College is a time of learning and self-discovery for young college teens. But it’s also a period of emotional instability with the potential for serious psychological consequences because teens are at risk for developing a number of serious mental health concerns. Mental health is defined as mental, emotional, and social well-being. Performing well requires having good mental health, and maintaining it is the best way to invest in your long-term success and wellness. Poor mental health can impact academic performance and even graduation rates. Depression is also the No. 1 reason students drop out of college. The trick is to balance study with fun, family, social activities for maintaining mental and emotional health without fear of burning out.
Try these tips to help find the right balance in your life.
Nip small problems in the bud
When you start facing obstacles, it is smart to manage them right away instead of letting them fester into greater concerns. If you find a course difficult, reach out to your teacher. Academic success comes from more than just attending classes. You need to finish readings, study, assignments and also relate to professors. If you have roommate issues, calmly communicate your concerns to Placio wardens or administrative team. Proactive behaviour can end many long-term dilemmas.
Translates into treating yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies and favourite projects, or broadening your horizons.
Take care of your body by becoming active: Take care of yourself physically to improve mental health. Mental and physical health are very closely intertwined. Taking care of your body helps your mind to work better so make sure you move your body regularly. Staying active can help you to sleep better, manage stress and boost your mood and decreasing depression and anxiety. It doesn’t have to be rigorous exercise, just a break from studies — stepping outside for a walk, run or cycling to clear the head. Find an activity that you enjoy, that suits your level of mobility and fitness and motivates you to get productive. Get moving on a regular basis. Whatever it is, start small, and make sure it’s something you enjoy.
Eat nutritiously balanced meals as this can improve your mood, energy levels and general health and wellbeing. Eat a wide variety of healthy, nutritious foods to keep up your energy. Fill up on nutritious food (like veggies, fruit and whole grains) and drink plenty of water to give your body and brain all the power it needs to function well and perform your best.
Avoid substance abuse: It’s easy to overdo when you’re a student. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs as it puts you in grave physical and mental danger. Even these may make you feel good in the very short term, but they can impact your mental health and make you feel worse in the long run by only aggravating problems.
Get enough sleep. Sleep is vital for your mental well-being, body, and helps to make you feel energised, stay focused. Go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up at roughly the same time every day. Keep your room dark and quiet at night. Researchers believe that lack of sleep contributes to a high rate of depression in college students.
Get into life. Keep doing the stuff you love to do and the things that are important to you. It can help keep the fun in your life, gives a sense of accomplishment and purpose, boosts confidence and helps to connect with others. Some of these things, such as skating, reading or playing the guitar, might just be for fun, but other things like work or study can give you new skills and might help to give you meaning.
Volunteer time and energy to help others as you feel good about doing something tangible to help others — and it’s a great way to meet new people.
These healthy habits will also help you work more productively.
Surround yourself with good people
People with strong family or social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a support network. It makes you more vulnerable to feelings of isolation when you are a student in a new city, a totally new environment, because of your distance from familiar people and practices. To minimize loneliness, form a group of close friends, stay in contact with your family, get to know your advisors and instructors. The more people you know at your college, the more connected you’ll feel.
Stay connected. Connecting with others will support and enrich your life in general and help improve your general well-being whilst studying. Make contact with other students as well as family, friends and colleagues. Jump on Facebook, the student discussion boards or other social platforms to reach out to the students around you.
Learn how to deal with stress
Like it or not, stress is a part of life. Practice good coping skills: Try one-minute stress strategies, do Tai Chi, exercise, take a nature walk, play with your pet or try journal writing as a stress reducer. Also, remember to smile and see the humour in life. Research shows that laughter can boost your immune system, ease the pain, relax your body and reduce stress.
Quiet your mind: Try meditating, mindfulness or prayer. Relaxation exercises and prayer can improve your state of mind and outlook on life. In fact, research shows that meditation may help you feel calm and enhance the effects of therapy.
Notice your thinking: How you think about things is important in maintaining optimum mental and emotional health. Our thoughts, feelings and behaviours are linked. Avoid catastrophic or black and white thinking, like: “if I fail this assessment, I will fail the whole unit.” Instead try to think: “if I fail this assessment, I can use this as a learning opportunity to improve on my next one and make up the marks then.” Also, avoid comparing yourself with others. Everyone is unique and we are on our own journey, so focus on yourself and where you are heading and not on how the people around you perform on their assessments.
Stay motivated. We all lose our motivation for study from time to time. A great way to help yourself get re-motivated is to focus on the bigger picture. Consider what is your long-term goal for study? Remind yourself of why you are here and what you hoped for when you started your course.
Another great way to improve your motivation is to visualize success. Imagine walking across that graduation stage, completing your last assessment, or going out to celebrate. Find an image, object or quote that demonstrates your success and place it somewhere you can easily refer to when you feel you are losing motivation.
Have an activity you use to relax: You may not be able to add another commitment to your schedule, but you should have a go-to activity that helps you unwind. It could be practising yoga, painting, listening to music, playing sports, or any other hobby that you enjoy.
Break up the monotony: Although our routines make us more efficient and enhance our feelings of security and safety, a little change of pace can perk up a tedious schedule. Alter your jogging route, plan a road trip, take a walk in a different park, hang some new pictures or try a new restaurant.
Determine Your Limits
Although it can be tempting to take on the maximum workload, too many activities – but this can compromise both your health and overall success. Establish your limits and boundaries and remember that sometimes it is better to excel in a few pursuits than having surface involvement in many.
Learn new ways to handle tough times
- Here are some options to consider:
- use art, music or journaling to express yourself
- spend time in nature
- set some small goals, and get help seeing them through
- talk kindly to yourself
- websites and free apps that can help
- Cut back on alcohol and other drugs
Set realistic goals: Decide what you want to achieve academically, professionally and personally, and write down the steps you need to realize your goals. Aim high, but be realistic and don’t over-schedule. You’ll enjoy a tremendous sense of accomplishment and self-worth as you progress toward your goal.
Get help when you need it
Seeking help is a sign of strength — not a weakness. People who get appropriate treatment \ care can recover from mental illness and addiction and lead full, rewarding lives.
Seek professional help. You’re not alone. Talk to a trusted adult about your concerns. Don’t rely on the advice of friends. Sometimes you need more. Colleges \ even Placio has trained counsellors who can help students deal with issues like stress, anxiety, depression, and other difficult situations. They provide affordable services and keep personal details confidential. Just like physical fitness, mental fitness takes regular effort.