Mental Health is Mental Power

Liz Curtin

More stories from Liz Curtin


Photo by Marisa Valdez

I am not an athlete–student, so I wonder why you are still reading this article. I don’t work out, I’m not on a sports team and I have a donut every time I go to Hilltop Center.

 I try to make an effort to avoid snacking and use walking up the hill as a way to get some exercise in. 

I was walking down the hill the other day when I slipped on the ice, cracked my head on the concrete, and went to the emergency room for a concussion. The doctor said I was fine and sent me back to my dorm. The next day I was exhausted and spent the day in my dorm instead of in class. 

That was one of the best days I’ve had in a while and it helped me realize something. I spend a lot of time stressing over my lack of exercise or a proper diet and all it does is leave me worse for wear. 

Even if I was exercising, I know that my poor mental health would still bring me down because that’s exactly what happened to me in middle school. I still feel my efforts were inadequate no matter how athletic I was. 

For this reason, I want to focus more on my mental health instead and why I believe it is so important. I think I’ll be a mental health student rather than an athlete-student. The two most important things that I use to strengthen my mental health are my family and my friends. 

This past weekend, I went home for a family Christmas party and felt less than thrilled to participate in it. I’ve fallen behind on some assignments and final exams are looming over me like the final boss of a video game. 

I wanted to hole up in my room and get focused on my assignments but instead, I went to the party. I could feel the stress just drain out of me that evening. 

Being with my family helped me calm down and put things in perspective so I could organize my thoughts and approach my assignments calmly. The support of my friends also helps my mental health student journey. 

It was my dorm neighbors, Mary and Madison, who brought me to the ER and I definitely would have been too stressed to go alone. I often try to meet up with friends for dinner to strengthen my mental health even more. 

If I want to strengthen my mental health then I should probably make a better effort to maintain a decent sleep schedule. Or at least take more naps to help clear my mind. 

I take a lot of breaks to go on my phone but I think using my phone can sometimes trap me in a pair of rose colored glasses. Some escapism is nice though through reading or writing. 

I don’t mean that working out or eating properly is pointless, since those activities can help your mental health too. I often find that there is a fine line between activities that can hurt or help your mental health. 

As long as you feel happy and confident about yourself, I don’t think it matters what gets you there. We should all try to be mental health students every once in a while.

Curtin can be reached at [email protected].