Living outside the bubble

How to stay spiritually and emotionally healthy during the summer months

As graduation approaches with summer weather in full swing, it is essential for students and staff to remain mentally and spiritually healthy as their semester or journey at Liberty University comes to an end.

Liberty Dean of Students Robert Mullen said the key to staying healthy in all aspects of life is spending time in God’s word daily.

“Spend time in prayer,” Mullen said.

“Spend time hearing from God and spend time talking with God. God has designed your life, and God knows how it works best.”

Mullen said the spiritual aspect is the most important and encourages students to seek accountability from their pastors during the summer months.

“Being in spiritual community together is absolutely vital,” Mullen said.

“It’s easy during the summer to go to the lake every weekend or do all the outdoor activities, but it’s really important to stay plugged in to community.”

Along with spiritual health, mental health is an aspect that seems more difficult to deal with because of the unwarranted stigma associated with it.

“If you’re struggling, whether it’s with anxiety, depression, eating disorders,
substance use or abuse, talk to someone,” Mullen said.

“Share with someone what your struggle is. Swallow your pride and ask for help if you need it.”

Liberty Counseling Services provides an anonymous and confidential mental health screening on its website, which allows students to find out if meeting with a mental health professional would be necessary.

“If they’re on the bubble and not sure whether or not they need help, they can go online and do a screening and maybe just get some feedback and guidance as to whether they really do need someone to talk to,” Mullen said.

“They also can find links and resources.”

Mullen said the first step to dealing with mental health is seeking help after acknowledging you need help.

“Just reach out and get some help,” Mullen said.

“It’s not a sign of weakness to admit that you’re struggling with an emotional health issue — it’s actually a sign of strength and it’s the first step forward in dealing with
the issue.”

Mullen said it is crucial to spend time studying God’s word for yourself through reading the Bible and doing what it says.

“When you go home, build yourself a spiritual bubble in which to operate, in which to live and be nourished and refreshed,” Mullen said.

Many students refer to the atmosphere on campus as the “Liberty bubble,” and
students do not have to actively seek out people to influence them because of the
numerous resources available.

“There is a thing people refer to as the ‘Liberty bubble,’ and I see that as a positive thing,” Mullen said.

“The bubble is all the spiritually-minded people such as professors, friends, RAs, RDs and people from Liberty’s Office of Spiritual Development and Office of Community Life.”

Mullen said his advice for students this summer is to use their time wisely.

“Have fun, decompress, relax, find some down time, but don’t waste the summer,” Mullen said.

“Develop a plan for what you want to accomplish this summer, but also include the spiritual and emotional side of things and then pour out into other people’s lives.”

Conley is a news reporter.

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