Tips For Managing Mental Health for New College Students
College is a time of enormous change, and it also means leaving traditional support systems behind. New systems can be built, but some students can find the transition difficult. Even students who do not have diagnosed mental health issues will find some aspects of college life challenging at times. Fortunately, there are many things students can do to help keep their lives on an even keel.
First, students who are in distress should take advantage of campus health or other healthcare options. In fact, schools increasingly are offering telehealth to college students as well. This can remove some of the friction that could make students hesitant to get help. You can watch for symptoms of depression and read tips for better managing it in yourself or others.
Back to Basics
It's exciting to be out of the house and away from your parents. For the first time, you can choose when you go to bed and when and what you eat. Unfortunately, even though you're young and you can probably weather some late nights and bad eating habits more than older people can, the fact is that you will feel much better if you try to get enough sleep and some decent food more often than not. If you're on the campus meal plan, make use of it. There are also many sites online geared to cooking simple budget recipes for beginners.
Between classes, studying and maybe a part-time job, you may feel a little overwhelmed. If you aren't an extrovert either, you might find it difficult to make yourself get out and socialize, but a change of scenery and some down time will do a lot to prevent burnout. If you're not into the campus party scene, there's still probably plenty to do and at least one club or association that matches your interests. You don't need to cultivate a huge circle of friends if that's not you, but you do need to make an effort to build new connections away from home.
Staying active is important as well. You don't need to have a strict program of going to the gym or running five times a week if that doesn't suit you. Taking a walk, informal games of Frisbee on campus or yoga are among the many ways you can keep moving. If there's a sport you've always wanted to try but never knew how to get started in, like rock climbing, your campus probably has a club that does it and that welcomes beginners.
Moving away from home doesn't mean leaving everyone and everything behind forever. It's a good idea to try to strike a balance between building new ties and sustaining old ones. You might want to make a plan to check in with your parents periodically and a schedule for coming home on certain weekends during the semester. On the other hand, try not to over-rely on these check-ins and visits back home. Making an effort to fully throw yourself into campus life may help you adjust.