Allen O’Barr, director of Counseling and Psychological Services, said CAPS sees a spike in the number of students that seek its services around this time of year.
“I just think the increase in academic stress causes whatever else is creating a disturbance to rise to the surface,” O'Barr said.
Here’s how students can prioritize their mental health this midterm season, including resources they can seek out when they’re feeling overwhelmed.
What mental health resources are available on campus?
During the week, CAPS offers drop-in hours Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m, and on Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. CAPS welcomes walk-in services for first-time appointments and offers brief individual therapy and referral services for off-campus mental health providers.
Student Wellness also hosts presentations on meditation techniques and holds mindfulness workshops where students can learn how social media messages affect health, wellness and body image. Cury said Student Wellness also offers wellness coaching services for students looking to take a healthy approach to their life and goals.
“It’s kind of, I would say, the intermediate resource between going to CAPS,” Cury said. “It’s like when you’re feeling overwhelmed, and you want to go and kind of plan out your life, and go at your life in a way that’s healthy.”
How can I practice self-care during this time of year?
O’Barr said even though the advice may sound old-fashioned, the best way to practice self-care is to get enough sleep, exercise and eat nutritious food. He said students should prioritize taking care of their bodies, even when it doesn’t feel like they have enough time to do so.
“They’re some of the first things we all choose to sacrifice when we feel stressed and overwhelmed,” O’Barr said. “It’s a discipline of being like, I know I don’t think I have time for this, but I’m going to do this anyway.”
Ashley Broadwater, co-chairperson of Embody Carolina and a senior majoring in public relations, said being with friends and having fun is another great way to practice self-care.
“An important thing I do to help with stress is talk to friends and have fun and not just focus too much on studying and realize that I’m more than a grade or any other number," Broadwater said.
How can I manage my time and get enough sleep?
Student Wellness recommends making a master schedule that blocks out time for studying, fixed time commitments and the basics of daily living like eating and sleeping. They recommend making this schedule while keeping in mind the times of day when you are most productive and the times when you lose energy and need to recharge.
Who can I reach out to if I'm struggling?
Broadwater said it can be helpful to reach out to good friends, visit the drop-in hours at CAPS or get a long-term therapist if possible. Cury said students should also reach out to professors if they are struggling or experiencing stress in a specific class.
“I know professors really appreciate when they have some proactive notification that you may be struggling,” she said.
Why is it important to prioritize mental health during this busy time of year?
O'Barr said academic performance and happiness ultimately depend on prioritizing good mental health practices.
“You might sacrifice your mental health for one midterm, but you’re ultimately going to have to pay for that later with sort of less robust mental health as a result of not taking care of it to begin with,” O'Barr said.