It’s Okay to not be Okay!

In a world where everyone tries their best to present their best selves all the time, it can be easy to forget that it is okay to not be okay. The pressure to always be okay can be extremely taxing and can put a real stain on your mental health. Remembering that it is okay to not be okay is important and is a crucial step in advancing in your mental health journey.  

 Here are some ways you can take care of your mental health:  

1.Be cognizant of your bandwidth: knowing your capacity and how much you can take on allows you to mitigate unnecessary stressors. Try checking in with your mood, physical feelings, and stress levels every day to learn your baseline.  

 2.Learn how you best deal with stress: learning how you best deal with stress, is the first step in alleviating it and helps you avoid burnout. Finding coping mechanisms for stress can look like reflecting on what has worked in the past, talking with your healthcare provider about medications or other treatment options that can be implemented to help support your holistic health. 

 3.Recharge yourself: recharging allows you to take a step away from the stressors in your life and gives you the opportunity to refill your mental and emotional gas tank. Engaging in things that energize you or creating spaces where you can relax are a fantastic way to recharge your mental and emotional health.  

 4.Set boundaries for yourself: setting boundaries for yourself provides you with the opportunity to maintain your mental wellness. Boundaries could assist in preserving your mental and emotional energy and provide you with a sense of control that can empower you on your mental health journey.  

 5.Get help when you need it: creating a strong support system is a wonderful way to care for your mental health. Support systems allow for you to create a network that are there to celebrate your successes, and help you work through your problems.  

 Hope for the Day’s “Things We Don’t Say” workshop, “is a program designed to teach individuals how to understand self-care and be supportive to proactive mental health care for others. We press the discussion about stigma, its impact on individuals and communities, and teach practical skills for early recognition of mental health challenges that often go unaddressed due to the silence of stigma, building to a crisis stage. Through Peer-to-peer Proactive Prevention, we can disrupt the highest risk factors before the crisis stage. If we make it OK to talk about mental health, we can save lives” (HFTD). 

 If you or a friend are interested in attending “Things We Don’t Say,” Hope for the Day offers this one-hour workshop (Tuesdays at 11am CST and Thursdays at 1:00pm CST ) You can register here: 

For additional wellness information and tips join HPW every Wednesday for Wellness Wednesday from 4-4:30, you can find more information and register on DeHub.  

If you or a friend need mental health support DePaul offers free brief counseling services through the app MySSP. In the case of an urgent or life-threatening emergency please Call 911, go to your nearest emergency room, or (if you are on campus) call Public Safety: (773) 325-7777 (Lincoln Park) or (312) 362-8400 (Loop). 




Substance Free Fun and Helpful Tips ( If you choose to use)

As summer and warm weather approach us, so do the good times with friends and family. Summer kicks off patio-season, lake days and backyard BBQ’s. Along with the warmer weather, drinking culture often normalizes and glamorizes increased alcohol use. It’s important to remember a few things: (1) It’s possible, normal, and healthy to enjoy summer fun while being sober, (2) If you choose to use, practice harm reduction and be inclusive of those who choose not to use.


Substance-Free Fun

If you’re sober curious, sober-free, in recovery, and/or looking to be a great host with non-alcoholic options, here’s the perfect mocktail for you.


Strawberry Hibiscus Ginger Spritz

Ingredients: 2 oz ginger, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, juice of 1 lime, 1 cup of muddled strawberries, 4 oz of club soda, 1/2 cup of dried hibiscus flowers



  • Make hibiscus syrup by combining 1 cup sugar, 1 cup of water, and 1/2 cup of hibiscus flowers in a small pot and allowing to simmer over medium heat until all of the sugar dissolves.
  • Let syrup cool, then combine lime juice, grated ginger shrub, as much hibiscus syrup as your heart desires, 4 oz of club soda, and smushed strawberries to glass, still and enjoy


If You Choose To Use

For those who do plan on using alcohol during your summer festivities, it’s essential that you know your standard pour measurements and have some harm reduction strategies on deck to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable time.


When mixing/making drinks, it’s easy to forget to measure or track how much alcohol you’re consuming. Having an understanding of the standard pour for each type of drink allows you to keep track of how much you’re drinking, ensuring that you don’t take things past your limit or the recommended health limits.


A standard pour of:

  • Beer is 12 fl oz
  • Wine is 5 fl oz
  • Malt liquor is 8-9 fl oz
  • 80 proof distilled spirits are 1.5fl oz


Being cognizant of how much you’re drinking helps you to stick to any limits that you set for yourself and makes it easier to avoid engaging in binge drinking. Many people are surprised that what counts as binge-drinking is much lower than most expect. For women, binge drinking is having 4 or more drinks in a short period of time; for men, it’s five or more. Also, know that how BAC impacts you will differ according to many factors, including gender and weight. For a helpful tool to gauge how alcohol may be impacting BAC for you, visit this BAC calculator tool.


Other harm reduction strategies to use include:


  • Making a drinking plan ahead of time and setting a limit
  • Tracking your drinks throughout the night
  • Pacing yourself
  • Not mixing alcohol with other substances
  • Staying with friends and only drinking in spaces where you feel safe
  • Having refusal lines prepared
  • Knowing who you can call for help when you need it


Reflecting On Your Use

Remember that our relationship with substances may change over time. Maybe you’ve previously chosen to use alcohol and are now noticing an unhealthy relationship with it. It’s important to continue checking in with ourselves regarding our relationship with alcohol and other substances. Below are some helpful questions to consider.

  • How would I describe my relationship with alcohol?
  • How would I know it’s time to cut down on drinking?
  • How would I know it’s time to quit drinking?
  • Am I engaging in a wide variety of ways to have fun, celebrate, let loose, and socialize? Or is alcohol always involved?
  • Am I engaging in a wide variety of ways to relax, cope with stress, manage emotions, and unwind? Or is alcohol always involved?
  • Where would I turn if I was curious about my relationship with alcohol, concerned I may have a problem, looking for recovery support, or wanting to learn harm reduction strategies? Hint: or email to set an appointment with our Substance Misuse Prevention Specialist.


Getting Help

If you need additional resources or support navigating your relationship with alcohol visit We offer a variety of supports on the topic, including:

  • Peer-led workshops to learn harm reduction strategies and reflect on your use
  • Workshops for those who are living life substance-free
  • 1:1 assessments to explore your relationship with alcohol
  • Collegiate Recovery Community meetings

Habit Forming

I struggled with habit-forming for a long time. I would always resolve to get into the habit of doing something like incorporating more veggies into my diet, going to bed earlier, or starting my assignments in advance. In the beginning, I would feel really excited and motivated to make a change though when I wasn’t seeing results quick enough, I would always return back to my old bad habits. It was extremely frustrating not being able to maintain consistency and reach my goals. So, I spent a lot of time re-evaluating and found that my method of habit formation was setting me up for failure. Once I figured out what was holding me back, I took the time to think of strategies that would help me reach my goal and began to implement them. I’ve made great progress in reaching my goals and implementing healthy habits and I figured I’d share my strategies with you all.


  1. Focus on one habit at a time and try to connect it to an already established habit
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to establish 5 habits at once. Instead, implement one habit at a time and try to connect it to an existing habit, for example in order to incorporate more veggies into my diet I started writing them into the weekly menus I make.
  1. Commit to 30 days (at the very least) and strive for consistency
  • Habits take time to form, give yourself at least 30 days to get into the routine of doing something. Within these 30 days strive for consistency if you’re implementing a daily habit try not to take more than 2 days off.
  1. Take baby steps and set milestones
  • Break down your goal into digestible and easily attainable tasks. If your trying to get into the habit of going to bed earlier break up the task by: setting an alarm to warn you it’s time to start winding down, establishing that your room is for R&R, and eliminating distractions like using your phone or watching tv after a certain time. Be sure to celebrate your achievements along the way, if your goal is to get in the habit of going to bed before midnight make sure to celebrate your milestones on your way to your goal.
  1. Hold yourself accountable, but also be forgiving
  • Goals don’t work unless you do. Holding yourself accountable is essential in order to ensure that you stay on track. Methods like tracking and sharing your goal with others may encourage you to stay committed. Though while accountability is important be sure to be kind to yourself, we all make mistakes, and missing the mark every once in a while isn’t the end of the world. Be sure to forgive yourself for your mistakes and get back to forming healthy habits!


To get help with your goal setting or for wellness coaching visit:



For more habit-forming strategies as well as health and wellness information visit the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness on Twitter and Instagram: @healthydepaul and on Facebook: @HPWDePaul


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