How to fight back against your mental health issues

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It is no secret that a lot of teens deal with mental health problems. Many find themselves lost in depression and overwhelmed with their anxieties. An overload of stress can be detrimental to anyone. Stress affects us more than we like to accept, and a lot of students here at Washington struggle everyday. A senior here at Washington who wishes to stay anonymous says, “I started dealing with a ton of stress, anxiety and depression during the pandemic.” 

Covid-19 definitely took a toll on people’s mental health and some still find themselves stuck even after coming out of the pandemic. But the pandemic is not the only thing to blame. Washington’s very own girls basketball player, Nia Owens says, “My anxiety gets triggered off of stuff that I have to publicly do. But then it turns into an adrenaline rush. Like basketball games, track meets, and presentations. My depression really just goes based off the weather. Like if it’s sunny I’m in a good mood but if it’s gloomy I just reminisce on stuff that made me feel bad in the past.”

 Between students recovering from the pandemic, dealing with public speaking at school, and nerves from sports, we have to make an effort to attend to our mental health needs. 

Learning to take care of yourself is one of the hardest things you can do. So what can we do to make sure that we are taking care of our minds? Numerous studies have shown that exercise is one of the best ways to feel better mentally. Exercise reduces stress and can make you feel less depressed. It is never easy to commit to moving your body, so if this is too much for a first step in taking care of yourself, start smaller. Senior Nia Owens says, “I listen to music.”

 You would be surprised how much music can change your mood. Another thing you may be surprised about is the power of just focusing on your breathing. Sometimes when you are in the middle of something and you are feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and need a quick tool to help calm you down, you just need to breathe. Stop whatever you are doing for a few seconds and just take a deep breath. Slow breathing, while picturing the air coming in and out of your body, is actually very effective. People used to tell me to just take a deep breath and I always thought it was dumb.  Now, when I take those few seconds to breathe I feel so much relief. 

So, if you have tried coping mechanisms and they haven’t worked, then do not give up. You just need to keep trying. You will find what helps you cope with your emotions. If these simple tools don’t work, there are medications you can be prescribed and you can also try therapy. These things might seem scary or unnecessary, but do your future-self a favor and take care of your mental health now. Remember: everyone is deserving of a happy life.

Sonya Garcia is a current senior at Washington High School. She was born in Walnut Creek and raised in Fremont. This is Sonya’s first year on the paper. She is interested in writing about sports and events that take place at Washington High School or our Community. Her hobbies include waitressing at her job, doing make-up and shopping. She hopes to go out for Track and Field Throwing again this year. After high school, Sonya wants to continue waitressing while she studies business in community college. She hopes to one day open a small business of her own.

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