Having a toxic living environment, especially at college, can affect your academics and mental health. You deserve to move away from every type of toxic relationship possible in order for you to feel confident and succeed mentally, emotionally, and physically throughout the school year. Here are some tips to help move away from these types of relationships.
Open Communication Is Key
Open communication is really crucial to moving away from a toxic relationship. If the person is someone that you have a close relationship with, such as a friend, parent, sibling, or partner, you might want to try communicating to change the relationship before moving away from it. This can be scary, and it might help to write down the points that you want to get across to the person beforehand. For example, maybe the problem is that you feel hurt by your friend making fun of you, even in jest. But instead of attacking them, tell them that you love how you can joke together, but sometimes the jokes get taken too far. This way your relationship can move forward in a positive way!
Separating Yourself Physically and Mentally
Take a moment to get some mental and physical space for yourself. Having some separate time to think and relax is always a good way to make a relationship less toxic. You might not want to cut them out of your life completely, so spending less time with them can create a healthier environment for you both. Taking some “Me Time” can also help in this way. Run a bath or a shower with essential oils like lavender to keep calm, happy, and relaxed. Reading your favorite book, or watching a show on TV can also be a good way to unwind when dealing with a toxic relationship. Your relationship with yourself is the most important one that you will have in your life, and you have to make sure that one isn’t toxic as well. Daily yoga in the morning or something as simple as making your bed can make a huge difference in your happiness. They can also create mental clarity so that you can deal with your toxic relationships in a healthy and peaceful way.
Setting boundaries is another key factor in fixing a toxic relationship. This goes with the two points above because your boundaries must be clearly communicated and might involve your mental and physical space as a boundary. They have to respect your boundaries, as a sign of goodwill within the relationship. One way that people have toxic relationships that need set boundaries is between two roommates (or suitemates). Setting a boundary could be time apart or being considerate of when someone is sleeping. If the person does not respect the boundaries you set, you should slowly extricate them from your life: hang out with them less and limit contact (either telling them so or not, and coupled with less texting and hangouts) so they cannot hurt you.
Taking time for yourself while also communicating openly, getting some space, and setting boundaries are all healthy and helpful ways to changing a toxic relationship into a positive one. If you cannot change your toxic relationship with a friend or roommate to a healthy one on your own, there are many resources that can help. Your RA, friends, CAPS, and Housing are always amazing and kind resources to help you out with these issues (from personal experience). I hope you all are leading your best lives, and are treated with the utmost respect.