Mental Health Tips: Keeping your head in shape while preparing for the start of college

META: The transition to college can be mentally taxing as you adjust to your new surroundings and responsibilities. Read on to learn how to keep your mental health high as you make the change.

The journey to college can be overwhelming. With the logistics of moving combined with the stress of tuition, new college students should be as aware of their mental needs as their physical limitations.

If you or someone you know is about to start college, continue reading to learn some mental health tips that can help you prepare for the next stage and beyond.

1.    Keep a healthy sleep schedule

While it may sound like a physical tip, a healthy sleep schedule is one of the best ways to keep up your mental health during the stressful transition to college. In college, you should get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, which not only keeps you feeling rested but also maintains chemical balances in your body that are key to relieving stress.

2.    Practice time management

Managing your time in college involves more than just getting to your classes. Leave room in your schedule to study, sleep, and do something fun. Our brains love regularity, so a well-managed schedule can really lift your mood.

3.    Get support

You may feel alone when you just start college, but a support network is a crucial part of maintaining your mental health. Even if friends and family are not available for regular mood-lifting, even a teacher or a campus counselor can give much-needed support during a tough time.

4.    Work on mindfulness

Mindfulness isn’t just some relaxation formula that psychiatrists whip out to help their patients self-manage. It’s also a basic aspect of living through challenges and involves relieving feelings of being overwhelmed with self-guided assurances. Be honest with yourself about the things you’re stressed about. Solve them one step at a time. Don’t forget to breathe!

5.    Keep active

Source: Unsplash@dncerullo

Staying active is a great way to keep your mental health in check. Just a half-hour of physical activity a day has been shown to reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) and increase serotonin (the pleasure hormone).

6.    Remember to have fun …

College may be a time for learning, working, and building up your educational portfolio, but it’s also exciting. Don’t forget to take breaks and enjoy them. Your mental health will thank you for making time for the things you love.

7.    … but not too much fun

Source: Unsplash@mdisc

Having said that, you shouldn’t let your fun get in the way of your mental health when it should be helping it. Once you throw alcohol, drugs, or sleepless nights into the mix, fun can become a hindrance rather than a help. Just remember not to prioritize fun over any of our other tips.

The Takeaway

When you’re starting college, mental health should be just as big a priority as your studies. You can’t make the most of college if you’re not yourself, so we hope these seven mental health tips will help you keep it together during the biggest transition of your life so far.

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