Maintaining mental wellness during finals week

The Active Minds Club gives mental health advice.

Sarina Grossi, Editor-in-Chief

Finals week; it’s a time that produces dread in any student’s heart. In the hustle and bustle of studying, worrying about final grades, finishing up club events and even preparing for graduation or transferring, the well-being of students is forgotten. Members of the Los Medanos College Active Minds Club know this well and have their own tricks on surviving finals week.

Active Minds is a mental health awareness club that LMC student and Active Minds Club president Tamna Bhargav said aims to “comfortably and casually talk about mental health.” This is not a professional therapy group and cannot offer counseling or treatment, but the group discusses mental health as a way to destigmatize conversations around the subject. The club is open to all students and meetings are held both in-person and over Zoom every other Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. inside the Unity Room in the Student Union Building.

“We’re not really a therapy group, but I feel like we still find that space where we can talk about it and help people heal from their problems,” said Nayeli Gutierrez, the secretary for the Active Minds Club.

When struggling with mental health during finals week, Bhargav recommends talking to those you can trust and are comfortable with. She said that without conversation, mental health will continue to be considered “taboo.”

“We are humans and we need to be heard by other people,” Bhargav said. “We will only find solutions to mental health if we consistently talk about it.”

Active Minds is one place to talk to like minded individuals about mental health, but if you are seeking more of a counseling setting, LMC offers many counseling services. You can speak to counselors for personal, developmental and academic purposes through appointments and the Student Wellness program in partnership with National University. Last month also saw the launch of TimelyCare, a virtual health service LMC students can use for free.

Aimee Silahua-Tyeda, the Active Minds marketing officer, said that nourishing your physical health can positively impact your mental health.

“I think taking care of your body also goes into taking care of your mental health,” Silahua-Tyaeda said. “Stay hydrated, make sure you’re eating well, get good sleep.”

When facing stress over finals, students can be overly harsh on themselves, impacting their academic performance. Though everyone experiences academic anxiety, Bhargav urges that students should be kind to themselves during this time and focus on what is important.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself. There are some things you should not stress over if it’s out of your control,” said Bhargav. “Definitely try to stress over things in your control.”

Many college students are balancing not only finals but also jobs, family matters, friendships and other pressing issues. One can easily feel spread thin over finals week, but you can avoid tremendous stress by giving yourself some free time.

“You can make a plan for yourself. Put family time in that, put self-care time in that and also give yourself time to do each assignment,” Gutierrez said.

Self-care is a vital factor to maintaining mental wellbeing, especially if school work is taxing to deal with. Taking time to do hobbies you love can provide hope and clarity to anyone grappling with academic pressure.

“Do activities that you think are going to help you destress while studying for finals,” Silahua-Tyeda said. “Also look forward to after finals since we get to go on summer break.”

Active Minds Club member Ashley Cervantes agrees with Silahua-Tyeda, as she said students need to relax and reflect on their anxiety toward finals.

“I think that at this stressful time and month of the semester, you forget we have to have time for ourselves and just to breathe and step down and just look at the whole situation knowing you are going to be ok,” said Cervantes.

Finals week is daunting, but if students develop good studying practices and healthy mental habits, they will be able to use these learned habits in the future during stressful times.

“Any work that you’re putting in now is going to be to your benefit in the future,” Silahua-Tyeda said.

As the end of the school year approaches, keeping your psyche in good shape can drastically improve your experience and make sure that you end your academic year strong.