By Alexia Juarez — 

As the holiday season approaches, college students may feel more stressed than ever as finals approach. It’s vital that we take this time to unwind and take care of our mental health. 

According to writers Susan Svrluga and Nick Anderson of The Washington Post, college students nationwide are increasingly stressed, with the pandemic adding loneliness, distress and uncertainty at a time that is already challenging for many.  

Marvin Krislov, a writer for Forbes, reported on a study that shows that before the pandemic, there had been a growing mental health crisis on college campuses.  

As for myself, coming out of a rough patch last year proved to cause me more challenges than expected. My mental health began to decline, and it pushed me to a point where I am now receiving counseling services online.  

But I am not alone. According to Statista, among U.S. college and university students, 41 percent reported receiving counseling or support services from friends for mental and emotional health concerns in the past year.  

Joseph McFarland, a junior engineering major at U of L, shared his thoughts on prioritizing mental health. 

McFarland expressed that he had cut contacts with close friends due to social distancing during the pandemic and that it was hard to keep in touch.  

“Nothing was personal but circumstantial so that was a mental impact I didn’t expect, and since I socialized a lot, isolation was hard to handle mentally,” said McFarland. 

McFarland shared that he started sleeping more frequently than usual and did not feel as happy as before the pandemic.  

Despite the pitfalls McFarland was facing, he shared that prioritizing quality time with those he was close to was integral to finally getting through the rough patch brought on by the pandemic.  

This holiday season, it’s vital to practice self-care. Some ideas include hosting a movie night, getting a good night’s sleep or even exercising regularly, according to Healthline. Whatever it may be, there is always a way we can push through even if it may be hard to find at times. 

That’s why this holiday season, we reflect and take the time to be grateful for all the positives in our lives. As the fall semester comes to a close, we must take these last few weeks to do everything we can to be kind to ourselves this holiday season. 

Graphic by Arry Schofield // The Louisville Cardinal