In our society today, there is an ever-increasing risk of suicide especially in young adults and teens in college. It is fact that the majority of college students are depressed or go through some kind of mental distress. For most it is as a result of the environment they find their selves in while for others it might be as a result of habit.
Whatever the reason, there are ways in which you can further modify or improve your mental health for better living.
In this article, I would be highlighting 30 tips that can help improve and protect your mental health as a college student. Do try to make as many as you can habits. You can also modify them to fit your specific needs or preferences.
Not to waste your time any further, here is a list of things you can do to improve your mental health as a student.
What is mental health?
Metal health as described by World Health Organization (WHO), is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
Mental health as a whole is a factor of subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence, and self-actualization of one’s intellectual and emotional potential, amongst others.
According to a certain school of thought, mental health comprises an individual’s ability to enjoy life and create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.
It is also important to note that certain lifestyle choices play major roles in mental health such as diet, exercise, stress, drug, abuse, social connections, and interactions.
What is mental disorder?
This can be defined as the impairment of an individual’s ability to feel, think, and act in ways that would achieve a better life keeping in mind the personal, social, and cultural.
Mental disorders are also associated with a health condition that alters cognitive functioning, emotional responses, and behavior associated with distress or impaired functioning.
30 mental health tips for college students
As earlier mentioned, college students have their mental health is affected by a whole lot of factors that exist within and outside their immediate environment which takes a toll on their minds negatively at times.
I have, however, taken out time to highlight 30 unique tips to help
improve your mental health as a college student.
1. Maintain a journal
Journals help you keep in touch with yourself. You have the opportunity to pen down how you feel about an experience or day. It would help you unwind and come in touch with how experience or things made you feel and could also serve as a reminder to remind you of how certain experiences made you feel in the past. It can also be used to monitor growth and personal improvement
2. Be kind to yourself
You must remember that you are just human and as a human, you are bound to make mistakes. Always remember not to be too harsh on yourself. Be kind to yourself even when you feel you should be blamed for certain misfortunes.
3. Reach out to family and friends
Always try as much as possible to socialize with your family. Be in touch with your family, most times they know you more than you think and can cheer you up when you are at your lowest.
Also, try to stay with to stay in touch with those few good friends who would listen and be with you when you need them the most.
As weird as it sounds, meditating helps a lot in clearing your head and helping focus your thoughts better.
So, on days you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by activities and can’t seem to focus on any particular task. Try meditating, clear your head and you would be grateful you did.
5. Indulge in hobbies
Don’t ever underrate the place of hobbies in your life. Sometimes, you just need to give yourself a break and engage yourself with activities you enjoy that boost your self-esteem and make you feel good about yourself.
So, take that time off and go do what makes you happy.
6. Take a social media detox
You might already know this but just to reinforce it. Social media is a very toxic space. Most times you won’t have the comfort to filter what comes your way but then you should take some time away from social media every now and then and stay in the present.
Social media is filled with a lot of negativity and hurt and consuming all of that every single time would be very detrimental to your mental health.
7. Exercise regularly
Exercise helps pump you full of adrenaline which sometimes is known as the “feel-good” hormone.
It gets you euphoric and positive. Exercising also gives you a certain control of your life, helps you set milestones and surpass them over time. Exercise can
also give you a sense of purpose which is very good for your mental health.
Exercise also makes sure you have an amazing shape which makes you more
confident about yourself.
8. Eat healthy
The importance of good food can never be underrated. A good meal can go a long way. Try to stay away from the junk that pumps you full of toxins, makes you feel fat, and doesn’t quite satisfy your cravings and needs.
Junk and unhealthy food are really detrimental not only to your physical health but your medical health too.
9. Build a strong social support network
Sometimes all you really need is good support. You need those few people that would always be there for you when it gets tough and support you on your way up. Having a strong support network would do wonders for your mental health especially if you have moments when you slip into depression.
Knowing that you have someone you can call that would listen and help you up when you are down would help extensively in improving your mental health.
10. Get enough sleep
As lazy as it may sound, you actually need to get enough sleep. Don’t miss quote me though, I didn’t say too much sleep, I said “enough”. You need to sleep to get your entire body system well rested, your mind inclusive.
So, forget all the quotes about men sleeping and poverty being related, try and get some sleep, your mental health is worth more than you can make.
11. Avoid substance abuse
Substance abuse is very rampant in most colleges and with peer pressure, you might find yourself hooked on one of these substances. If you haven’t gone too far in, I would advise you to stop as soon as possible.
Those split seconds of relief or pleasure you get from those substances are not worth the damage to your mental health. Stay away from substances and drugs. If you are addicted already to a substance, please seek help as soon as possible.
12. Disconnect from negativity
Avoid a company that breeds negativity. Always try to exclude yourself from negative environments that are potential threats to your mental health
13. Volunteer when possible
If you want to feel good about yourself, volunteering is one of the best ways to achieve that. Try volunteering from time to time. Being able to affect change in your environment or to a group can help boost your self-esteem and mental health.
Volunteering would also make you appreciate the little things more. Be it a soups kitchen or just community service. Get out there and volunteer.
14. Reward yourself
You can never go wrong with a reward. For a good deed or a job well done or a milestone achieved, you can treat yourself to something nice that you would like and enjoy.
This would improve your mental health and help you feel good about both the little wins as well as the big ones.
15. Be grateful
There is a lot to be grateful for. Take a look around you and acknowledge the privileges you are currently enjoying. Don’t take anything for granted cause tomorrow you might not have it the way it is today.
Be grateful when you wake in the morning, for the food you are about to eat, for your loving parents and caring friends, be grateful for your job, and be grateful for your health.
16. Start your day with a cup of coffee
A cup of coffee would always give you the jump-start you need, especially when having a lazy morning.
Stick to coffee only when necessary and don’t overdo it cause as much as coffee is advisable it also has its detrimental effects.
17. Set up a getaway
Sometimes, all your mental health really needs is a vacation away from its current environment to relax.
Sometimes, the school can pose such a hostile environment that your mental health might be at risk. In this case, it is advisable that you plan a trip or a vacation and experience new places.
Put your mind at ease with a weekend getaway and you can continue studies with the new week.
18. Work your strengths
In every person, there are strengths and weaknesses. You have to, first of all, identify your strengths and weaknesses and then work your strengths in whatever situation you find yourself in in order not to feel disadvantaged.
This would improve your mental health a lot because it would give you a sense of accomplishment with each task you tackle.
19. Show some love to someone in your life
Showing love has effects on you more than on the person the love is directed towards. Allowing yourself to love would open your heart and mind to possibilities and would greatly improve your mental health.
It would give you peace and also allow you to be free around your loved ones.
20. New activities don’t always mean more pleasure
Don’t always over-engage yourself. A new sport or a new destination might not be your thing and you should be alright with that. Learn to love yourself and what you do. If you happen to find that which, does it for you stick with it.
Over diversifying isn’t always best.
21. Relax in a warm bath once a week
You might never know how therapeutic a warm shower is until you give it a try. It warms you up but inside and out and helps you detox. It calms you and also relaxes your muscles as well as eases tension.
Having a relaxing warm bath once a week would definitely do your mental health some good.
22. Practice forgiveness
To forgive someone is never pretty easy, especially when you have been wronged and hurt by said person but not to forgive is like letting the said person live rent-free in your head.
So, it’s about time you let go of that grudge and forgive. Free yourself from the hurt and hateful feeling and get your mind at peace.
23. Do something with friends and family
As fun as it sounds to be a loner, it is definitely no fun. Try to hang out with friends and family. Make fun memories, take pictures and feel at home with friends and family.
Be it trips, vacations or just a nice dinner. Try to always surround yourself with people that love you.
24. Try as much as possible to get at least 15 minutes of sunshine
As far as you are not a vampire, a little sunshine would definitely do you better than bad. Be it 15 minutes or more, try to step outside every day, feel the air outside and let the sun hit and warm you up. You would be amazed at how brighter you would feel after this.
25. Always try new things
If an idea sounds good to you and you have a feeling you might enjoy it, then why not give it a try. It might just be the thing you have been looking for.
Trying new things, as uncertain as it might feel, would expose you to great experiences and opportunities and help give your life that sense of adventure which you have been longing for.
Not to forget it also improves your mood and does wonders for your mental health.
26. Send a thank you note
Showing appreciation in the form of “thank you” notes might sound a bit cliché and cheesy but its actually a great idea.
It would help you express your gratitude better and it would also show the person who the “thank you” note is directed to just how much you
appreciate them and their effort.
27. Try smiling when you are feeling stressed
There nothing a good smile
or laugh can’t fix. Give it a try, when you feel tensed and stressed try and
smile or laugh it off. It eases you and gets you filled with positive energy to
tackle whatever situation you have ahead.
28. Always approach negative experiences with a positive mindset
No matter how bad a situation is, just remember, it is not all that bad. Always approach all experiences, even negative ones with a positive mindset. Think of them as life
lessons which you should learn from.
Always remember, you are not the only one going through bad experiences and they are always bound to happen.
You should treat yourself as best you can, dust off your shoulders, and keep moving on.
29. Seek professional help
When the feeling of dread becomes a bit too overwhelming, it might be time for you to get some help.
Depression is real and it can be so overwhelming that it takes away the joy
from even things you would normally enjoy.
When feeling left out and alone and like the world is against you, seek help from a professional and start your
journey back to a healthy mind.
30. Avoid noise
Stay away from noisy areas as much as possible. Noise causes disorientation and stress which are both very bad for your mental health. So, when possible, stay away from the noise.
Frequently asked questions
Is mental health really important?
Your mental health is very important and should be taken care of.
Is it normal to feel depressed?
Feeling depressed is something everyone goes through but when it gets a bit too overwhelming, it might be time to see a therapist.
Is stress bad for my mental health?
Yes, stress is really bad for your mental health. Always try to avoid stress.
Your mental health is an important part of your student life and should be given attention the same way you give your body attention. Train and expose your mind. When in distress, try to relax.
Socialize and detoxify when necessary. If it gets too overwhelming, seek professional help. Definitely, these tips would help you on your journey to a healthier mind.