Your college years can be the best time of your life, but also the toughest. The modern-day college student often has to juggle between classes, projects/ assignments, part-time work, and social life. On top of this, there’s an unspoken expectation for you to succeed. The demanding nature of this kind of life can lead to your mental health taking a nose-dive.
So, as you try to keep up with everything, it’s also vital that you take a step back and actually take care of the most important person in your life- you. To get you started, here are eight practical lifestyle changes you can make as a student that will boost your mental wellness:
Start Living an Active Life
An active lifestyle comes with tons of benefits to your brain health. Simple exercise like jogging or a brisk walk increases your heart rate, which gets more oxygen going to the brain. It also promotes the growth factors in your brain, leading to the creation of new neuro-connections.
But perhaps the best thing about including exercise in your daily life is the feel-good emotions you get from it. This rush of positive feelings has been associated with reducing stress hormones, and consequently, improved mental health.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption and Avoid Drugs
College is most often associated with an active party life. While it’s okay to experience this part of college, overindulging comes with a host of problems. Drugs and excess alcohol use can actually weigh you down, physically and mentally, making you less energetic and more irritable. Not to mention, using either to cope with stress or problems will actually make things worse. So, keep alcohol to a minimum and keep off drugs altogether.
Sleep Enough on Most Nights
It’s common for college students to burn the midnight oil studying for an upcoming test or completing an urgent assignment. However, doing so regularly is sure to take a toll on your mental health. Studies have shown that sleep and mental health are actually closely connected. The effects of sleep deprivation on the brain can range from mild to severe and include irritability/ moodiness, lowered concentration, mental exhaustion, memory issues, anxiety, depression, and so on. So, try to get 7-9 hours of sleep on most days.
Feed Your Body Adequate, Healthy Foods and Drinks
That’s right; what you eat also affects your mental wellness. Once your body digests the food you feed it, it distributes the nutrients to various organs in your body, including your brain. Apart from keeping your brain healthy and sharp, a good diet also affects the chemical processes in your brain that regulate your mood. That’s why eating a bowl of fresh salad gives you positive feelings while downing a large pizza and soda leaves you feeling bad.
Reward Your Accomplishments
One of the best ways to give your mental health a kick is to recognize your worth, strength, and resilience. Give yourself a tap on the back when you accomplish milestones you’ve set for yourself. It could be rewarding yourself with a new clothing item, eating out somewhere fancy, traveling, or any other thing you enjoy.
Set Realistic Goals for Yourself
It’s great to be ambitious but don’t mistake ambition with unrealistic expectations. If you pursue something that’s impossible for a given time frame, the odds are against you right from the get-go. Avoid the disappointment and mental torture of feeling like a failure by setting realistic and practical goals. Beware of signs that you’re overexerting yourself, and seek help like hiring an essay writer when you’re overwhelmed.
Keep Genuine and Positive People Around You
Many times, the energy you put out is not enough to ensure you live a fulfilled life. As humans, we depend on each other a lot of times. So, you likely have people you keep around you, and the energy they put out affects you too. So, audit your inner circle and keep just those friends that are actually good and genuine.
Adopt Good Stress Management Strategies
Stress is a part of life, especially when you’re in college. So, it is more realistic to look for ways to cope with it rather than avoid it altogether. The key is to recognize when stress hits you and get into stress management practices immediately. Some good stress management strategies include:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Guided imagery
- Relaxing walks
- Art or any other hobby
- Quality time with loved ones
Good Mental Health Can Help You Live a Happier and Longer Life
People are starting to recognize just how critical taking care of one’s mental health is from a young age. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits and understanding your own strength is one of the best ways to keep your mind healthy and happy. So, start the change today.