Stress Studying: How to Protect Your Mental Health during College
During your college years you may feel more pressure than you thought was possible. From tough classes to holding down a work-study or part-time job, studying and trying to socialize, you may feel as if you have more things to do than time to do them. All that stress can be harmful to your physical and mental health, not to mention your grades. These strategies can help to protect your mental health throughout your college years.
Maintain a Consistent Routine
Even though your classes will change times and locations between semesters, try to maintain a consistent routine. If you generally have classes and work hours between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, set aside 2 to 4 hours of evening homework and study time. Try to eat meals with friends so you have some time to socialize every day. Stick with a consistent sleep schedule. Pulling an all-nighter will leave you groggy for days afterward and won’t to any wonders for your mental well-being.
Eat, Sleep and Exercise
Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Sleeping is when your body has time to fight off infections and heal itself. A good night's sleep also helps to ensure you have a more positive mood the next day. Eating a healthy diet that is focused on protein, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains also helps to protect your mental health as well as your physical health. Skip the greasy, on-the-go meals and pack healthy snacks like cheese, nuts, and vegetables to snack on between classes. Try to perform 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. The endorphins released by your body while exercising will boost your spirits and help your body feel its best.
Take Some Fun Classes
Even if you are studying calculus, economics, or are getting a military history degree, there should still be some wiggle room in your schedule to take a few lighter classes. Consider taking a class in pop psychology, sociology, or art techniques. Even a class such as North American geography, botany, or Russian culture can help to expand your horizons and give you a glimpse at the people, places, and nature around you.
Even if you only have one hour of free time in a month, try to volunteer with an organization that speaks to your heart. Serving others can help to boost your self-confidence. You can gain perspective and feel as if you have a greater purpose by volunteering in the community. It doesn’t look too shabby on a resume either!
College is a time when you must be self-reliant and care for yourself. Managing your time wisely, caring for your body, and including some healthy fun in your daily life protects your mental health during these stressful years.
"Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information on studying for a military history online degree or similar subject check out social study schools like Norwhich or contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan."