Going back to college or university can be a stressful event, especially during a pandemic. A rise in stress and mental health issues is becoming more common, especially for those who were stuck at home and studied in isolation. Now, students are struggling to find new ways to connect to others, as well as finding ways to manage loan debt.
College can be a wonderful time of self-discovery but it shouldn’t be at the expense of your mental stability. Life-altering decisions about your future should be met with the right mindset. Here are some useful mental health tips before you go back to school. These can help keep you grounded.
Understand Your Triggers and Learn To Manage Them
When going back to school, you need to remember that change can be a trigger. Whether it’s your first time in uni or you’re back for a new semester, change can bring a lot of emotions to the surface. It can be anything from fear, anxiety, or general lack of confidence. Whatever it is, you have to face it and find ways to deal with it.
Be open with your feelings and know what can trigger them. Start creating your own diary and list down all your experiences. A diary can be a great way to express yourself, as well as a way to track your current status. Find people you can talk to, especially those afforded by your school.
Build a strong social support network that connects you with family, friends, mentors, therapists, and more. When you’re feeling down, don’t hesitate to talk to them and express yourself. At the same time, try your best to listen to others too, creating two-way communication with the people around you.
School guidance counselors and professors are great people to build relationships with. They can provide not only academic guidance but also mentorship. Your mental health can improve vastly by sharing your feelings and troubles. It’s not a solution for everyone, but it’s a start.
Mindfulness is defined as improving your awareness at any moment. Being conscious of your surroundings and finding a way to be connected can help keep you grounded. This can also help you be in tune with yourself and control your emotions and be wary of your triggers. Even then, mindfulness requires several important steps.
There are several ways to achieve mindfulness, including several meditation practices that will prepare your mind for the day. These can be as simple as waking up, breathing deeply, and introspecting. Ask yourself your purpose for the day, how you can achieve it, and what you can do to keep yourself stable.
Don’t be afraid to introspect and connect with yourself several times a day to see if you’re fulfilling your goals. Mindfulness does not stop at meditation. You can perform mindfulness as you wake up, eat, do your tasks, and when you refresh your triggers. Knowing how to be in tune with yourself can keep your mental health under wraps.
Have Enough Time For Yourself
No matter how many things you need to do, it’s important to get enough time for yourself. It’s easy to forget to take care of yourself and be defined by what you haven’t finished instead of what you accomplished. Find something relaxing for you and don’t forget to destress.
Write a to-do list of the things you need to finish and set aside enough time for work. Try to keep a steady pace and rest as much as you can. Have enough sleep, as well as time to do your hobbies. You can play video games, get a massage, or even play some sports with your friends.
Find ways to relieve your mind of your stresses. If you’re looking for more ways to relieve your stress, you can listen to Acacia’s podcast and learn more ways on how to protect your mental health. By giving yourself not only time to think but also time to relax, you cut down on your fatigue and keep your body balanced.
Students will benefit a lot from enjoying their time. Staying cooped in your dorms or at home can be relaxing for some, but it can feed into your anxiety even further. Find something you can do that you enjoy, whether it’s hanging out with friends or enjoying good food.
Understand The Risk of Substance Abuse
It’s important for students to monitor the risks of their actions, as everything you do can affect how your body and brain work. Whether you’re smoking, drinking, or using substances, you need to know how these can affect you. Know what you put in your body and understand the risks involved with abusing them.
Some substances, like marijuana, can affect your mental health due to their psychoactive properties. Alcohol abuse is also a common problem that can affect your mental stability and even lead you towards many forms of addiction. Doing everything in moderation should be a great way to keep your mental state stable.
It’s helpful for students to go out with friends, party, and have a good time. Even then, there are other ways to enjoy yourself without smoking, drugs, or alcohol. Find ways to get that dopamine rush without needing these substances. It pays off in the long run whether you have existing mental health issues or not.
Go Out and Volunteer
With a busy schedule, one of the best things you can do in your free time is to volunteer for different organizations. Depending on your personal beliefs, you can do anything from helping in the local political action committee to supporting your local soup kitchen. Volunteering in different organizations can provide many mental health benefits.
Volunteering can increase your exposure to different kinds of people. You can connect with the things you love and gain more self-confidence. Whether it’s through an animal shelter or senior home, your role can give you a sense of pride and accomplishment you won’t find anywhere else.
If you enjoy volunteering, it will help improve your mood and ease depression by having a strong support network. With the right support, you can improve your mood and cut down your stress, as well as improve your physical health. If you’re working with animals, you can even play with them further.
If you or someone you know suffers from anxiety or depression, you’re not alone. There are ways to help keep your mental health stable as you come back to school as a uni student. Follow our quick tips so you can give yourself a chance for an enjoyable time learning.
Written by guest writer Aussy Aportadera