College can be a very stressful time for many young adults, and it’s an important time to take a look at mental health. Not only do college students need to manage the stress of classes and homework, but many are also balancing jobs, sports and extracurricular activities. In addition, most college students are also living away from home and their familiar support systems for the first time in their lives.
It is important to talk to a mental health professional about psychological and physical symptoms that might be pointing to a mental health disorder. In some cases, treatments like medication and therapy may be needed. However, there are also some lifestyle changes and practical steps students can take to better support their mental health and wellbeing. Here are 10 important mental health tips for college students.
- Take care of your body. Make sure you are exercising, eating nutritious meals and getting plenty of sleep. Exercise particularly can release endorphins and give you something to be proud of and to strive for.
- Practice gratitude. Many people have heard of appreciating the little things. Take time each night to write out a few things that made you happy today.
- Journal. Keeping a written or video journal is a great form of self-care. Expressing your thoughts and feelings on a regular basis can prevent them from building up and overwhelming you.
- Try meditation and mindfulness. Mindfulness and meditation have been shown to reduce stress, improve focus and support a sense of peace and wellbeing.
- Get Creative. Creativity can unlock different areas of the brain and get us in touch with our hearts. Try creating something small—like a sketch or poem—and work your way up from there.
- Establish a support system. It is difficult to maintain mental health on your own. By surrounding yourself with supportive peers, you will be investing in your long term health and happiness.
- Get outdoors. Getting outside and reconnecting with nature can sometimes be very helpful for students who spend most of their time indoors.
- Volunteer. Sometimes giving to others and spending time with those less fortunate can provide a fresh perspective and sense of gratitude.
- Set boundaries. Healthy boundaries are essential for mental health. Take time to identify and state what you are a “yes” or “no” to—whether that is a person, a situation or a thought pattern.
- Ask for help. Asking for help is not easy and takes courage and a commitment to your own health. No one is an island, and trying to power through a difficult situation on your own may lead to burnout.
RecDiv is the first online job platform created specifically to connect employers with students and alumni from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. RecDiv gives students access to the resources and career opportunities they need to succeed in a challenging job market.