Managing Mental Health

By: PJay

Editor’s note: In our office, we view mental health as a strong component of overall confidence and success in your future career path. Use PJay’s experience, described below, as inspiration for taking care of your own mental health. 

As the end of the semester was approaching I found myself losing a lot of motivation and constantly feeling stressed. It seemed as if a lot of my acquaintances were also feeling the same way as me when we were discussing mental illness in the Asian community. Whether you are Asian or not, I’m sure you’ve experienced the feeling of being considered “crazy”, “lazy”, or “ungrateful” when you mentioned the feeling of having depression or anxiety. It’s a big problem I want to address it in this post. Being a person who is Hmong American and has been told by doctors that I have anxiety, I want you to know that you are definitely not those stereotypes mentioned above.

Managing mental health

First I would like to share my experience of learning how I came to be aware of my anxiety. I grew up in a very supportive family but mental illness was never addressed as something that needed to be taken care of. I think this actually goes for a lot of Asian households. My sophomore year was the time when my anxiety got really bad. My panic attacks would make my breathing irregular and I would lose control of my body. There would be so much tingling and numbness from my head to toes that I would end up falling over or passing out. For some reason at the time, I thought I had asthma and after several panic attacks, I finally decided to schedule a doctor’s appointment. When meeting with my primary doctor in Saint Paul, we went in depth about my symptoms. It turned out I didn’t have asthma, and she concluded I had anxiety. I was so shocked at the time and I thought the doctor was wrong because I was unaware of mental illness. I was in such disbelief I decided to schedule another appointment at UMD’s Health Services instead. But guess what? The doctor there told me the exact same thing. At first, I was obviously upset because growing up, all I knew was that anxiety meant you were crazy and I didn’t want people to think I was CRAZY, so I only told very close friends about my situation. Thankfully, all of them were very understanding.

Moving on, I knew I couldn’t run away from it because it was something uncontrollable in my mind, therefore the only thing to do was to make it better. I began to learn more about how to take care of myself through online research and being around people who understood and experienced the same things as me. In addition, I attended APAA’s Mental Illness in the Asian Community lead by Julie Kim from Health Services, which gave me more insight about how I wasn’t the only who felt “crazy” with my mental illness. It also made me realize there are a lot of people who needed my guidance and my support. This is how I stopped shying away from accepting the fact I do have anxiety and it is OK.

I want anyone who has, or maybe doesn’t have, depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues to know they should never treat themselves or others differently. Be aware that it can be a sensitive topic and don’t assume it’s “not real”. Someone may look normal on the outside but inside they could be experiencing something psychologically and these are considered non-visible disorders. Next time you hear about someone experiencing this, be kind and offer help. UMD’s Health Services offers free counseling for all register UMD students for various reasons. There are also very supportive groups on campus such as the Disability Resource Center and Access for All. Your mental health plays a bigger role in your life than you make think. Remember to take care of yourself.

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Faye Cornish

Tori’s Senior Bucket List

By: Tori

Three weeks. That’s how long we have until the semester is over. Three weeks.

So close, yet so far away. Three weeks until we graduate and are no longer UMD Bulldogs. But, once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog….right?

If you’re like me, you are realizing your time at UMD and in Duluth is running out quick! You’re also realizing there are MANY things you haven’t done yet, that have been on your college bucket list since the summer before freshman year.

I have compiled a “Top Five To Finish” bucket list to complete before the senior year comes to a close.

Go mountain biking. I have never been! How is this possible? After 4 years in Duluth, I have never been on the trails. I am hoping the snow clears by the end of may to go at least once. Some of the best trails (or so I’ve heard) are Lester Park and Hawk’s Ridge.

Listen to live music at the Red Herring. All my friends rave about how awesome the live music is in Duluth. My ears need to be blessed with this before I depart!

Jump off the Icehouse. Every fall when we come back to school my goal is to jump off the icehouse before it gets cold. Well, it usually gets cold before this happens for me. We will see if there is a heat wave mid-May and I cross this off the bucket list.

Camp out at Bean and Bear Lake. I hiked this part of the Superior Hiking Trail with my sister freshman year and have always wanted to go back. Now is the time to make this happen. Even if it is 50 degrees outside while I sleep.

Eat at Duluth Grill. Okay, I will admit I have done this a few times before but it’s SO GOOD. How can I not put this as my final bucket list?? I think I will even stop there for lunch the day I move out and leave Duluth.

These are a few of my bucket list items before I leave this beautiful place! What do you want to do before you graduate? Think about it now so you can maximize your memory-making as a Bulldog and Duluthian. I am sad to leave this place but excited for what’s next (and to cross these off my bucket list!).

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Classic Songs That Describe Your College Experience

By: McKenzie

Being an adult is hard, but becoming an adult is harder and “the college experience” is what we label the messy journey to adulthood. As you trek the path to the being a full-fledged adult you will learn there are few things as emotionally relatable as music. Here is your college experience in the form of some of my favorite classic songs.

Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
It’s the first day of your freshman year. You are surrounded by other giant children pretending to know what they’re doing. You’re lost, hungry, and haven’t seen a single face you recognize in hours. You know where you are? You’re in the jungle baby. Welcome to college.

Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler
You’ve made it through freshman year and are trudging through the first semester of your sophomore year. You still have no idea what’s going on. Homework is piling up. You mutter, “Every now and then I get a little tired of listening to the sound of my tears,” into your open textbook. You’re only surviving because your love from your friends fuels you to stick around.

Livin’ on a Prayer – Bon Jovi
You just finished your sophomore year. Woah, [you’re] halfway there [and] woah you’re living on a prayer. You’re not sure how you made it this far, but you must keep going. [You’ll] give it a shot!

Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
Here comes your junior year. You did [your] time, took [your] chances. Went the distance, now [your] back on [your] feet. Just a man and his will to survive. This is the toughest year of your life but you’re kickin’ fall semester’s butt.

Where is My Mind? – Pixies
It’s spring semester of your junior year. Time is a social construct and you aren’t sure you actually exist anymore. You’ll keep asking yourself, “Where is my mind? Where is my mind?” At this point, you aren’t sure you can actually survive another year.

Fight For Your Right – Beastie Boys
You wake up late for school, man you don’t want to go. You might still go, but you actually won’t because on a scale from 1-10 your level of care is zero. The senior slide is real. You joke that you gotta fight for your right to party, however, everyone knows you’re too old to go out and are probably in bed by 10 PM.

School’s Out – Alice Cooper
It’s done. It’s over. School’s out for summer, School’s out forever (unless you’re headed to grad school, then good luck).

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Slowing Down During Spring Semester

By: Tori

I don’t know about you, but spring semester seems to sweep the ground up from under my feet! I get caught up in the busyness of life and it’s hard to slow down. This blog post is dedicated to you, and to me, as a reminder to take a breather and to not be afraid to sit on the bench during the game of life every once in a while.

Slowing down during spring semester

Here are a few tips to tame the speed of spring semester!

  1. We’ve all heard of spring cleaning. While it sounds like a lot of work it can actually help you feel more organized and on top of your stuff.
  2. Take 20 minutes each day to slow down. The worst thing we can do to ourselves is to sacrifice all of our time for other people and not save any for ourselves. Spend at least 20 minutes each day doing something you enjoy – listen to your favorite music while you lay in bed, watch a quick episode of The Office (then turn it off immediately before you get sucked into the next episode), or paint your nails, etc.
  3. Plan ahead. I’m not talking in terms of homework, I’m talking about doing something each week that gets you out and about. Go to a movie, plan a fun roommate date up the shore…plan ahead so you have something to look forward to that gets you motivated during the week
  4. Disconnect. Part of the reason we feel so busy is because we are too busy on our phones! Take a break from your phone – leave it at home, read a book instead of an Instagram post, etc.

These next few weeks I plan to take these to heart, and I hope you join me! Let’s tame the semester together!

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Photo source: Unsplash | Dimitris Gerebakanis

Unplug and Reset

By: Heidi

Coming back from Spring Break can be a stressful and overwhelming time. You may have just had a week off and were busy traveling or you were enjoying your time relaxing at home. At this point in the semester, a lot of people are referring to it as “crunch time” and things are “getting real.”

With the overwhelming feeling of so many to-do’s, you may be left feeling with no idea where to start.

First, breathe. Second, map out all of the important due dates you have. Once you have an idea of the timeline you’ll be on you can create a day-to-day and week-by-week guide as to how you will be managing your time in the most efficient way.

With all of the assignments, readings, and projects, it feels like you can never be doing enough school.

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. by Anne Lamott

There are many benefits to unplugging and taking a step back from school work. Powering down will allow you time to create rather than consume. If you think about it, the majority of our time is either spent consuming or creating. Allow yourself to take a break to build relationships, create hobbies, or forge a relationship with the community.

Here are some ways to practice taking a break and recalibrate yourself to be the best version of yourself.

  1. Get some fresh air and go for a walk
  2. Free write in your journal
  3. Cook a new recipe you’ve been wanting to try
  4. Sign up for a fitness class you’ve never tried before
  5. Donate clothes you don’t wear anymore
  6. Write down your current short-term and long-term goals

Take these ideas and run with them, or let them inspire you to create new ideas of your own to engage in. Although we are all at school with the common goal to get an education, allowing yourself time to take a break is just as important.

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Oliver Cole

You Shared WHAT!?

By: McKenzie

Social media is a huge part of our lives. We have reached a technological point where almost everyone is advertising themselves on one online platform or another. Whether you accept it or not, your online platforms are marketing who you are to anyone who comes across your profile. This includes, but is not limited to, friends, family, peers, coworkers, and employers. While technically your social media is not something employers should not be looking at it does not mean they cannot see it. For example, I recently learned in an HR course that more and more companies are using social media to engage employees. One of the companies I work for uses a Facebook group so supervisors and employees can offer and see other shift openings all across the different company locations. This is incredibly useful, but it means that every coworker and supervisor in my company can easily access a direct link to my Facebook. I personally am not concerned since I monitor my platforms for inappropriate comments, posts, etc. I, however, have seen plenty of people who should be concerned about the content of their social media.

Social media, mobile Facebook app on phone

I will admit I am a curious person and would argue that most people are too. Having worked with many staff at one of the companies I work for, I was very curious when their profiles were being suggested as “friends” to me. It is very hard, if not impossible, to not click on a coworker’s Facebook. I have seen the all the profiles of those who I work with directly (including supervisors) as well as other staff who work at varying locations. I was amazed at what people were willing to post publicly. I felt that I gained a lot of knowledge of the people around me. Not all the information I came across was pleasant so I was shocked that it was also public. If you have learned anything from what I have just told you then I hope it is this: you should assume anything you post online is now public information. You ARE advertising yourself. Post everything you do with the mental note that anyone could see it.

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Photo by: Unsplash | William Iven

The Art of Maintaining a Busy Schedule

By: McKenzie

Sometimes maintaining a busy schedule can feel impossible. Many students in college work and are involved in extracurricular activities, in addition to classes, making it incredibly difficult to continue this busy lifestyle. But fear not, as a seasoned pro at accidentally overworking myself I have some tips and tricks that help me keep it all together (and avoid overworking myself).

Tips for Maintaining a Busy Schedule

Get enough sleep
It is recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. This is something you should definitely avoid slacking on. When I worked overnights I used to schedule when I would get sleep to make sure I was getting enough rest. You can’t perform any task as well as you want if you are falling asleep while doing it.

Keep a calendar
When you’re a busy person it is often hard to keep track of all the things that you’re doing. I have found it best to start a calendar. You gain the skill of time management and it helps you to anticipate how much time you have for the little things like homework or even a nap before class.

Make time for food
Food is fuel! Not only should you be eating enough but you should also be mindful of what you’re eating. While I am an avid lover of pizza rolls I am also sure to be considerate of my portions as well as what I am putting into my body. You will get out of it what you put into it.

Always make time for yourself
The most important time of any day is the time you dedicate to yourself. We all need a little bit of me time and practicing self-care is a really great skill to develop. Any schedule is manageable if you make time to do whatever it is you love to do.

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Jessica Arends