Mental Health

Managing Mental Health as a College Student: 6 Ways to Keep Your Sanity This Semester

Mental health is so much more than just feeling happy or blue. It’s about having the tools to keep your stress at bay, so you can handle anything that's thrown at you. As a college student, you’ll face a lot of challenges both inside and outside of the classroom. Balancing school, relationships and social activities while also keeping up with assignments, papers and projects can be taxing on anyone. Although it may leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, being in college also provides you with an excellent opportunity to grow as an individual. After all, what better time to develop habits that will serve you for the rest of your life? Maintaining good mental health as a college student is not always easy. Here are six ways to keep your sanity this semester:

Stay Organized and Set Realistic Goals

Keeping a healthy mental state is all about balance. You need to be challenged enough to stay engaged and interested, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope. If you’re struggling with finding that balance, start by keeping yourself organized. You might not be able to control all the stressors in your life, but if you are able to keep on top of your coursework and organize your time appropriately, you’ll be able to handle whatever comes your way much more easily. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, one of the best ways to take control of the situation is to set realistic goals that are manageable and short-term. Break down your long-term and short-term goals, and then prioritize them in order of importance. Visualizing your short-term goals and the steps you’re taking to achieve them can help you stay focused and motivated. And don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. There is no shame in seeking support from friends, family or even a therapist.

Write Down ALL of your To-Dos

It’s estimated that the average college student has around 16 hours of homework every week. That’s a lot of assignments! It’s not uncommon for a student’s to-do list to become overwhelming and stressful. The key to surviving this period is to prioritize and organize your time wisely. That doesn’t mean you should ignore everything else in your life and focus on your homework for 16 hours a day. It means that you need to acknowledge that there will be times when your workload is heavy, and you will need to prioritize your assignments and make sure you are not spending too much time on one project.

Get Regular Exercise

Exercise releases endorphins, which helps to combat feelings of sadness or depression and improves your mood. You may not always have time to squeeze in a workout, but when you do, it will help you to stay on track and keep your stress levels down. If you don’t have time to hit the gym or go for a run, there are plenty of simple exercises you can do while you’re waiting in line or sitting at your desk. If you’re a student who tends to eat on the go, the extra challenges in your daily life may prompt you to skip meals or eat unhealthy snacks. Avoid this by stocking up on healthy foods that you can grab and go when you’re short on time.

Make Time for Self-Care

Everyone’s needs are different, but it’s important to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break from your daily life and engage in a self-care activity. Some ideas include journaling, meditating, reading a book, going for a walk or watching a movie. You can even try scheduling a regular time each day when you can set aside a few minutes to slow down and prioritize your own well-being. If you are feeling overwhelmed or if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, taking time to practice self-care is even more important. It can help you to regain a sense of control over your life and provide you with the energy and motivation you need to get through your busy schedule.

Learn to Say No

Even though you’re probably eager to get involved in as many activities as possible and make the most of your time in college, learn to say no when you need to. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you should avoid over-extending yourself so you don’t become overwhelmed. Before you say yes to an invitation or commitment, stop and ask yourself if you have the time and energy to take on the new responsibility. Remember that you don’t have to do everything. And if you make a mistake or miss out on an opportunity, don’t beat yourself up. You will have plenty of time to try new things in the future.

Take Care of your Physical Health

In addition to managing your mental health, you also want to be sure to take care of your physical health. After all, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind! Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Avoid skipping meals, and make sure you’re eating a balanced diet so you’re getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals. Avoid spending too much time on your devices. Being on your phone or computer can lead to eye strain and potential posture problems, not to mention how much time it takes away from other activities like reading a book or going for a walk.

College is an exciting time in your life, but it can also be stressful. It’s important to take care of your mental health by getting enough sleep, eating well and finding time to exercise. It’s also important to manage your stress levels by staying organized and setting realistic goals. You can also help maintain your mental health by engaging in self-care activities like journaling or meditating. Don't forget to take breaks from studying and spend time with friends to avoid burning out. By taking care of your mental health, you’ll be better prepared to handle the challenges of college life and have a more enjoyable experience overall.