According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five college students face a mental condition, and nearly three-quarters of mental conditions emerge by age 24. College is exciting, but for many, balancing their mental health and a new chapter in life can pose a challenge.
College comes with a blank slate for new opportunities, self-discovery, responsibilities, and situations, some of which can be overwhelming at times. Your mental health is equally as important as your physical health. The University of Michigan recommends this tips for balancing school and your mental health.
- Value yourself: Respecting yourself is important to maintain positive mental health. Make time for yourself and your hobbies. College is a perfect time to broaden your horizons with new interests.
- Take care of your body: Taking care of your physical self can improve your mental health. Eat nutritious meals and drink plenty of water. Regular physical activating can help decrease depression and anxiety and improve your moods. Also, get plenty of sleep; research shows that lack of sleep can contribute to a high rate of depression.
- Have a support network: Students with a strong support network of family and friends are typically healthier than others. Make plans with your friends and family, and seek out new opportunities to meet people.
- Volunteer: Volunteering your time and energy to help others can make you feel good about yourself, and it is a great way to meet new people.
- Learn how to manage stress: As a college student, managing stress can help you mentally and physically. Find a coping skill that works for you; it may be exercising, playing an instrument, or even journaling. Also, don’t forget to laugh, research shows that laughter can boost your immune system, ease pain, and reduce anxiety and stress.
- Practice quiet time: Making time for mindfulness, meditation, or practicing relaxation exercises can improve your state of mind. Research shows that medication can provide a sense of calm and enhance the effects of therapy.
- Set realistic goals: When in college, you want to succeed academically, professionally, and personally. When setting goals, be realistic and do not over-schedule. You will enjoy a stronger sense of self-worth and accomplishment as you make positive progress.
- Rejuvenate your routine: Routines provide us a sense of security and safety. Perk up your mentality by making a slight change in your jogging route, taking a walk in a new park, trying a new food, or planning a road trip.
- Avoid alcohol and other drugs: Avoiding alcohol and drugs can keep you focused on your goals. Using alcohol and drugs to self-medicate can aggravate already present problems.
- Get help when you need it: If you feel that you do have an issue, get help. Asking someone for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Those seeking appropriate care can recover from a mental health condition or substance abuse and lead a full life.
College is a time to enjoy the next phase of life, but at times it can be overwhelming. It is important to know that you never should suffer alone. Research the mental health or counseling services available at your school, or reach out to someone in your support system if you feel a sense a feeling of extreme stress that you are unable to cope with.
Pasadena Villa is also available to provide help. If you or a loved one would like more information on anxiety, depression, or other mental health or co-occurring substance use disorders, please call us at 877-845-5235 or complete our contact form. We currently offer treatment at two residential locations in both Orlando, Florida and Knoxville, Tennessee, and outpatient services in Raleigh, North Carolina.