7 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health on Campus

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1. Balance work and play
Devoting all your time to your social life is a sure way to get you stressed and anxious about getting work done and passing your classes, but constantly neglecting your social life isn’t too good for your mental health either.  Balance is the key! Figure out how to manage your time so that you can feel confident about your academics, but still have time to spend with friends.

2. Keep in touch
Sometimes living on campus can make you feel pretty disconnected from your life back home.  Embrace college life; it is something to be enjoyed.  But don’t get secluded from your life outside of college.  No matter how far away you are, remember that you can keep in touch from any distance.  Staying in touch with loved ones can make you feel a lot better when you’re feeling down.  It can be grounding to remember your world and your loved-ones outside of campus, and it’s always comforting to hear from a parent or best friend you’ve known your whole life.  Talk on the phone, text, email, video-chat, but remember that you have an entire support system off campus.  Doing this on a routine basis can help fight homesickness too.

3. Face the day
Sometimes when you get stressed or depressed, it’s easy to go into hermit-mode, i.e. staying in the confines of your dorm room.  It’s as important to have alone time as much as it is to be social, but cutting yourself off from people, even for just a day or two, isn’t good for your psyche.  Staying alone in your dorm all day can get you stuck in your own head, replaying any negative emotions you may have over and over.  It can make you feel isolated, and even cause fatigue despite possible increased napping.  So go outside and face the day, even when things get rough.

4. Stay rested
It’s always important to get enough sleep to maintain your overall health, but during times of emotional stress, it’s even more vital.  And please note: nodding off during lecture classes is not a sufficient source of sleep!  When you’re overtired, stress can feel magnified, and you won’t be feeling your best, which will make it even more difficult to stay on top of things.  Definitely avoid all-nighters, and remember that staying well-rested is essential for your mental well-being.

5. Make goals for yourself
You can make goals for your long-term stay at college, or you can set little goals for yourself every day.  Be aware of what it is you want to work on improving or accomplishing.  If you’re shy, set a goal to raise your hand in class.  Strive to get an A, to eat better, to relax, to not procrastinate— whatever you would like to work on, or know that you need to work on.  If you are conscious of your goals, you can remind yourself to keep moving towards them every day.

6. Find time to unwind
If you’re constantly in motion, it can be tough to find your calm.  At the end of a long day, or when you get up after a long night, do something to allow you to reflect and feel at ease.  Try simple things like writing in a journal, doing some stretches, or going for a walk.  Just always remember to take the time to breathe!

7. Use campus counseling services
If you get anxious or depressed, you don’t have to carry the weight of those emotions alone.  Take advantage of any counseling services that your college has to offer.  Talk with a counselor—that’s what they’re there for, and they’re experienced in helping college students work through problems.  More students seek counseling than you might think, so never feel self-conscious about going.  You might get some helpful advice, but at the very least you’ll have someone to listen to you.

About Breanna Locke

avatar Breanna is a recent graduate of Emerson College where she earned her BA in Writing, Literature & Publishing. Her interests include creative writing, blogging, copyediting, publishing, and social media. She is currently an editorial intern at an academic publishing house near Boston.

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