Life as a college student is a busy time, there’s no denying it, and sometimes it can be difficult to keep your mental and physical health in top shape. With classes, homework, work, spending time with friends and other activities, it’s easy to get caught up and neglect your health without realizing it.

I was one of those students who unintentionally sacrificed their mental health while adjusting to college. I was too afraid to give myself a break from socializing and instead be by myself and relax because I was worried about missing out. In actuality, I desperately needed to take the time to recharge to be both happier and healthier.

One of the most obvious ways of taking care of yourself is exercising, and Gonzaga has many great resources geared towards promoting physical health.

As of right now the Rudolf Fitness Center is closed for safety reasons, but once it reopens, it’s a great place to get your workout in. Going to the gym a few times a week is a sure-fire way to keep your body and mind healthy.

I loved going to the RFC every week with friends because we bonded over our love-hate relationship with the exercise bikes, while also getting a great workout in. After working out we would head over to the COG for dinner, which I always looked forward to. Having a routine like this keeps you motivated to work out and helps establish and nurture relationships with your new friends.

GU offers one-credit fitness classes each semester as well, from yoga to Zumba to CrossFit and even bowling. If you’re interested in any of these classes, they are another a great way to incorporate regular workouts into your week.

Once it is safe to reopen, the RFC also holds weekly fitness classes that are accessible to students after an additional membership fee is paid. Students are able to sign up for a plethora of classes, including cycling, barre and circuit training.

These classes are another great way to meet people who enjoy similar workouts as you, while also finding a fun physical exercise outlet.

GU has many great resources for both mental and physical health, and it is important to familiarize yourself with them and to utilize them when needed. There is no doubt college can be stressful, but putting aside your physical and mental health needs is only going to add to your stress.

You may find that sometimes everything feels overwhelming, but I promise there are people who are here to help you every step of the way.

Reaching out to Health and Counseling Services helped me adjust to college life, and I recommend a visit if you’re struggling with mental health or even if you’re simply worried about the transition to college. Counseling can also help you become more focused and confident, and give you someone in your corner who you know you can turn to should you need anything.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to counseling if you’re considering it, as spots fill up quickly. It’s easy to shoot them an email or make a quick phone call, and they’ll help you get connected with a counselor.

Health and Counseling Services is also a great resource in case you’re feeling under the weather and would like to see a physician. During the fall they set up a flu vaccine station where students can pop by and get vaccinated and check that off their to do list.

Even though many of your classes will likely be online, you will still have access to GU’s counseling services. Whether you’re on campus this fall or staying at home you are still able to use this resource and reach out to someone to get the help you need.

Having knowledge about the different ways GU is here to support you is an essential part of the transition to campus life. Whether you think you’ll use these services or not, having their information is important not only for yourself but for your friends and peers around you.

I’ve learned thus far in my college journey that to be a good friend means knowing your limits on what you can and cannot help others with. Another helpful resource on campus designed for this exact purpose is the Center for Cura Personalis, CCP. Any student can anonymously recommend any other student for a CCP appointment, and CCP will reach out to them to check in and get them connected with any resources they might need.

These referrals can range in topics anywhere from a close friend struggling with anxiety, to someone just acting a little off and blue. 

Between balancing everything going on in the world right now as well as learning to adjust to life as a college student, the last thing you should do is neglect your health.

Fall semester will see a lot of students either opting for completely remote learning or participating in some sort of hybrid schedule. Either way, lots of time will be spent in your living space (and I know quarantine has many of us feeling cabin fever), so it’s important to stretch, move your body, and get some fresh air as often as you can.

Mental health matters, especially now. It’s not something to forsake or shove to the side, because when you stop taking care of your mental health, your physical health and other aspects of your life are impacted too. Do yourself a favor and don’t be afraid to ask for help, because GU has plenty of resources designed to be there for you from your first day on campus to your last.

Lillian Piel is a staff writer

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