College can be a stressful time, suddenly full of both student and adult responsibilities. However, for some students, it can become more than just stress - potentially a larger issue like depression. If students cannot or will not seek help, the consequences can be severe. Therefore, students need to prioritize their happiness in college, since mental health is just as important as physical health.
The following tips are some ways to keep you from going down that dangerous road:
- Take classes that truly interest you. It can be difficult to avoid the parental voice in your head telling you that your chosen major won't land you a high-paying job. However, in the long run, you will feel better if you study and write papers for classes you actually enjoy.
- Exercise. Seriously. Homework is important but it can still be done in an hour after you go to the gym and boost your physical and mental health. Many colleges offer free classes that require very little commitment, such as yoga or spinning.
- Ask for help. Colleges almost always have a counselor program of some sort. If you are feeling down, don't hesitate to talk to them.
- Take a break. Watch that TV episode you haven't gotten around to yet. Splurge on a nice meal from that nearby restaurant. College may be fast-paced, but that doesn't mean you shouldn’t slow down once in a while and work on self-care.
- Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep has a multitude of negative effects, including health problems, lowered concentration, fatigue, and increased irritability. Not getting enough sleep also decreases your ability to fight stress. Try to avoid caffeine if possible, and don't push yourself too late into the night, otherwise that 8 AM chemistry lab will feel even worse.