One of the things my Fit & Well class emphasized this semester was the importance of taking care of your well-being in all seven dimensions of wellness. As college students, I think this is really hard. There's a meme that I've seen floating around Facebook that says something like: "College: Good grades, a social life, sleep: pick two of the above."
I've found that one of my best "mental health" activities is reading. I've always loved reading; I can remember staying up into the wee hours of the morning in elementary school just so I could finish a book, and I don't think that bookworm quality has ever really left. I highly doubt most college kids read for fun - we read all the time for classes that, so it almost seems like reading should be last thing I should want to do in my spare time - but something about sitting down with a book helps me to feel so grounded. Plus, a little bit of reading before bed keeps me from waking up in the middle of the night with a string of Anatomy words rushing through my head (it's happened before).
In high school, my favorite books in English class were always the dystopian novels: The Handmaid's Tale (arguably my favorite book ever), 1984, Lord of the Flies. I've loved reading the YA Fiction books that stemmed from this genre as well: The Giver, The Hunger Games, etc. Since I seem to be in an eternal quest to find more books to read, I was on Good Reads one day when I stumbled on what may be the greatest list ever: The 100 Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction. I laughed a little that I have already read the Top 10 books (and LOVED them -- read Divergent right now. It's the next Hunger Games, I swear) and since then I have been making my way down the list. I'm hoping to tackle Oryx and Crake over spring break.
So, when school becomes overly stressful - say, like, right now, in the midst of midterms and having to finish projects and essays before spring break - I give myself a bit of time just to escape into the world of a book - and truly I disappear inside of it. I no longer study the words like I do in a textbook, but I am instead transformed into a new world where my homework and obligations don't exist. The story becomes a sort of alternate-reality inside of my head. Maybe that's dorky, but it beats feeling stressed out every time.