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How to Care for Your Mental Health in College
by Guest Blogger, Ginger Abbot

Going to college is exciting but stressful. It might be the first time you live away from family or tackle a challenging course schedule. It’s vital to take care of your mental health in college so none of these new experiences ruin your overall wellness.

Your college years are supposed to be a time of freedom and exploration. Depression and anxiety prevent you from getting the most out of your student experience. These tips will show you what to look out for and how to take care of yourself while working toward your diploma.

 

1. Recognize Burnout Symptoms

 

New college students often find their class schedule more rigorous than high school. You may have to do more homework and study outside of class, which takes up most of your free time. Although it’s crucial to prioritize the education you’re paying for, you should also recognize classic burnout symptoms and take a break when your body needs one.

Burnout occurs when you work too hard for too long. You might experience insomnia or digestive problems. You could snap at friends or battle procrastination more than usual. When you have these symptoms, taking regular breaks gives your mind a much-needed rest period. You’ll return to your work with renewed energy and improve your mental health in university.

 

2. Eat Healthy Foods

 

College is often the first time young people have to feed themselves. At first, you might eat pizza and burgers every day in the university cafeteria, but you’ll eventually feel sluggish from all the junk food. Your mental health takes a dive when you don’t fuel yourself properly.

Anyone can learn to eat healthy in college, even on a budget. Balance your meals and snacks between on- and off-campus purchases while getting all the nutrients your body needs to regulate your mental health.

 

3. Restructure Your Financial Life

 

Some student loans don’t require monthly payments until after you graduate, but not all of them. Financial stress from new bills could cause more stress and anxiety, making it more challenging to do well in class and juggle your social life.

Improve your mental health in college by scheduling small biweekly payments and looking into public service careers. You won’t make any large payments while you’re in school, and your future career could make you eligible for loan forgiveness. Minimize your current financial stress and look forward to more freedom after graduation.

 

4. Get Better Sleep

 

Your friends may invite you for an all-nighter in the library, but you shouldn’t do that too often. Skipping sleep disrupts your circadian rhythm, which hurts your mental health. The different sleep stages facilitate the brain’s processing abilities, helping you work through emotional situations or information from class. It’s one of the easiest mental health tips that makes the biggest immediate impact on your life.

 

5. Speak With a Therapist

 

Many universities offer free therapy to students who pay yearly student fees. Browse your school’s website to find mental health resources. They’ll guide you through personal challenges, whether they started in college or before. You’ll get professional help for a fraction of the cost. Learn about new self-care tools and set yourself up for mental health success even after graduation.

 

6. Avoid Isolating Yourself

 

After moving into your dorm or apartment, avoid isolating yourself. You might find college overwhelming sometimes or need to decompress after a stressful week of classes. Spending time alone can help, but not if it becomes a regular part of your routine.

Recent research shows that isolation increases memory decline with age, but it can start at any point in your life. You’re also likely to feel depressed without social stimulation, like friends making you laugh or creating new life experiences. Spending time by yourself every so often is good, but balance it by hanging out with friends to maintain your mental well-being.

 

Take Care of Your Mental Health

 

Now that you know how to take care of your mental health in university, experiment with these tips. You might thrive with regular therapy appointments or restructuring your financial life. When you find something that works, you’ll start storing extra mental health tips that make college much more enjoyable.

 

About the Author

Ginger Abbot is a college, career and learning writer with a special interest in student life. Read more of her work on Classrooms, where she also serves as Editor-in-Chief.

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