The first full week of October marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, but we should all consider this movement throughout the month. This time of the year is subsequently probably the most stressful time for college students. With midterms, papers, work, social life, and everything else building up around you—October is the time when it’s so easy to slip into a bad state of mind; which is why it is so important to practice self-care! Here are some tips on how you can work to handle everything that is on your plate.
1. Set Some Time For Yourself
Trust me, I know it’s hard when you’ve been non-stop working all day every day to relax, you may not even get much of a chance to breathe. But with everything that’s going on around you—it is super important to remember your own feelings. Take some time each day to sit back, take a breath, relax, and reflect on the things that you’re doing and want to do. It may seem like you don’t have time, but even just five to ten minutes can make all the difference. This will help ease your mind and your stress. It will also allow you to focus more and prioritize what needs to be done.
As a college student, I know that a full night’s rest may seem like a foreign concept; but studies have shown that a full night’s rest can improve your mental capability better than naps can. You might think cramming for a test the night before or pulling an all-nighter to write a paper might be the easiest way to get it all done—I get it, sometimes we work better under pressure—but in reality, sleep is the healthiest, most important asset for your body. Do your work in increments and get tasks done over a spread-out period of time rather than all at once. You’ll find you have more time to sleep and the quality of work turns out better. Not to mention, you’ll feel engaged and attentive when you wake up each day.
3. Write Things Down
Your schedule can get pretty hectic: balancing class, homework, jobs, and a social life. It’s easy to lose track of it all. That’s why every day it’s best to make a schedule of things to do that day and at what time. You’ll notice that you will keep track of everything that needs to be completed. It’ll give you greater peace of mind knowing you have a plan. It’s easier to get tasks done right and on time when you have it written down. So go buy yourself a planner and watch how amazing it feels to be organized.
4. Stay Active
Something I’ve noticed in my times of stress, nothing makes me feel better like a good run! I understand not everybody loves exercising or playing sports, but doing some physical activity like going for a walk or jog can do wonders for your brain, clear your mind, and help you stay focused and energized throughout the day. So set some time each day to give your brain a little break because it needs rest too. Your physical health is just as important as your mental health.
5. Make It Fun
I’ve noticed that I keep my cool during stressful times when I’m hanging out with friends. The good thing about college and life in general is, everyone is probably always as equally stressed as you are—so you can always find a friend to make those grueling times seem less painful. Being around other people is great motivation, and also good if you need a laugh here and there. You might even be able to help each other out along the way. It’s hard to make time for social activities during the busiest times of the year, so you can combine social and work together.
By Victoria James | Photo by Brooke Cagle