fan. But like… she’s reaaally a fan. And yes I’m a big Marvel nerd (cosplay and all), but I’m also in love with all things fox-related. Basically, just do yo' thang, even if other people might think it’s a little weird. Weird is good :)
5. Grab some local pizza at Sliver Pizzeria.
In case you couldn’t tell, food may or may not be the thing that works best for us… But I think it is incredibly important to keep yourself well-nourished in times of stress or seasons of difficulty. Berkeley has so much to offer in terms of great food to eat at a reasonable price. Take advantage of it!
6. Try to recognize the support around you and recognize that you are not alone.
In my opinion, this can be the most difficult of all. I think when you are struggling with your mental health, it is easy to feel isolated. But you may find that some of your closest friends are more than willing to support you in your times of need. In my case, I’m lucky enough to live with this strong woman with whom I can discuss my trials and tribulations. However, if you’d like to go the less personal route, there is professional help available! You can check out the Tang Center or search an outside clinician.
7.Remember that self-care isn’t selfish.
I am not here to tell you that self-care is just choosing to be happy. I know from experience that happiness doesn’t work like that. Rather, self-care is about doing things that could potentially increase the probability of experiencing happiness. While listed above were the things that help for me and Bekah, they might not be the same for you. And that’s okay! Finding what helps your mental health is a very personal journey, but I hope that my silly suggestions help to get you thinking.
Lastly, if you feel alone at Berkeley, which is incredibly easy to do, let me be the first to tell you that you are not alone. I can’t even explain how many times I have have felt like I have been losing the fight against my PTSD or depression and just didn’t know how to tell anyone I needed help.
I too am struggling, and there is no shame in that. If you need help exploring your options for seeking help or simply want a listening ear, I want to make myself available. Everyone should have someone, so if you’re in the Berkeley area and need someone, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Editor's Note: Our team members are not trained counsellors, if you are in a crisis and need help please call the California Mental Health/Crisis Line at 800-854-7771 (open 24/7)
Marie and Bekah