7 Tips On Looking After Your Mental Health In College

The transition from secondary school to university is an exciting time but it can be quite daunting for some. It’s a big change, and settling in can take a while.  College is a time to find out who you are, to make friends, to explore and to learn. Moving away from home for the first time is a big step, which is why it’s so important to look after yourself and most importantly, your mental health.

1. Party, But Not Too Hard …

Having spent the majority of your life so far having a routine and having things done for you, it can be quite hard to get a grip on having so many responsibilities. Yep, you’re an adult now! You’ve got to pay bills, wash your own things, study – willingly, ensure you go to your class, and make time for socialising!

It’s totally normal to let your hair down when you’re finally set free to come and go as you please, but going out every night and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol will take its toll! You start missing lectures for that extra hour of sleep in the morning, and you leave your assignment off tonight to hit the tiles instead, before you know it you’re two weeks behind and end up trying to cram everything last minute!

This can have a serious impact on your mental health – you’re overtired, stressed, and beginning to panic. You’re anxious about failing and worrying that you won’t get stuff done on time. I’ve been there one too many times to know the feeling!

Mental Health GIF

2. … So My Advice Is This – Find A Balance!

College really is the best four years of your life, that’s why it’s so important to find a balance between work and fun! If you’re overtired, you may find it hard to concentrate in lectures; try to ensure you get enough sleep at night. So when it comes to doing assignments, you’ll be well prepared!

Set aside time for study, perhaps an hour or two in the evening to get your work done, and then you’ve the whole night to meet your friends or hit the gym.

Balance for article

 

3. It’s Totally Normal To Feel A Bit Lonely …

Students can feel quite under pressure for the first seven weeks of the semester – trying to settle in, make friends, concentrating in lectures, finding their way around, and being away from home. It’s easy to feel a little bit lost. It’s totally normal to feel a bit lonely.

Alone GIF

(And yep, you guessed it, that’s Macauley Culkin, the kid from Home Alone!)

4. … But You Totally Need Your Crew

Group work always helps when it comes to making friends, you have the opportunity to chat to others in your course and work together outside of class hours. Even if you’re struggling with a topic in class, don’t be afraid to ask a peer for help. You could grab some lunch and go over notes after class. Clubs and societies are also a great way to make friends and get to know people with similar interests to you! The campus may be HUGE but there are 100’s of people in the same boat as you!

Friends GIF

 

5. Just Be Yourself

It’s vital that you put yourself and your health first while at college. Do not feel pressured to ‘fit in’ and do what everyone else is doing. If you’re not a big drinker, don’t feel pressured into keeping up with everyone else. And please don’t feel like you have to go out four nights a week, not to look like a total looser! If that leaves you feeling left out, find something else you can do that you enjoy. They’re plenty of events on campus every evening to get involved in.

Be Yourself

 

6. Speak Out To People Who Will Listen

A word of advice – it’s so important to make friends with people you feel can you talk to! If it’s all a bit much and you find yourself slacking behind – there are people who can help. After all, it is such a huge change from doing math problems for homework, to doing a 2,000 word essay in MLA style.

Obama

 

7. Speak To Yourself Too, But Maybe Not Out Loud …

Be aware of your feelings and emotions, if you find yourself constantly worrying, ask yourself why? Are you worried about doing a certain assignment? Are you worried about money? Are you worried about skipping class? Trying to address these things before they become a bigger problem can be quite hard, but it’s not healthy to just ignore them and push it to the back of your mind.

One or two skipped classes can quickly turn into not going at all.  The thoughts of eating alone for the third time this week could cripple you with anxiety, so you chose to stay at home. Trying to concentrate on reading notes you can’t even understand is making your heart race. I found myself making excuses, blaming the lecturer for being boring, or the module for being too hard. What I didn’t realise, was that I was going completely into myself, hiding in my own little bubble. I was convincing myself I could work from home and still manage to pass everything. Who was I kidding?

I reached out to a lecturer, who I always thought was very friendly, and she recommended I see the counselling service on campus. “Just explain that you feel under pressure”, she said, understandingly. That didn’t seem too hard. Taking the step to talk to someone was the hard part, but little did I know just how many other people were in the same boat as me!

Vinny JS

Why was I hiding this the whole time as if I should be ashamed of it? There are tonnes of students who struggle with so many different aspects of college life. Be that exams and stress, to depression or alcohol abuse. The counselling service has met people from all walks of life, with all kinds of stories.

Whether it’s your friends, your family, a tutor or a counsellor you talk to, it is so important to talk. The campus might seem like a big place, but it’s important to remember there are a lot of people, just like you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Capture 2017

 

 

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