Browsing Tag

mental health

Health Student Life

Strategies for Prioritizing Mental Health in College

May 16, 2022
five young students sitting together outside

College is a wonderful time in your life. You meet new people, grow beyond your existing ideas, and are constantly working towards the goal of self-improvement. 

But, there’s no doubt that college is stressful, too. Socializing, learning, and developing a career is hard, and accumulating debt can feel overwhelming. 

Combine these stressors with the past few years’ events, and you are sure to feel a little frazzled. 

But, in the long run, college is undoubtedly worth it. You make friendships that last a lifetime and add serious value to your career potential. You’ll also learn to appreciate life in new and novel ways, as that elective in literature might just spark a love of reading and critical thinking. 

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Health Student Life

How to Reduce and Maintain Low Stress Levels in College

May 11, 2022

Can you recall a time you’ve felt pressure to perform to high standards? The stress in high school is different from what comes in college. With the stakes higher, academic stress can sneak up and create many issues for students transitioning into college.

What is Academic Stress?

It’s inevitable that students in college will be stressed, and for many different reasons. Maybe your scholarship requires you to have specific grades to remain eligible, or you’re a first-gen college student, and you feel pressure from your family to do well. The cost of tuition alone can be a financial burden on college families, and maybe yours is also feeling the strain.

This can bring anxiety and thoughts that higher education isn’t worth it or that the responsibility will be too much. We want you to know that feeling this way isn’t unusual and is even shared among many students. But don’t worry, you are not alone in this. We are here to help!

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Student Life Transition

Finding the Good in New and Challenging Situations

April 26, 2022

We’ve all been told that life is a challenge. It can throw you curve balls that you would have never imagined possible, but somehow we all manage to pull through. Although, not always in one piece.

As you move from one phase of your life to the next, you may be experiencing a number of changes:

  • Moving cities or even states.
  • A new job (maybe even your first full-time gig).
  • A boatload of new responsibilities.
  • New friends (or loss of them).

Young adults are inevitably going to trip and fall… A LOT. It’s easy to get discouraged from what may feel like constant letdowns, but remember: It’s okay. Follow these steps for finding the silver lining even in the roughest situations.

When the Going Gets Tough, Be Positive

The energy you put out there is the energy you’ll get back. If you are consistently focusing on the negativity, it will always find you. There will always be something gloomy in life, work, and school, but it is vital to not dwell on those things for too long before trying to find the positive. If you didn’t get the result on a test, you thought you would look for the positive instead of sitting around and moping about it. If something can’t be made positive, try to neutralize it instead.

Failure Can be Good

Our lives are made up of a series of mistakes and the lessons we learn from them. We aren’t born knowing how to walk, talk, read or write. By trial and error, we develop these skills and eventually can’t remember a time we didn’t know how to do them. Unfortunately, the difficulties we face get harder and harder as we get older.

When we make a mistake, big or small, the easiest thing to do is to talk down to ourselves or dwell on all the little clues we missed leading up to this unfortunate event. But remind yourself that we are always learning and growing. Of course, we are going to make a mistake at some point in our lives or another! Whether it’s during the first week on the job, or the first time you have to manage your own finances, you will probably make a mistake. And maybe make many of them. We don’t walk into the world and suddenly have everything figured out. The most important part is learning from those mistakes and ensuring they don’t happen again.

Making an error and failing is an essential piece to mastery. Embrace it.

Be Kind to Yourself

When something negative affects us, it is crucial to accept ownership of what happened, but to also quickly move into a more optimistic headspace. At the same time, it can be comfortable to turn to self-doubt and blame when we do something wrong. We’re only human; we are bound to mess up, but the important thing to remember is that we are not an accumulation of our failures.

Research has shown that talking positively to ourselves, especially when we are at our lowest, is key to overcoming our fears and vital to our mental health.

Some benefits of positive self-talk are:

1. Reduced Stress

Individuals who think optimistically are also more prone to positive self-talk and use more dynamic coping methods when faced with stressful situations and challenges. Positive self-talk helps you challenge the way you look at stressful situations by helping you understand that you will meet them to the best of your ability and that no matter what happens – you did the best you could. Tackling these situations with an ‘I can do this‘ mindset rather than a negative ‘This is too hard‘ opens up new ways of thinking and problem-solving.

 2. Increased Confidence and Resilience

Most of us have experienced the little voice in the back of our heads telling us that we aren’t good enough, but tackling life with a positive self-talk policy can help to boost your self-confidence. Above anyone else, you should be your biggest fan! Frequent positive affirmations will help you feel more confident when facing your fears and achieving your dreams. You instill yourself with the belief that the things you want are achievable, and when situations do arise, you are prepared to handle them head-on. 

3. Stronger Relationships

We all know how it feels to be around someone so bright, full of confidence in themselves, and loves to spread genuine joy. They ooze enthusiasm that bleeds into everyone around them. Positive energy is contagious, so if you bring out the best in yourself, you will also bring out the best in others. 

With all of the challenges college students face, finishing college may not be on the top of the priority list. GradGuard is here to help you find some positivity in what may be some unfortunate circumstances. Insurance provides peace of mind before the unexpected happens, such as having to withdraw from school for a covered medical reason or discovering your laptop was stolen. Renters and tuition insurance plans allow students to get back up when life knocks them down.

Takeaways

You are your biggest champion. At the end of a hard day, week or month, we hope that you are able to find the good. Positivity is infectious, and know you can do anything you set your mind to, even the really hard stuff.

Health Student Life

How to Destress and Take Care of Your Mental Health During Finals Week

April 12, 2022
Learning how to destress during Finals Week

Maintaining good mental health during one of the most stressful times of the year for college students can be tricky, so it’s crucial to have many tips, tricks, and resources to turn to when things become too difficult to handle. 

First things first, avoid burnout and create a healthy routine. With enough time allocated to self-care, it’s important that you maintain good mental health. Stress from school can manifest in many different emotional and physical symptoms, so knowing how to cope with these will give you an edge up. Keep reading for six of the most important healthy ways to reduce stress during finals week, according to Active Minds.

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Student Life

Handling the Stress and Anxiety of Being a Student-Athlete

April 6, 2022

Teens and college-aged students have a lot to deal with every day. There’s a lot to handle, from homework and studying for exams to having a social life and preparing for the future. Student-athletes, however, have another layer of mental strain placed on them. They have to train, practice, manage what they eat, and balance their schedules to make sure they can get everything done. 

So, it should be no surprise that student-athletes often struggle with issues like depression and anxiety more than students who don’t play sports. 

If you’re a student-athlete and struggling with your mental well-being, let’s cover some of the added stressors sports can cause and how you can find healthy ways to cope. 

Are Sports Too Stressful?

Being a student-athlete can be an enriching experience, and there are plenty of benefits to playing sports and staying active. But, they can also negatively impact your mental health if you’re focused so much on the competition that it becomes an obsession. If you lose, it might affect your self-esteem. 

You might even feel excluded at times, from your teammates or from other friends who don’t play sports but think you don’t have time for them because of your busy schedule. It’s hard to balance everything when you already have a full schedule. Combining those factors with the physical exhaustion playing a sport can cause, and it’s easy to feel down and depressed. 

What Can You Do?

With so many other stressors in the life of an average student, how can you handle the stress and anxiety of being a student-athlete? 

First, make sure you still love the sport you’re playing. Even if you’re in a high level of competition, you should still be having fun. If you dread going to practice or resent the way your sport has impacted your life, it might be time to reconsider if it’s right for you. 

If you want to keep playing, the best thing you can do is find ways to manage your stress. Some of the easiest ways to do that include

  • Prioritizing sleep
  • Creating a schedule and honing your time management skills
  • Making time for social activities away from sports
  • Practicing self-care every day


Don’t be afraid to try different things to reduce your stress. Things like mindfulness and meditation are great for relaxation. Even if you’ve never tried them before, it’s not too late to make them a part of your daily routine. When you try new techniques, you’ll eventually find something that works well. 

If you find that you’re really struggling, reach out to your resources. Most college campuses across the country have a mental health and wellness program. Some even have on-campus therapists or counselors that can help you work through your struggles and offer effective coping solutions. 

You don’t have to give up being a student-athlete to deal with stress and anxiety. But, finding ways to manage it while you’re trying to balance everything in your life is important. Take the time to understand the source(s) of your stress, and use the suggestions listed here to handle it in healthy ways. 

Health Student Life

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

February 2, 2022
Working out in college

Exercise is about so much more than just physical strength. While it’s primarily your body that benefits from regular exercise, your mind is greatly uplifted by frequent movement, too.

You can think of exercise as a way to kill two birds with only one stone—physical strength and mental strength. College students are almost always in need of a boost to keep them going throughout their studies, which is why exercise is so important.

Exams, all-nighters, night shifts, and extracurricular activities all require a significant amount of mental and physical energy.

If you’re feeling bogged down and foggy-headed with a mountain of work to overcome, consider hitting the gym or park. It’ll give you a performance boost that stretches through the classroom and into all areas of life.

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Health Student Life

The Importance of Sleep in College

January 27, 2022
Importance of Sleeping in College

There are a lot of factors that contribute to getting an adequate amount of quality sleep, especially in college. Quality is a keyword here, as it doesn’t only matter how much sleep one gets, but actually how well one sleeps. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep is vital because it plays a vital role in your health and maintaining your well-being throughout your life. Getting consistent and good quality sleep can help protect your physical and mental health by supporting healthy brain function, growth, and development. Not getting enough good sleep regularly could lead to a lot of serious issues. 

In college, getting adequate amounts and quality of sleep becomes increasingly important because it directly affects your ability to learn, retain, and apply the information and knowledge being taught in class. Getting a consistent amount of sleep can be challenging each night, but figuring out a schedule and routine is crucial to having a successful college career. 

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Health

How to Support a Friend Struggling with Their Mental Health

January 19, 2022

We all go through periods of self-doubt, feelings of sadness and despair, and a lack of motivation. Sometimes we don’t want to share this with others. Other times, we may have had people there for us. It’s essential to be there for people we love when struggling with their mental health.

The past few years have been difficult for many amidst the pandemic. Many young adults are struggling with their mental health, and it’s important to know what signs to look out for. Read on for what to look for and how to offer support.

21% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2020 (52.9 million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration

Looking Out for Signs

Mental health is a very sensitive subject that many people tend to undermine, and it can be uncomfortable to talk about. Knowing the signs to look out for in your friends who might be struggling with mental health issues is crucial, so we are able to support them when they need us most. Some things to look out for when trying to distinguish when a friend of yours might be struggling with their mental health are sudden changes in behavior, appearance, mood, or actions.

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Health Student Life

Mental Health Tips for Neurodiverse College Students

January 8, 2022
Mental Health for College Students

Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

Neurodiversity describes the range of behavioral traits and brain function across the human population. The unique wiring of a neurodiverse person’s brain causes them to think, react, and learn differently. Autism, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are examples of neurodiverse conditions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in every 54 kids gets diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The rates of ADD and ADHD are even higher. So, in response to neurodiversity prevalence, the neurodiversity movement sparked to challenge the negative connotation of “learning disabilities.

Neurodiverse college students can excel, especially with tweaks to teaching methods, daily self-care practices, and innovative academic tools.

Personal Strategies for Better Learning

Whether a student has neurodiverse tendencies or not, acclimating to a college campus can be challenging. For many young adults, a dormitory is the first place they’ve lived away from home.

Without parental guidance and a familiar routine, neurodiverse students may struggle with large lecture halls and the overall “hands-off” approach college professors tend to take. However, there are many tactics neurodiverse students can implement to get ahead of the curve.

A recent article by Affordable Colleges Online shares several apps that can help neurodiverse students manage stimuli, take notes, and more.

●  Task Management: For students with ADD, the iOS app 30/30 timer encourages students to work on one task for 30 minutes, break for 30 minutes, and repeat until complete. Another option is Google Play’s StayOnTask. This app also uses a timer that randomly reminds students to focus on the designated assignment.

●  Overstimulation: Meditating can help autistic college students cultivate calm in hectic environments. The app Headspace offers guided meditations suitable for all levels. Another great tool is The Miracle Modus app, which provides soothing images and sounds that help students recalibrate to the outside world.

●  Note Taking: When students upload a PDF, e-book, Word document, or PowerPoint to the app Natural Reader, it converts the material into audio. This is an excellent tool for those with dyslexia. On the other hand, the app OpenDyslexic incorporates a font style that helps dyslexic students navigate the reading process better.

Educator Influence

Professors and teachers also have a significant impact on the success of neurodiverse college students. By implementing a teaching style and classroom setting accessible to all learning types, students can gain the confidence to reach their full potential.

Universal Design is the official term for these accessible learning environments. Educators can transform their classrooms with the following methods.

●  Provide varied ways for students to showcase knowledge

●  Use more than one method for assessing students’ efforts

●  Make sure students have a clear understanding of expectations

●  Accommodate a range of learning styles

Self-Care

All-nighters before an exam, junk food consumption, and partying on a Tuesday may be typical in a college environment, but that doesn’t mean these behaviors are healthy. Since staying focused can already be a challenge for neurodiverse students, having a daily self-care routine can ensure academic success as well as physical and mental wellness.

The following tips can help neurodiverse college students get the most out of their university years.

●  Be wary of perfectionist tendencies; learn to let go once an assignment is complete

●  Keep track of daily tasks with an electronic calendar

●  Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every night

●  Eat nourishing foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein

●  Move your body daily

Medical checkups can also fall to the wayside when young adults enroll in college. It can be especially tough to stay consistent with dental appointments. A study found that 9% of kids and adolescents fear the dentist. This negative association is also prevalent in neurodiverse people sensitive to drilling noises and other teeth-cleaning mechanisms. However, bi-annual teeth cleanings are imperative for overall health, so finding a coping mechanism for appointments will pay off in the long run.

The Future Is Bright

Like sociologist Judy Singer said in the 1990s, neurodiverse people are not disabled; their brains work differently than those of neurotypical people. With the right tools, teaching methods, and daily self-care practices, neurodiverse college students can contribute significantly to the world. 

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

Student Life

Why Tuition Insurance is an Essential Consideration for College Families

July 19, 2021

For many college families, higher education is one of the most significant investments they will ever make. With so much money at stake, college parents need to make a plan for the unexpected in case their student is forced to withdraw from school due to a severe injury or illness. 

What is Tuition Insurance?

For most of the 20 million college students and their families, the financial loss of an entire college semester is a significant enough burden to break the bank. Tens of thousands of dollars are on the line, and college families are wise to consider purchasing tuition insurance before the start of the semester. Tuition Insurance provides a refund for tuition, room and board, and academic fees when schools may not in the event of a covered medical withdrawal. It’s not drop-out insurance, and students must completely withdraw from classes due to a covered injury or illness. 

College is a fun time to meet new people, create memorable experiences, and of course, learn. That’s not to say it doesn’t come without risks. Knowing some of the most significant financial risks will prepare you for the unexpected. 

Tuition Insurance: What’s Covered?

Tuition insurance may not have been essential for all families to consider 30 years ago when college was more widely affordable, and school refunds were more generous. But things have changed. Given the high cost of college and less generous refund policies, tuition insurance is an important benefit that colleges and universities can offer to protect their students. 

Coverage for Major Injuries and Illnesses, Including Covid-19

Even before the pandemic, ordinary medical conditions, not just Covid-19, are a source of large financial losses for both students and schools. GradGuard is the only major provider in the country to cover withdrawals due to becoming ill with Covid-19. 

The 2020 National Student Health Assessment from the American College Health Association data reveals some of the ordinary risks college students and their families face today and the impact it has on degree completion:

  • Concussion: 2.2% 
  • Mononucleosis (mono): 56.9%
  • Stress: 43.7%
  • Death of a friend/family member: 40.5%
  • Influenza (flu) or flu-like illness: 50:4%
  • Orthopedic injury (broken bone, fracture, sprain, etc): 2.5%
  • Cold/virus or other respiratory illness: 42.1%

Many students arrive at college with ongoing chronic conditions that may interfere with their studies, such as anxiety and depression. GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance covers controlled pre-existing conditions for medically cleared students to attend school. 

Mental Health Coverage Included

Last fall, college families and experts alike were most worried about students becoming ill with Covid-19. This year, the focus is on how the pandemic has dramatically impacted the mental health and wellbeing of college students. 

GradGuard became the first and only program in the country to cover mental health as a condition. The growth in student mental health concerns looms as another risk to families’ investments when paying for college. 

Among the troubling trends:
  • 2020 report by the American College Health Association found more than half of nearly 9,000 students surveyed experienced anxiety or depression
  • A nationwide study published by the Journal of Adolescent Health found that rates of moderate to severe anxiety and depression among U.S. college students rose substantially over the last few years — from 18% and 23%, to 34% and 41%, respectively.
  • 2020 survey by the American Council on Education found 68% of college and university presidents say student mental health and well-being is top concern

Room and Board and Academic Fees are Also Covered

Tuition Insurance covers more than just the cost of tuition. GradGuard’s plans can also cover room and board and academic fees. Most higher education institutions only provide a partial refund of tuition during the first five weeks of a semester, and virtually no schools provide refunds for academic fees or housing. 

Conclusion

More than 20 million college students are getting ready to head to campus in the fall. After an extraordinarily challenging year due to the pandemic, families are looking for ways to protect their investments from the unexpected. 

By working with more than 400 colleges and universities nationwide, GradGuard can offer students and their families comprehensive and affordable coverage for up to 100% of the cost of college, including student housing, tuition, and academic fees. Each policy also includes Student Life Assistance, which helps families through the logistics accompanying an unexpected student withdrawal. GradGuard’s mission is all about helping more students graduate. With Tuition Insurance, students who are forced to withdraw are given the rare opportunity for a do-over

Major or chronic illnesses, accidents, and injuries frequently happen, even to young and healthy college students. The good news is that college families can protect their investment in higher education by purchasing tuition insurance. Visit GradGuard.com/Tuition to see the plans available on your campus. 

Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Plan(s) underwritten by BCS Insurance Company or Jefferson Insurance Company. AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of these plans. Plans include insurance benefits and assistance services. Contact AGA Service Company at 800-284-8300 or 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233 or customerservice@allianzassistance.com.