The transition into college is an exciting time for students, and it is also a difficult time of new challenges, stressors, and responsibilities. The pressure to get good grades, get involved on campus, find part-time employment, meet new people, and maintain the "college lifestyle" can cause many students' anxiety levels.
Even though college brings many opportunities, it can also bring stress and mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health definition is emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how you think, feel and act, and it also helps determine how you handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
- Emotional well-being has to do with managing and expressing our feelings. It also involves identifying, processing, understanding, and communicating emotions or moods.
- Psychological well-being might be best described as having a healthy balance of positive thinking versus negative thinking. Mental health is often reflected in how you think about yourself, your future, and relationships with others.
- Social well-being involves the quality of our interpersonal skills and relationships. It means how you relate to others - your ability to form healthy connections with people in your family, social circles, school, or work environments. It also deals with our capacity to reach out when we need help or feel down.
Finally, mental well-being is about having a sense of control over your life, recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, and knowing that you can make changes to accomplish goals. It also means feeling comfortable in your skin and believing in yourself.
Below find nineteen tips to help manage your mental health and well-being when in college:
1. Make the most out of the present and check in regularly with yourself
It means taking time for you each day. It also involves setting some quiet time aside to contemplate, process your feelings, think about your goals, and consider how well things are going.
2. Set some personal boundaries
Setting boundaries helps you feel more secure and safe and avoid negative interactions. Make sure to treat yourself with respect and care.
3. Get enough rest and stay balanced
You will be more likely to meet your goals, feel good about life, think clearly, and focus on the present if you get enough sleep each night and eat a balanced diet.
4. Accept that everyone makes mistakes
Accepting that everyone makes mistakes can help you be less critical of yourself and others. It also means knowing how to change what you do not like about your life instead of feeling down on yourself.
5. Allow yourself to experience new things
Taking risks will allow for more experiences, growth, and happiness and open up to new opportunities.
6. Practice relaxation techniques
Relaxation will help you feel calmer, solve problems effectively, handle tense situations better, and sleep better at night. Try getting enough sleep each night, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, practicing meditation or yoga, writing in your journal each day.
Some relaxation techniques include; yoga, meditation, massage, or simply taking a stroll in the park or by the beach.
7. Take care of your physical self
You will feel better about yourself and improve your mental health when you take care of your physical well-being through proper hygiene, exercise, nutrition, and staying on top of medical appointments.
8. Join groups or clubs
Participating in school activities or volunteer work can help meet new people and form friendships. It also increases your sense of belonging and feeling more satisfied with life.
9. Identify the times of day when you feel most alert and productive
Are you a morning person? Or do you perform better at night? Knowing your "prime time" allows you to plan to study around it.
10. Keep a journal
Writing down your thoughts, emotions, and experiences can help you process them better and provide valuable information about yourself later on in life. You could also try keeping an online journal or blog if that works better for you.
11. Learn how to manage stress
Whenever possible, try to avoid stressful situations. However, if a challenging situation arises, use your problem-solving skills and ask for help when needed. Learn how to say "no" and find healthy ways of coping with stress such as; meditation, getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly.
12. Avoid dwelling on the past
Focus on what you can do now to improve your life. It also means accepting that things are not always going to go as planned and thanking yourself for everything you have accomplished so far.
13. Take care of your mental health
If you feel depressed, anxious, or struggling with other issues, take care of your mental health by seeking professional help.
14. Do not be afraid to ask for help
Getting help does not mean you are weak. You can start by asking for academic help from experts, and it will guarantee better academic results. It simply means that you are smart enough to know when you need assistance, and that is a great trait to have.
15. Learn new skills
You will feel more satisfied, fulfilled, and confident if you try new things regularly, whether cooking classes, yoga lessons, or learning something new.
16. Treat everyone with respect
It is important to remember that everyone has something to offer, and it will make the world a better place if you learn to accept people for who they are. Remember, when you interact with someone, you are in charge of your own emotions and behaviors, so do not allow others to control them.
17. Speak up for yourself
Do not allow others to take advantage of you, and do not feel guilty about setting healthy boundaries. If someone is doing something that makes you uncomfortable, speak up and let them know how their words or actions make you feel.
18. Be true to who you are
If it feels right, follow your instincts, stay true to your values, and do not let anyone try to change or convince you otherwise.
19. Take one step at a time
Please do not compare yourself to others, and life is about the journey, not the destination, so enjoy it! Do not be afraid of taking risks; they often lead to new opportunities. If something does not work out, move on instead of beating yourself up over it.
You can do so many things to improve your mental health, and you have to find what works for you and stay true to yourself.