CAPS Student Hero: Ila Rutten

Hello Slugs! Can you believe the quarter is almost over? We’re nearly there! Today we’d like to introduce one amazing Peer Educator, Ila. She helps run this blog, among several other PEP duties. Thanks for everything these past couple quarters, Ila!

UntitledWhat do you do regularly to relieve stress?

I’ve come to accept that I’m a disorganized person. Unless I make deliberate efforts to stay clean, my desk disappears under a pile of papers and my bed is overwhelmed with a mountain of clothes. My brain is the same way: my anxieties and worries expand and saturate my mental space unless I take action.When I incorporate some gentle structures into my routine to stay organized, I feel calmer and I have more mental clarity. A few “mental hygiene” routines help me focus on the present moment and cordon stressful thoughts to the appropriate time. When I wake up, I start the day by mentally listing 3 things that I’m grateful for as well as my primary intention for that day. Later, I do a few minutes of meditation (I think of this as strength conditioning for my brain). They’re simple rituals, but keeping my life lightly structured helps me from becoming overwhelmed by stressful thoughts.

Tell us about something you’re passionate about outside of school (e.g., clubs, hobbies, interests, volunteering, activities, etc.)

I try to stay as involved as I can with my family’s chocolate-making business, and a lot of my friends and family work in the restaurant industry. Growing up in this environment as turned me into an incurable “foodie”, but I’m also very concerned with the more practical issues surrounding food like sustainability, environmental conservation and food security. Also, I like to dabble in writing, drawing, and playing music. I think I just reached a turning point where I can accept imperfection in these hobbies. Not only does it feel freeing, I think this attitude has actually made me a better artist!

If you could share one thing that you’d like your peers to know about CAPS, what would it be?

I want people to know that they should never feel shame for feeling like they need help with mental health issues. There is far too much stigma surrounding mental health care, and I firmly believe that we should all practice “mental hygiene” and regularly check in on our minds. Most of us automatically brush our teeth twice a day, or apply bandages and antiseptic to cuts and scrapes. I envision a society where we also have habitual practices that serve our mental health.

Ila is a fourth year, double majoring in Politics and Psychology, and she is affiliated with Stevenson.