Are you a college student? Do you find that you are struggling with your mental health? While being in college does have its perks (freedom, a diverse social life), it does come with its challenges. There are increased responsibilities, your sleeping habits may change from meeting new people, and with the amount of time you will spend studying, there can be a lack of time to pay attention to self-care. My first year of college I was extremely stressed. I was taking far too many classes that I had time for all while working part time as well. No one told me to take it slow or give me guidance for how to protect my mental health. Have no fear, I am here to provide some tips and tricks for how you can stay sane during your college years. And who knows, perhaps once you are finished with school, you can pass these down to friends you know and you can help them, too.
If you’re anything like me, I have come to learn that I am my own harshest critic. I beat myself up for some of the silliest things and the perfectionist in me is not always the best trait to have. I want to work hard, but even when I do, I tend to believe that even that is not enough. I highly believe that we don’t give ourselves the credit we deserve. We beat ourselves up when we fail when we thought achievement was at reach and sometimes, we are cruel to others for no good reason. Good karma exists. It’s important that during the college years we are not only nice to ourselves, but to others as well. I’m not sure if I will ever live in a world where kindness is an everyday act, but we can at least try our best to put as much good into the world as we can. So, let’s celebrate ourselves and others when we can. Let’s give a helping hand whether it’s paying for a stranger’s meal while they’re out to lunch because if you put out good energy into the world, it’s going to come right back. If you find that you’re struggling on that marine biology exam, remember to take a deep breath and know that whatever happens for the final outcome of the grade, you did your best and that’s all that truly matters.
Asking for help can be scary. Often times it can make us feel weak because we struggle with the fact that we can’t or are having a difficult time getting out of a predicament of some sort. We live in a society where millions and millions of people are struggling with their mental health because of the difficulties in life we are all now facing. For example, the Covid-19 pandemic. I believe there always comes a point in someone’s life where they learn that it’s okay to ask for help… because it is. If you don’t feel that your friends and family are giving you the support you need during your years at college, know that it is more than acceptable to reach out to a therapist or counselor. There are also many hot lines that you can call and speak to someone over the phone. They will listen as you cry on the other side and they will also tell you that everything is going to be okay. Please don’t be afraid of asking for help. Even if you believe you are the only one who is doing so, I promise you, you are not and, in the end, it will make all of the difference in uplifting your mental health.
Often times we as humans try so hard to be our strongest self that we forget to recognize when we are struggling. Struggling is good. Life is not meant to be easy, there will be far more challenging times then there will be good times. That is why it’s important to take a deep breath and understand when we start to become sad or angry or just frustrated with how life is going. Yes, college is supposed to be fun and you’re going to meet more people than you ever thought you would, but it’s also going to be excruciatingly tough at times. It’s okay to slow down and not go as fast as others are going in life. We all have our own journey. But in the end, taking care of our mental health matters and if you keep pushing that sadness or madness out the way, it’s going to jump up on you all at once and it’s going to be overwhelming—and no one wants to experience that feeling.
Nature is one of the best ways to take care of your mental health and studies show that it can reduce those emotions of fear, stress and anxiety and turn them into uplifting vibes that you so desperately need for your soul. The best thing about nature? It’s right outside our window. It’s also free, so that’s an even better perk. For me, just sitting outside and listening to the birds sing can make me feel rejuvenated instantly. I enjoy taking a walk through a park or through the woods on a sunny or rainy day and so should you. Somehow all of my worries and the struggles that I have seem to dissipate or a short while and I feel good. If you’re a college student who is feeling overwhelmed with homework, take an hour or two and take a walk outside. Enjoy the sunshine, listen to the rain. I promise that you will feel even just a tiny bit better.
Writing for me has always been the outlet I turn to during desperate times when I have a vast amount of anxiety or stress that seems too overwhelming to carry. We as humans can only carry so much emotion and at some point, we have to let it out or we’re just going to break. Whether it’s writing your thoughts out in a diary, Microsoft word document (which is something I often do) or if it’s just some words on a sticky note, writing your thoughts out on paper can make a gigantic difference in your mental health. Sometimes I will write something out and immediately throw it in the trash to never be read again. It feels powerful in a sense and every time I feel instantly better.
There is a lot that goes into a great dorm room. You enter the room with a blank slate, and…