7 Ways to Care for Your Mental Health on Campus

7 Ways to Care for Your Mental Health on Campus

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College can be a stressful time. You’re likely going further away from home. There’s this often unspoken pressure that you’re choosing a major that is going to put you on the path for the rest of your life. You’re surrounded by new people and new possibilities. It can be a lot to handle.

You’re often also learning how to balance your physical, social, and mental health. While you are likely used to navigating your physical and social health, caring for your mental health may be new. Taking care of your mental health doesn’t have to be difficult with these seven tips.

1. Consider Online Mental Health Options

Online Mental Health Options

Many colleges offer counseling services for students who need someone to talk to, and online therapy is becoming more widely accessible. The stress from classes and unpredictability of college life can contribute to anxiety, and being alone and away from home can worsen depression symptoms. Anxiety and depression are two of the more common obstacles young adults face in their academic life.

If you’re starting college and already aware of challenges you might have, you could consider online mental health treatment. If deemed appropriate by a medical professional, you can easily obtain a prescription from the privacy of your dorm room. Plenty of people have anxiety surrounding scheduling and attending doctor’s visits, especially when it comes to their mental health. You definitely don’t need any added stress while on campus.

2. Exercise On a Regular Basis

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Physical and mental health heavily affect one another. Exercise is important to keeping a happy and healthy mind. There are many different forms of exercise, so try different styles and locations until you find what you like. Exercise boosts endorphins, which lessen symptoms of depression and anxiety.

You can visit the gym on campus or even get moving in your dorm room. Apps for at-home workouts can help, if you have gym anxiety. Workout apps supply exercises for all skill levels at the touch of a fingertip. They also offer many different instructors and training programs, so you can find what piques your interest. To get outside, you could also take walks around campus or consider joining an intramural team at your university.

3. Eat Foods That Fuel You

The Best Ways to Fuel Your Workouts Might Surprise You – Cleveland Clinic

Your gut health is connected to your mental health. As a college student, it can be easy to make a habit of eating fast food, but that’s not usually best. While dining halls always have burgers and pizza, it can be beneficial to browse the healthier options. Most dining halls also have a salad bar, and occasionally offer vegetables as a side. If brussel sprouts sound unbearable, carrots or sweet potato fries also offer some nutritional value.

Choose food, not for the taste, but for the fuel, it will give your body. Meeting your body’s basic needs sets you up for a healthy mind. If you are already diagnosed with mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, a bad diet can exacerbate your symptoms. Focus on eating plenty of vegetables and fruits and avoid overly processed foods. It’s important to meet all vitamin requirements of your body, especially B vitamins.

4. Do an Activity That Makes You Happy

Relaxing activities to do at home during COVID-19 quarantine

Hobbies are essential to your mental well-being. Find something that you enjoy doing and prioritize doing it every day. This can range from constructing puzzles to cultivating a garden. If you find that your mind seems busy, pick up a hobby, so you have something to focus on. Finding activities that you like can boost your mood and help you feel more in control. It’s important to prioritize doing what you love, even if it isn’t school or your future career.

If you choose to enjoy an activity outdoors, even better. As simple as it may sound, going outside can improve mental well-being. Research shows spending time outdoors has been linked to a decrease in anxiety. The sun is a natural source of vitamin D, and the proper balance of vitamins helps you lead a healthy life. Going outside also helps boost your mood, especially when combined with the physical exercise mentioned earlier.

5. Socialize and Set Boundaries with Friends and Family

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It’s easy to stay in the comfort zone that is your dorm room, but you need to challenge yourself to socialize. People need socialization to lead a happy, healthy life. Remember the people that care about you want to spend time with you too.

In college, money can often be a big deterrent to socializing, so try low-budget ideas. You could host a game night in your dorm room or even start a pickup basketball game. These ideas allow you to be social without the extra monetary expense. If you want to spend some money, a hall potluck is a fun way to get together and try new foods.

While socializing is great, remember you can also set boundaries. Saying “yes” to every opportunity can wear you down mentally. It may be hard to tell others that you can’t show up for them, but you can do it. Boundary work can look like creating a list of priorities and making sure not to over-commit yourself. This list can consist of: school work, certain social events, and chores. After setting these boundaries, commit to putting them into practice to benefit your mental health.

6. Give Yourself a Break

How to actually give yourself a break during COVID-19 | Well+Good

Do activities that give your brain a break like listening to music, coloring, or meditating. Calming music can create a relaxing environment, no matter what you are doing. When you’re feeling frustrated or anxious, try taking a break to do an activity you enjoy. Meditating can help you calm your mind and body by acknowledging each thought and allowing it to pass. It’s important to allow your brain to have time to reset, so you can reduce your stress levels.

Caring for your mental health during college can be daunting, but you can manage it with the right tools. Online mental health treatment can provide convenience. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can do wonders for your mental health. Remember to go outside and do activities that bring you happiness. Spend time with those you love and set healthy boundaries.

Most importantly, don’t forget to give yourself a break when you need one. College is about learning, and learning how to prioritize your mental health is a victory. Take care of yourself, and you’ll be successful in classes and whatever you decide to pursue next.

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