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Mental Wellness

Mental health is about taking care of your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects everything from how you think and feel to how you interact with others. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and plays a crucial role in your overall quality of life. 

Track your mental health

Practicing Self-Care

Self-care is an essential part of maintaining your mental health. If you are dealing with a mental illness, it can help support your recovery. Self-care involves taking time for yourself and doing things that promote physical and mental wellness. Simple acts of self-care can have a significant impact on your mental health, like managing stress, reducing your risk of illness, and increasing your energy levels. Remember, taking care of your mental health is essential for your overall well-being.

Get outdoors

Have you ever felt revitalized after taking a walk at Breitbeck? Or felt a surge of positivity after sitting by the lake? It may seem coincidental, however, research indicates that spending time in nature can have significant benefits for your well-being. As a college student, exposure to nature can benefit you by:

  • Improving cognitive abilities such as concentration and attention span
  • Enhancing overall happiness
  • Reducing stress levels
  • Increasing social connections
  • Improving physical health 

Discover the many outdoor recreation opportunities available on or near our campus. To learn more about the correlation between nature and health, visit the Children and Nature Network Research Library

Be social and connect with others

Socializing isn't just a way to avoid feeling lonely—it has other benefits too! Hanging out with friends and meeting new people can help:

  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Improve your memory and cognitive skills
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Make you happier
  • Improve your overall well-being 

Plus, studies have even suggested that socializing might help you live longer. While meeting up with people in person is ideal, staying connected through technology can also be effective. So, don't be afraid to put yourself out there and make some new connections!

If you're looking to boost your social life, one easy way is to reconnect with people you already know, like your coworkers, family, schoolmates, or neighbors. Shoot them a text or message them on social media to let them know you want to keep in touch more often. You could plan to meet up for ice cream at Bev's, go to a hockey game together, or enjoy a shared interest like music, D&D, or a walk around campus. 

Learn about the student activities that are available on our campus, including over 150 clubs and organizations.

Learn to meditate

Try one of these apps to help you center and focus your mind. 

  • Calm: Choose from an assortment of guided meditation experiences. The selections range from three-minute to 25-minute sessions. Another option is Daily Calm, a 10-minute program you can practice right before your day begins or as it’s about to end. Other features include more than 20 sleep stories, breathing exercises, unguided meditations, and more than 25 soothing sounds to help you get to sleep.
  • Headspace: Targeted to anyone who wants to learn meditation, reduce anxiety and stress, and improve their attention and awareness. Good for a beginner to establish a regular meditative routine. 
  • InsightTimer: This meditation app features over 4,500 free guided meditations from over 1,000 meditation practitioners. It also features 750 meditation music tracks. Insight Timer also lets you customize your intervals and background sounds so that your meditation session is exactly what you’re looking for. 
  • Sattva: Sattva is all about inspiring you to meditate every single day. The app carries a host of unique features. Along with the standard components of pre-loaded guided meditations and chants, timers, and mood trackers, users can also check their heart rate and receive “trophies" for taking on new challenges. The app also does a great job of explaining why and how meditation can be an important and necessary component to improving your life. New features let you integrate with the iPhone’s built-in Health app.
Practice daily gratitude

Practicing gratitude is a simple yet effective way to boost your mood and promote positivity in your life. Make it a habit to focus on things you're thankful for each day. Be specific about what you're grateful for and take the time to write them down at night or replay them in your mind. By regularly reminding yourself of the good things in your life, you'll develop a more positive outlook and feel happier overall. So, take a moment each day to reflect on what you're grateful for—it's a small but powerful way to improve your mental health and well-being.

Get a good night’s sleep

It's crucial to prioritize getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep has been linked to various health issues, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Plus, not getting enough sleep can lead to accidents on the road or errors at work, possibly resulting in serious injuries or disabilities. Adequate sleep is a necessary part of maintaining good health, not a luxury. If you have a sleep disorder, it's essential to seek help because it can increase your risk of other health problems. The good news is that sleep disorders can be diagnosed and treated, providing relief to those who are struggling.

Learn more about the importance of Sleep Health

Maintain good hygiene

Practicing good hygiene habits is essential for many reasons. It reduces the risk of getting sick, which is crucial for your physical health. Good hygiene can affect how others perceive you and how you feel about yourself, which is essential for your social and psychological well-being. By practicing good hygiene habits like showering regularly, washing your hands often, and brushing your teeth daily, you can take care of your body and promote a positive image of yourself to others. So, don't overlook the importance of good hygiene—it's an easy way to improve both your physical and mental well-being.

Limit time on social media

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok can be great tools for staying connected with friends and family. However, being on social media can also lead to procrastination, frustration, and lower self-esteem. If you find that social media and news consumption are affecting your mental health negatively, it might be time to cut back. Consider setting limits on your social media use to avoid these negative effects.

Managing Stress

As a college student, you are bound to face many obstacles, and stress is definitely one of them. While short-term stress can help you improve your grades, complete an essay, or land a great job, long-term stress can have serious negative consequences. In fact, according to the American Institute of Stress, four out of five college students experience frequent stress.

If you don't address your stress levels, it can lead to physical side effects including:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling irritable
  • Lacking energy 
  • Changes in appetite 
  • Weakened immune system
  • Trouble sleeping

Unfortunately, more college students than ever before are feeling stressed for extended periods. While coursework is often the main source of stress, factors such as family, friends, and jobs can also contribute to undesirable outcomes, both academically and personally.

Many self-care techniques can also be used to help manage and reduce stress.

Want to learn more about how to manage stress? Consider enrolling in HSC 162: Thrive. This is a 6-week course that teaches evidence-based strategies and skill sets to enhance well-being.

Relax your muscles

When you're stressed, your muscles can become tense, leading to headaches, backaches, and fatigue. But there are ways to combat these symptoms and reduce stress! You can try stretching, getting a massage, taking a warm bath, or practicing progressive muscle relaxation. This method has been shown to reduce anxiety and improve mental health.

To try progressive muscle relaxation, start by getting into a comfortable position and selecting a muscle group, like your lower leg muscles. Take a deep breath and contract those muscles for five to ten seconds, then release them suddenly while exhaling. Relax for at least ten seconds before moving on to the next muscle group. Many practitioners suggest starting with the lower body and working your way up.

Eat healthy foods

As a college student, it can be tempting to grab fast food and eat on the go, but doing so can lead to indigestion. Plus, the stress of college can cause students to either overeat or undereat, which is not healthy. That's why it's important to make an effort to eat nutritious meals and look for foods that can help combat stress and boost your mood.

To manage stress and maintain a healthy weight, it's essential to develop good habits like eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. When you have the freedom to choose what and when to eat, it's easier to make healthy choices. Don't let academic stress get in the way of your health – take care of yourself by making sure you're getting the nutrients you need and avoiding unhealthy habits.

Remember to breathe

When you've got a ton of schoolwork to do, it can be tempting to turn to alcohol to relax. But have you considered trying deep-breathing exercises instead? It's totally free and has been shown to reduce stress, relax your body and mind, and help you sleep better.

Deep breathing releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers that help boost immunity. It also improves blood flow, helping the body calm down and reducing anxiety. The best part is, you only need to do it for a few minutes a day, whenever and wherever it's convenient for you.

Deep breathing is super easy to do, too. Just inhale slowly through your nose, hold your breath for a moment, and exhale through your mouth. Repeat a few times if you need to. So next time you're feeling overwhelmed, skip the booze and try some deep breathing instead – your mind and body will thank you!

Find a stress outlet

Let's face it, stress is a part of life, especially when you're in college. But it's important to find healthy ways to manage stress so it doesn't take over your life. Some common ways to relieve stress include exercising, spending time with loved ones, and getting massages.

But there are also other relaxation techniques you can try, like deep abdominal breathing, focusing on a calming word (like "peace" or "calm"), doing yoga or tai chi, and visualizing peaceful scenes. These techniques can help you relax, reduce stress, and find a sense of calm in the midst of a hectic college life. So next time you're feeling overwhelmed, try one of these techniques and see if it helps you feel better.

Manage your time

As a college student, it’s easy to get sidetracked with social activities and leave coursework until the last minute. But procrastination can lead to stress and anxiety. Effective time management can help you avoid cramming and falling behind. In fact, studies show that 87% of college students would do better academically with improved time management skills. Writing down assignments and exams in a planner or on your phone can help you stay on track and prioritize your time. With good time management, you can boost academic performance, stay organized, and reduce stress.

Stay organized

Staying organized may seem daunting, but it’s essential for academic success. Calendars, planners, and a tidy workspace can help you reduce distraction and anxiety. Not having organizational skills will only add more pressure to your plate. So, don’t wait until assignments pile up before finding ways to stay organized. With effective time management and organizational skills, you can better prioritize your most important tasks and reduce stress.

It's common to feel overwhelmed with a lot of work to do. To manage your workload and avoid burnout, set realistic expectations for yourself and choose a class schedule that allows you to balance study time with relaxation.

It's also important to communicate with your professors if you're struggling to keep up with the workload. Sometimes, just asking for an extension or explaining your situation can make a big difference. Good communication with your professors can help you manage your workload and reduce stress.