If you're like most students, you probably feel a little overwhelmed ... regularly. Stress is a great motivator so long as it doesn't get out of control or last for too long. There are a few things you can do to manage your stress levels, as well as other issues that may impact your mental health in college.
In this article, we will take a closer look at a few mental health tips for college students so you're prepared.
Mental Health Tips for College Students
It's important for you to take care of your mental health while in college. Doing so will ensure you're able to balance the many responsibilities you have. As we discussed in a previous article, ignoring your mental health may cause a variety of issues capable of derailing your productivity, focus, and overall performance in school.
We thought we might be able to provide some help.
Below are 7 mental health tips for college students that you can start practicing today.
1. Get Good Sleep
When you sleep, your brain assists your body in healing itself from the stressors you encountered during the day. Because many college students do not get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night, they begin feeling tired, worn down, and overwhelmed.
This mental health tip for college students is important because when you lack good sleep, your body is not able to produce enough serotonin, dopamine and other chemicals to keep stress, anxiety, and depression at bay.
To get good sleep, turn off all technological devices. The lights and energy from a cell phone, computer and television can trigger your mind to stay away. A ringing phone at 2 am will interrupt the sleep you are getting.
2. Check-in with A Campus Counselor
This mental health tip for college students can be a game-changer. Counseling has been given such a bad rap over the years, but fortunately, college students are recognizing its benefits and the stigmas are reducing.
Meeting with a campus counselor, or a counselor within the community, allows you to learn stress management techniques, how to calm yourself before a test, and how to combat other issues you may be facing.
With counseling, you are given a set time just for you. You can vent to someone who will keep what you say confidential. They will give you objective advice and even help you with time management, goal setting, and building a support network.
3. Build a Support Network
Building a support network is a mental health tip for college students that should be done by everyone. Being a part of someone else’s support network can help too. Every college student feels overwhelmed, confused and disheartened at some point in their college life.
Being able to reach out to others for help can mean the difference between giving up and reaching success. Your support network should include professors, friends, family members, resident advisors, your counselor, and anyone else you feel can help you rise above a problem.
Assign roles for each person in your support network. For example, calling your friend for a pep talk when you’ve had a bad day; emailing your professor when you feel overwhelmed with assignments; or calling home when you feel homesick.
4. Get Active
You have likely heard this mental health tip for college students before, that exercise leads to a happier mood. This is so true. When you are active, endorphins are released into your body, along with dopamine and serotonin.
These chemicals boost your mood, suppress pain, and gives you a feeling of reward. Sticking to an exercise routine, even if it is walking for thirty minutes each day, can elevate your mood. Exercise can also help you sleep better, have more energy during the day, and concentrate better on assignments and during tests.
5. Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
Many think the party life is what college life is all about. What they may not understand is that you can party in college without using drugs or alcohol. You don’t need substances to help you meet new friends or to have a good time. You don’t need them to relax.
In fact, drugs and alcohol keep you from relaxing. They create problems, not solve them. And the negative aftereffects can last for days.
Avoiding drugs and alcohol is the mental health tip for college students that can prevent hangovers, being late for class, sleep issues, and making a fool of yourself.
There are plenty of sober activities taking place on your campus, as well as sober groups and peer mentors if you need extra help avoiding the party scene.
6. Eat a Healthy Diet
Just as important as avoiding drugs and alcohol, eating a healthy diet is one of the top mental health tips for college students. That’s because what you put into your body, will affect your mood. Chemicals that regulate moods such as happiness, anger, anxiety, and depression live in both your brain and your body.
The healthier the food and drinks you consume, the better regulated your mood will be and the better your body will be able to release the chemicals that make you feel good.
A night of drinking beer and taking shots, followed by a pizza binge at midnight is going to make you feel awful, physically and mentally. Eating healthy meals that include fruit and vegetables each day will offer positive benefits.
7. Reward Yourself
Recognizing your value and worth, reaching the goals you set, accomplishing difficult tasks are just a few of the things that prove you are doing a great job. Rewarding yourself for all your hard work is a mental health tip for college students that is underutilized.
Rewarding yourself means doing something nice for yourself because you deserve it, you have earned it. Feeling proud and confident about your progress can help you feel excited to continue your college journey.
Between each reward, set a new goal. Reach that goal and reward yourself again. You can even take this routine with you after graduation and into the real world.