Kelly A. Davis
Director of Peer Advocacy, Support and Services, Mental Health America
It’s no secret that college can be overwhelming and stressful. Here are five ways you can set yourself on a positive path.
1. Prioritize your mental health
While it might seem counterintuitive when you’re trying to get everything done, the best thing you can do for your short- and long-term success is take time for your mental health. With more and more students reporting burnout, anxiety, and depression, it’s crucial to prioritize your mental health so you can enjoy all that college has to offer and set yourself up for a healthy future.
2. Take care of your body
Physical exercise, sleep and diet have serious impacts on your mood. Even when it seems easier to just eat junk food, skip the gym or pull an all-nighter, investing in your body will help keep you energized and engaged in the things you care about.
3. Build new skills
College is a learning experience outside the classroom, too. No matter what you’re dealing with, there are likely tons of books, podcasts and blogs with strategies and solutions. Managing your time, making new friends and building resilience are topics lots of people need help with. Learning new tools can reduce stress in the moment and give you options to use for the rest of your life.
4. Find peer support
Everyone wants to feel understood and heard. Finding a place where you can be yourself and receive support is crucial. Whether it’s through a club, friends or a peer support community, having people you can be honest with and rely on helps when things get tough. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can always start something new. You never know who else might be looking for the exact same thing.
5. Ask for help
If you’re struggling and need extra help, reach out. Take advantage of counseling centers, support groups and other mental health resources in the community. You don’t have to do it all by yourself.