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Wellness in College: Strategies for Mental and Physical Health

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Going to college is a huge change in anyone’s life. You start living on your own for the first time, and you may think the world is your oyster.

But college years can also be extremely stress-inducing. The sheer number of assignments, classes, tests, and exams alone can overwhelm the most resilient of people. Combine that with a part-time job, which many students need to hold on to pay the bills, and you’re on a track to exhaustion and burnout.

If you don’t know how to preserve your sanity and your physical health and enjoy your college years, you may want to consider taking care of basic needs, turning to write my essays for me services, and more. Here are six strategies you should adopt in your day-to-day life.

Set Your Priorities Straight

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Review everything you have to do over the next week or so. Chances are, it can be next to impossible to do all of that without pulling all-nighters – you only have 24 hours in a day, after all!

The secret to great time management isn’t knowing how to squeeze the most out of your every minute. It’s realizing when to say no to certain things – in other words, how to prioritize. And this is exactly what you have to do if you want to take care of your mental and physical health.

So, go ahead and consider:

  • Offloading certain assignments to specialized services;
  • Reducing the number of classes you select for a semester;
  • Leaving an extracurricular activity, especially if you do it for the resume and not because you enjoy it.

Take Care of Your Basic Needs

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You may be tempted to dedicate your every waking hour to studying and partying. In such a case, you probably treat basic needs like sleep and eating as nuisances.

So, you barely get enough sleep most days and often pull all-nighters, thinking it’s normal to constantly feel tired when you’re a student. Your eating habits aren’t better: you grab a bite on the go and don’t remember the last time you had a proper meal (fast food doesn’t count).

Lack of sleep and an unhealthy diet can exacerbate virtually every mental health challenge you may be facing, like anxiety and depression. They also lead to brain fog, mood swings, and behavior changes – and make it harder to cope with stress.

So, make it a rule to get your eight hours every night – or, at least, most nights – and eat a balanced diet. Beyond that, adopt several other rules of sleep hygiene:

  • Avoid caffeine and energy drinks late at night – they’ll keep you awake;
  • Stick to a sleeping schedule (go to sleep and wake up at around the same time every day);
  • Don’t nap during the day – it’ll confuse your biological clock.

As for the diet, make sure to:

  • Avoid snacking in general, but if you can’t help it – opt for healthy snacks like dried fruit;
  • Eat around the same time of the day – and do it seated;
  • Prioritize home-cooked meals over fast food.

Find Your Self-Care Routine

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Do you have time for yourself in your crazy schedule? If the answer is no, it’s high time you made it. (And no, extracurriculars don’t count!)

While self-care is usually associated with yoga and mindfulness, it’s not limited by these two activities. A self-care routine refers to any activity that recharges your internal batteries. Consider it your daily ritual that makes you feel better.

For some, it can be reading a book with a cup of tea for half an hour. For others, it’s going on a jog or doing cardio. Find your own routine – and stick to it!

Make Time for Exercising

You’d be surprised what miracles exercising can do for your body and your mind. It doesn’t just help you stay slim and fit in general. It’s also proven to combat health conditions and diseases, enhance immune response, improve mood, promote better sleep, and, of course, boost energy.

The best part is you don’t even need to hit the gym for an hour a day to reap all those benefits! A 20-minute walk counts as exercising here.

As a bonus, if you go for a walk in a park, watching plants and wildlife and enjoying landscapes is also a sure way to boost your mood, according to some studies.

Find Your Coping Mechanisms

In a student’s life, stress is unavoidable, for better or worse. While you should strive to minimize it, it’s impossible to make your life completely stress-free.

This is why what you do once stress comes knocking on your door matters – a lot. If you find the right way to cope with it, you’ll navigate through it faster, reducing its impact on your body and your mind. It also helps you avoid mental health challenges like anxiety and depression.

Some common coping mechanisms include:

  • Exercising;
  • Mindfulness practices;
  • Deep breathing techniques;
  • Progressive muscle relaxation or stretching exercises;
  • Visualization techniques (i.e., imagining yourself in a peaceful environment);
  • Pep talk;

Know When to Turn for Help

If you encounter serious mental or physical health challenges, don’t go it alone. Learn to recognize when you can’t handle them on your own and need the help of a professional.

To know when you’re actually in a pickle, you need to listen to your body and your mind. That’s how you can realize something is wrong.

You should also know what to look out for exactly. So, do your research on common issues, like the symptoms of anxiety and depression, the two most common mental health challenges among students.

Keep in mind that colleges themselves offer plenty of resources for their students, so you don’t have to worry about the costs of seeking out a mental health professional. Check with your college whether it offers counseling, support groups, or other resources.

Final Thoughts

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College years can be the most bustling and fun period of your life. But they can also be hectic, busy, and anxiety-provoking – if you don’t proactively cope with the overwhelming schedule and outlandish expectations.

So, go ahead and say it out loud right now, “I will prioritize my mental and physical well-being over grades and what others think of me.” And then, follow the strategies above to back this statement up with actions!

Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignspolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com