Taking Care of Your Mental Health in College: Helpful Ways to Stay Well

College is a huge time of change for young adults. It’s exciting, liberating, and terrifying all at once, so getting through it requires a great amount of mental wellness.

Students often struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. However, there are lots of resources available to help. Taking care of your mental health in college will set the stage for healthy habits into adulthood, and this article will teach you just how to do it.

1. Get enough sleep

College can be an emotional minefield for some, and getting enough sleep is essential to maintain good mental health. Poor sleep, on the other hand, is associated with depression, anxiety, and trouble concentrating and learning. In addition, it increases your risk for injury and may affect your mood and performance.

Often, students don’t sleep enough because they are juggling too many responsibilities and stressors. They may also be adjusting to new environments, looking for a good paper writer for their needs and balancing their social life with their academics while consuming too much caffeine or alcohol to stay awake. Still, this way of staying active is not healthy at all and can lead even to problems with their physical health in future.

2. Exercise a lot

Unfortunately, many students experience mental health issues during college, including mood disturbances and other problems that interfere with their academic progress. These conditions can greatly affect their lives and even lead to suicide.

As a great option to fight and prevent those problems, some students revert to physical exercise – an activity that is good for both their body and mind. Whether by taking a yoga class, lifting weights, or running on a treadmill, exercise has been proven to help with depression and anxiety by increasing and stabilizing neurotransmitter levels of anyone who practices it.

Students need to recognize any signs of depression, mental fatigue, or anxiety from the very beginning and seek the help they need. While some may be reluctant to seek professional help due to stigma, financial limitations, or fear of judgment by peers and faculty, there are still ways for them to receive treatment. One option is to find a mental health wellness center on campus. In addition to offering counseling services, these centers often educate students about mental illness and stress management. This information can be especially helpful for non-traditional students who have difficulty accessing mental health resources and care.

3. Eat healthy

College can be stressful for many students. Their schedules shift from class to studying to working or hanging out with friends, and often, eating habits and patterns are impacted as well.

While more research is needed to establish dietary connections with specific mental health conditions, studies indicate that, overall, healthy diets may offer protection against anxiety and depression. A diet rich in whole foods, fish and omega-3s, fiber, pre- and probiotics, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can boost serotonin levels and reduce inflammation. Also, sticking to a positive eating routine can make students less stressed.

Unfortunately, the typical college student’s diet can lack these nutrient-rich foods. For many students, the cafeteria menu is limited or may not be conducive to a balanced diet. In some cases, food allergies or sensitivities limit the options available. For other students, financial constraints or pressure to fit a certain image may encourage less-than-healthy eating habits. In some instances, these unhealthy diets can lead to disordered eating behaviors such as binge eating or anorexia nervosa, which are serious mental health issues. This is why any student needs to pay close attention to the healthiness and regularity of their mealtimes. Remember: while eating healthy is a long process that requires some planning, it doesn’t have to be complicated or overly limiting.

4. If you spot any symptoms, don’t be afraid to seek help

College is a time and place where students often reinvent themselves, with new opportunities to explore their interests and new social scenes to become part of. However, if a student has a mental health disorder, these changes may trigger or exacerbate symptoms.

Most mental health disorders have their peak onset in young adulthood. Many of these issues are complex, with multiple facets that can contribute to a problem. This is why mental health resources on campus are so important.

Unfortunately, student demands for care outstrip the current capacity of college-based services. As Student Voice data shows, students encounter two- to five-week wait times to see a counselor.

Colleges can address this by enhancing and expanding mental health services, providing access to more counseling sessions for students in crisis, eliminating barriers to getting help, and integrating mental health education into the curriculum. But it’s also up to individual students to take action. Start the year off right by making sure your health insurance covers mental health services in your area, and find a provider that meets your needs.

5. Practice Self-Care

Self-care is an important way to support your mental health, so if you haven’t implemented it in your life – be sure to do it to survive college. This term encompasses everything you do to help yourself feel good, both physically and emotionally. Self-care can include meditation, prayer, yoga, socializing with friends and family, exercising, giving back, laughing, and enjoying your hobbies. It’s also important to maintain a healthy study/life balance and set aside time for rest.

Final words

College is a time of reinvention and opportunity but also a place of intense pressure. Many students find that academic demands, balancing obligations, the social scene, and more significant societal concerns negatively impact their mental health.

And while colleges have limited clinical services and counseling resources, there’s also a stigma surrounding mental health disorders that discourages some from seeking care. Students may worry that disclosing their struggles will put a black mark on their records, or they’ll be judged by peers or faculty. And many don’t even know where to find mental health services on campus, let alone how to access them.

With so many new triggers and experiences, the task of maintaining mental well-being will always be the students’ concern in any case, so using the ideas you just read in this article will help them stay afloat and reach academic success. Anything from physical exercise to mental recharge may help if it works for you, so don’t hesitate and start watching over your mental health right now.

katy petter

Passionate health content writer dedicated to simplifying complex medical topics and promoting wellness. With expertise in nutrition, fitness, and medical breakthroughs, I create informative and engaging content to empower readers in their journey to better health. Let's inspire a healthier world together.

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