High school is a pressure cooker situation and it's no surprise that mental health issues are on the rise. If you struggle with your mental health you should know that you're definitely not alone and there are ways you can look after yourself.
1. Have a support system
Talking to people about how you're feeling and what you’re going through is intimidating and hard, but in the long run, it's one of the best things you can do. Whether it's friends, family or a mental health professional, opening up is the first step in looking after yourself.
2. Take a break
The stress that school brings is completely overwhelming but we're sold this idea that we shouldn't be doing anything but studying. The thing is, it's okay to take a break from things. It's okay to go home from school and jump straight into bed. It's okay to take a night off from studying to hang out with your mates. It's okay to spend your weekends doing something other than heading to the library.
Go for a run. Kick a footy around. Lay in the sun. Go see a movie–go by yourself if you can't find a friend. Go for a drive, get a Maccas chocolate sundae and a frozen coke. Book in an appointment with your counsellor or your GP–skip school for it if you have to. Drink water, take your medication and sleep.
Mental health should come first, school second.
3. Ask yourself what you need
If you're feeling shit and down ask yourself what you need. Things like:
Have I eaten today? Was it enough? Am I still hungry?
Have I had any water? Do I need some more?
How much sleep am I running on? Do I need a nap or an early night?
Have I been outside? Have I got my body moving?
Have I interacted with someone? In person or over the phone? Do I need to hear someone's voice instead of scrolling on my phone? Do I need another person to be near me?
These things can have a massive effect on your mental health so have something to eat, a big glass of water and go for a walk. Give your grandma a call (she'd love to hear your voice) and remind yourself of what's going on in the world outside your phone screen.
If you're still not feeling good after all this then you can reassess what's going on.
4. Self-care isn't all bubble baths and candles
Sometimes a chill night will be what you need. But sometimes self-care will be a little tougher–it'll be calling your counsellor and booking the next appointment or folding the pile of washing you've been putting off. It'll be starting the essay you've been dreading or emailing your teacher for help on an assignment. It can be vacuuming your room or taking out the rubbish; these tasks aren't pretty or romanticised but they can make you feel like you're you again.
5. Know yourself
The more familiar you get with your own triggers and experiences, the better you'll be able to cope next time. It's fine to read articles like this and take whatever advice works for you but sometimes none of it will be quite right. Sometimes you're going to need to figure it out (probably with the help of a professional) and find coping strategies that work for you.