College can be a time of immense change and personal growth. There, you find your passions, get inspired, and figure out who you are and who you want to be. Conversely, it is a time of immense pressure as well. With college comes the advent of new challenges and responsibilities. Often, you are dealing with relationships, academics, finances, and careers on a level you have not yet experienced, which can be a lot to handle. These and other factors can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and hopelessness in the college student. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 75% of all mental health conditions begin by age 24, affecting an estimated 1 in 5 young adults. This makes college one of the most important times to be conscious of your mental state and build a foundation for healthy coping skills.
What You Can Do on Your Own
Incorporating your physical, mental, and emotional needs into your daily routine is crucial, and doing so with an individualized perspective is the most effective way. Especially when crafting your schedule, keep your needs and limitations in mind. Designate regular times for meals and breaks, and find recreational activities that bring you calmness and excitement to give yourself joy and relaxation throughout the week.
Further, healthy coping skills such as meditation and breathing exercises can be used at a moment’s notice to help you calm down in stressful situations, and creative outlets, like painting, cooking, and journaling, can help you through feelings of low mood. In addition, surround yourself with people you trust who understand the things you are going through. Having social support in college provides a buffer to the stress you may be facing.
Lastly, research has long supported ties between physical and mental health, so try not to neglect your body. Give yourself sufficient sleep, healthy food, and exercise to promote optimal functioning all-around. This will have positive effects for your physical health, emotional well-being, and academic performance as well.
Though every college is different, it is likely that your institution provides resources to aid your transition and overall experience. These may take the form of traditional means like pamphlets, support groups, and mental health centers, but they may also include more contemporary ideas like hosting therapy dogs. It is important to familiarize yourself with what your specific institution has to offer so that in particularly challenging times, you know what your options are.Mental Health & Wellbeing in College
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