Opinion: Your Mental Health Matters


Ashley Caudill

Sophomore Marissa Mullins reads a book in the hallways of RHS.

We often fall into bad habits when we are struggling mentally. Mental health problems affect one in five high school students in the United States. Self-care is something that is often overlooked by many students but can be helpful in improving mental health.

In a survey of 20 RHS students, 36.8% of the students said that their worst habit was spending too much time on their phones or social media, 36.8% said their worst habit was lack of sleep, and 26.3% said other factors besides social media and sleep were their worst habit. Some include overeating, caffeine, and neglecting self-care as a whole. We sometimes forget that taking care of our mental health is just as important as taking care of our physical health. 

According to sbtreatment.com, “Building a list of favorite self-care methods can be especially helpful in identifying what activities make it easier for you to function, improve your mood, or reduce your stress levels.” Some of the activities that sbtreatment.com lists are checking your posture and breathing, practicing healthy sleeping and eating habits, and exercising. They also mention journaling, therapy, reading, and reflecting as simple ways to practice self-care. 

Personally, I have always made sure to keep a conscious mind on self-care but I have also fallen into the bad habits of social media and losing sleep too. I have always journaled and it is one of my favorite ways to practice self-care, and I also go to therapy every once in a while. I find journaling an easy way to self reflect on my own thoughts and emotions before I speak to someone about them. Therapy gives me a way to speak about those thoughts and emotions with someone who does not play a role in my everyday life. Something new I recently tried was exercising and implementing new eating habits. 

I started by looking up new meals and ways to eat healthier, because, let’s be honest, when we get home from school all we want to do is eat junk food and watch Netflix. I started to eat healthier snacks after school which caused me to feel a change in my mood pretty fast. Next, I started to exercise more by taking at least a half-hour-long walk each day. This gave me time to think and be off my phone. It also improved my sleeping habits and gave me an overall healthier mindset. Taking walks is something that I highly encourage now that I have tried it myself.  

There are many ways you can practice self-care and many ways you can try to quit your bad habits. These changes will not happen overnight and they require a lot of patience and practice. Not every technique works for everyone. You have to find what fits you and your lifestyle. To find additional ways to practice self-care, go to sbtreatment.com for more information.