By: Emily Fehrman / Opinion Page Editor

Let’s get real with each other for a second y’all. Our mental health plays a huge roll in our physical health. Often thought to be two separate entities, in reality, they go hand in hand with each other. 

Health as a state of “complete physical, mental and social well-being.” The perceived disconnect between “mind” and “body” creates the misconception that mental illness is not a physical disease. In reality, mental health has a direct impact on your physical health.

Mental illness is more than just being depressed. It covers a wide range of problems, spanning from ones that affect mood to those that affect thinking or behavior. Examples include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Eating disorders
  • Bipolar depression
  • Addictive behaviors

So, you might be wondering, how does my mental health affect my physical health? Well, poor mental health can affect your ability to make healthy decisions and fight off chronic diseases.

neglecting your mental health can lead to more serious health complications like heart disease, high blood pressure, weakened immune system, asthma, and obesity.

When we’re experiencing a depressive episode, we often stop taking care of our bodies and its basic needs. Not leaving the house for anything other than work, and on the occasion you actually have the motivation to go to class, you aren’t really there giving it the full attention it needs for you to succeed.

Paying attention to the signs our bodies are giving us that we need to take a step back and assess what our bodies and minds need. Take a break, breathe, form a game plan.

You aren’t going to like it (well maybe you will, I won’t assume everyone dislikes working out like myself) but the first step to helping yourself is to establish some regular exercise, even just walking on the treadmill until you’re ready for more, just get started somewhere.

Try to start eating a healthier diet, as a college student who lives on campus that makes it a little tough, but there are ways you can help yourself. Just try with premade healthy meals that only take a microwave to make.

Attempt to have a regular sleep schedule, don’t spend all your free time in bed. All that does is mess up your internal clock, your body will think any time other than night time is the right time to sleep. Relaxing before bed, lowering your caffeine intake, or setting a stricter schedule for bedtime, are the first steps to trying to fix that messed up schedule schools given you.

Lastly, get the help you need and deserve. Your social circle is also a vital aspect to prevent a decline in mental health. But mental health can be a difficult topic to discuss with peers. This often prevents people from seeking help.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family for support. Even better (if you’re comfortable), seek help from a mental health professional.

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