This year the coronavirus pandemic has seen a sharp rise in menta health issues among college students. Evidence shows that students are experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety while also struggling to cope with new leaning styles and increased isolation.
If you are like most students, you probably feel overwhelmed. Although stress can be a good motivator, it can have severe implications if it lasts too long or gets out of control. This article highlights a few mental health tips to help you successfully navigate college during these challenging times.
- Eat Healthy Food
According to researchers, having a balanced meal is important for improving people’s sense of wellbeing and mood. Note that the association between your nourishment and your psychological wellbeing is a complicated one. That said, sufficient evidence links what you eat to how you feel.
What you eat can affect your brain, and certain foods help you feel better. For instance, taking a Mediterranean-style diet that comprises seafood, fiber, vegetables, and herbs can considerably reduce depressive symptoms. Also, researchers have shown that a person’s gut is a reflection of their feelings. It is your body’s way of communicating that there could be something wrong with you.
For optimal brain function and mental health, make sure to include fruits and vegetables in your diet. Also, prioritize beans and probiotics. Foods to avoid include those that trick your brain into releasing chemicals that you may be lacking. Some examples include caffeine and chocolate. Caffeine is also bad for your sleep hygiene and can result in a deterioration of your mood.
- Get Enough Sleep
Sleep and mental health are closely intertwined. Evidence shows that sleep deprivation impacts your mental health and psychological state. At the same time, persons with mental health challenges are more likely to struggle with sleep disorders like insomnia. People in the United States struggle with serious sleep deprivation, with chronic insomnia affecting more than 10% adults in the general population.
People who have trouble sleeping are more likely to feel anxious, suicidal and depressed. They are also more inclined to have psychotic episodes. Sleep deprivation also makes people feel more isolated or lonely. You may also struggle to focus on your studies or make plans for the future. The bottom line here is that, when you sleep, your brain allows your body to destress and replenish itself.
College students should proactively embrace measures to ensure that they get at least the recommended seven hours of sleep each night. Turn of technological devices to make sure that you have uninterrupted sleep. Also, avoid taking caffeine close to bedtime and embrace healthy sleep hygiene. Follow a sleep schedule, going to bed around the same time each night.
- Engage Your College Counselor
We understand that college can be stressful, especially during these challenging times. You will frequently feel overwhelmed and in need of support. This is where college counseling comes in handy. Meeting with a certified professional allows you to calm yourself and overcome issues you may be facing. Counselors are experienced and may provide suggestions on how to get extra support if you need it.
- Work on Your Support Network
No one can thrive in isolation, not even you. Building a social support network improves your resilience, preparing you to deal with most challenges that college students face. Having friends on campus is also important for fighting homesickness.
As you work on your system, consider being a part of someone else’s support network. Evidence shows that being able to contact someone when frustrated can be the difference between fighting on and giving up. If you need help with assignments, engage an online essay writing service.
- Embrace Physical Activity
Another important insight for your mental health in college is physical activity. During the pandemic, most students have been forced to maintain social distance, and interactions have been kept to the bare minimum. Note that physical activity is linked to improved mood and resilience. Evidence shows that when someone is active the body releases endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, which help with mood regulation.
Embracing an exercise routine is important for your mental and physical health. Fortunately, you don’t have to join a gym to exercise. Evening walks, dancing, jogging, and bike rides are all effective and simple ways to remain active. Remember, exercise also helps you sleep better.
This article summarizes a few mental health tips for college students. Work on your social support system, and recognize when to seek professional counseling services. Most importantly, prioritize healthy eating and schedule breaks to help you unwind.