I see that you’re part of Project Puno. Could you tell us a little about the initiative and what its mission/goals are?
Mission statement: A sustainability-based initiative aimed to find a way to allow rapidly developing modern society and technology and the ecological stability of nature to coexist. We seek to share knowledge and empower individuals to work in harmony with nature.
Through creating e-books, posting informative Instagram pubmats, and holding eco brick and donation drives, we hope to help the youth transition to more sustainable practices and become more aware of environmental issues.
How do you believe sustainable living and having a deeper connection with nature plays into mental health and stimulates positive emotions?
If you are doing good for anyone – whether it be a person or nature in general – it is likely to release endorphins or “feel good” hormones.
What are a few self-care practices you would recommend to our audience? How have they helped you maintain your own mental health?
Plan rewards after a long and busy day of work, whether that be ordering pizza or facetime your friends. Take time for yourself too to just relax with a cup of tea, listen to music, or put on a facemask. These have helped me refocus and not get mentally exhausted from all my school work.
I noticed that you’re also a part of Zenerations. Could you tell us a little about that organization and what they strive to accomplish?
Zenerations is a youth led magazine and organization that talks about all things pertaining to Gen Z – politics, fashion, popular culture, mental health etc. They strive to foster open discussion and raise awareness.
Why do you think Gen Z should prioritize their mental health? Furthermore, what could our communities, as a whole, do to reduce the stigma and provide adequate mental health resources and support?
Gen Z should prioritize mental health in a world increasingly connected through social media and advertisements depicting an “ideal reality.” It can make us question ourselves. We should also care about our mental health during a time of a pandemic and online school, because otherwise the monotonous cycle can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Our communities can reduce stigma by fostering open discussion in schools.
How has being a part of so many organizations/initiatives helped you become a better and more understanding person?
It has helped me understand other perspectives and work towards a common goal. During quarantine especially, these organisations have given me something to look forward to and improve my skills through (example: writing and collaboration skills).
Does your mental health struggle manifest for you physically? If so, how?
As of recently, yes it has. I experience chest tightness and shortness of breath when I get anxious. It also affects my mood and I start to think negatively.
What’re your favorite things about yourself?
I like to think that I am caring and selfless. I am always genuinely happy for my friends, and always check in with them if we have gone long periods without talking. I am also very motivated and hard working, rarely getting sidetracked in terms of achieving my short and long term goals.
What does mental health mean to YOU?
Mental health refers to emotional, psychological, physical, and social well being. It is multifaceted in that way. For example, working out and calling my friends regularly will make me feel happier overall, and thus contribute to the betterment of my mental health.