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My mental health care routine

As societies keep on facing new challenges, more people worldwide rethink their ways of approaching mental health. While some countries still tend to stigmatize mental health issues, Sweden is an excellent example of effectively tackling them with awareness, effective instruments and continuous support for everybody, including international students. 

I firmly believe that mental health is as vital as physical, so I do my best to treat this matter accordingly. In this post, I’d like to share my mental health care routine and motivate you to implement some of those easy and accessible practices in your everyday lives to feel better and lead a happier lifestyle. 

Long walks and connecting with nature

Okay, time for a confession: I’m not a sports person, never have been. Going to the gym has always seemed incredibly dull, and doing most sports requires specific equipment and commitment to succeed, which I am frankly not really interested in. However, I found a solution to ease my mind after a long day or some emotional stress by taking long walks around the city, and Stockholm is one of the best places for that. Here, you don’t look for nature, you just live so closely surrounded by it that it seems an integral part of city life. For instance, I live on the KTH campus, and there’s a huge park just nearby where you can hike and enjoy nature. Oh, and there are animals too! Deers, hares, and foxes just casually walk by you, minding their business. I’m still surprised whenever I see a wild animal next to me. However, that’s something that Stockholmers are very much used to. I mean, even around my student accommodation on campus, I come across hares all the time! 

Little fellows in Norra Djurgården park, just behind KTH main campus

Therapy sessions 

I’ve been going to therapy sessions every week or two for almost a year now, and I think that was probably the best gift to myself I ever made. In some regions, therapy is still sometimes considered something that only people with severe mental problems do, but it is not true. I consider therapy a powerful instrument that can help you with many matters. This can include revealing your potential, knowing yourself better and what suits you best, your relationship with family, friends, partners, coworkers, your career, and living a more sustainable and happy life. Sometimes people that start therapy expect immediate results, but that’s not how life works. However, if you find a specialist that matches you well, this experience can surely bring many positive changes in your life. 

Striving for balance 

In case you have never heard of Lagom, it is the Swedish concept of happiness and harmony. According to this philosophy, to live life to the fullest, a person needs not much, not little, but just the right amount of everything: work, money, things, food, activities etc. And before I moved to Sweden, I struggled a lot to reach that balance. Working long hours on weekdays and weekends has been a norm for me. Of course, I felt tired and sometimes felt like I was taking a loan from my health, getting bigger each month. But I thought there’s not really anything I can do with that. 

However, after almost a year in Sweden, this perception has changed. And even though I’m still far from balancing my work-life schedule all the time, I’m aware of this problem and try to listen to my body and mind more when it comes to taking rest. So if you feel like a workaholic from time to time, consider changing your perspective on your career and your life from being a sprint to a marathon. It’s much more important to keep making small efforts over a long distance than to make unbearable commitments and recover from burnout for a long time after. 

I hope you find my experience helpful, and if you’re interested in learning more about mental health matters in Sweden, check out this post written by Claire so you can know where to seek additional support if you need it. 

Take care!