Six Mental Health Habits for College Students
Six Mental Health Habits for College Students
It is that time of the year again when college students are returning to campuses and classes are beginning to start. It is the time of the year when, as a college student, you might start to feel overwhelmed, excited, or nervous about what the upcoming year has in store. Whether you are new to college or starting your senior year, there are some healthy habits you can put in place to support your mental health.
The counselors and therapists at Whole Journey regularly work with college students on coping with stress and managing symptoms of anxiety and depression. The college years are an exciting time but they are also full of challenges and changes. We understand. That is why we put together this list of healthy habits:
1.) Take Time for Self-Care
Balance is so important for everyone. Self-care is the best way to ensure that you stay in balance. In between study sessions, take time to do the things that make you feel centered, relaxed, and happy. This could be exercise, yoga, breathing techniques, meditation, massages, coffee dates with friends, a bubble bath, calling a friend, or going to bed early. Whatever it is you feel like you need, listen to your body and your brain and take care of yourself. You will be a better student if you take time for yourself.
2.) Consider A Mix of Classes
This is a two-pronged tip. Consider a mix of online and in-person classes. Online classes are great for students who learn at their own pace. They allow for more freedom of completing assignments and viewing lecturers, while in-person classes are a great time to get some social interaction.
Also, consider mixing in some fun classes with the serious ones. Maybe take an art class or a bowling class for some extra credit. You can look at it as some forced fun, a small break in your days from all the hard work.
3.) Don’t Overdo It
Taking on too much is a common mistake for college students. It is easy to think you can do it all until all your assignments become due at the same time and you feel overwhelmed. Look for balance (yes, there is a theme here!). Don’t try to take organic chemistry and advanced calculus in the same semester, take it from me. If you need to work while you are in school then consider a smaller course load. Know when to say “no.”
`4.) Know When to Get Help
It is ok, and perfectly normal, to need help. Counselors and therapists can be great tools when you are struggling with balance or other mental health issues. They can be a sounding board and provide helpful tools and tips to adjust your life to fit you better. If you are struggling with paying attention, are feeling down a lot, find yourself crying or upset frequently, and/or are struggling to sleep, it may be time to seek out some help.
5.) Get Plenty of Sleep
Yes, sleep. That is one thing that college students never seem to get enough of. It might seem like a good idea to stay up all night studying or go out all night and get up early for that morning class, but it’s not. Your sleep is so important. It helps you to retain the information you have learned and keep better tabs on your mental health. It helps you to find calm, clarity, and order in your life. It helps you tackle things like anxiety and depression better.
6.) Eat Well
Pizza, wings, ramen, chips, popcorn, and candy do not make for balanced, healthy eating habits. Junk food, even though it tastes good, is not great for your mental or physical health. It doesn’t make you feel good, thus leading to your brain not feeling great either. While it is ok to eat some junk, don’t make it all you eat. Fit in some veggies and fruits and balanced proteins wherever you can. Your brain and your body will thank you.
Don’t Wait If You are Struggling
If you can’t seem to get out of a funk or you are just waiting for these feelings “to pass,” don’t. Get help now. The earlier you tackle mental health struggles, the earlier you can get back to feeling good. Most college campuses have mental health professionals ready to help. Or, you may want to consider reaching out for help from a counselor or therapist outside of school. Anyone who can help you to sort through your feelings and give you healthy coping tools is a good resource.
Ready to begin counseling in Virginia or North Carolina?
Whole Journey works with clients throughout the state of Virginia and North Carolina via our online and telehealth counseling platforms. We have office locations in Chesapeake, Richmond, and Charlotte. Our counselors are professionally trained in helping people to live healthier, happier lives. We want to see you thrive. Call our Virginia offices at 757-296-0800 or our North Carolina office at 980- 209-9805 to schedule an appointment.