By the TFH Peer Health Educator Team
With summer long gone and midterms wrapping up, it’s hard to believe how quickly the school year has progressed already. September is a thing of the past as we move into the months of October and November. That being said, with all the commotion of returning to college or beginning college life for the very first time, it is very easy to get sucked into the stress-related factors that accompany the transition as well. In recognition of October as Mental Health Awareness Month, we have highlighted some useful strategies for you to employ in order to ease your mind this fall.
Give yourself the time of day
Between homework, studying, jobs, and after-school activities, it’s easy to rank yourself last on your priorities list, but it’s especially important that you set aside time every day to allow yourself a respite and a moment to relieve yourself of the stresses of life. Spend some time with a good book, lounge by the pool at the Tiernan Field House, take in the serenity of the Margaret Fowler Garden or grab a blanket and bask in some sun on the lawn.
The struggle is real when it comes to getting an adequate amount of sleep in college. So many of us are kept up late at night cramming for exams, writing papers and finishing assignments because we just can’t seem to find the time we need. Nonetheless, your body needs a chance to rest and recuperate after a long and attention-demanding day. Sleeping provides your body with this opportunity so that your mind will be ready to perform in top shape the following day. Perhaps the next time you find yourself dozing off while studying, opt for sleep in place of the all-nighter. And if you absolutely cannot make the time to sleep at night, try taking a small nap during the day for a quick burst of energy.
Okay, so you slept past breakfast, that’s perfectly fine. Just make sure that you are keeping yourself well-fed during the hours that you are up and awake. Eat foods that are known to be good for you: fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy products. These foods not only boost your physical health, but they also improve mental health. When your body receives essential nutrients, the energy it acquires ensures that you are better able to function in all aspects of your daily life. If you can’t make it to the dining hall, make sure you have a stash of healthy snacks like fruits or nuts to munch on as you go about your day.
Find good company
When you go off to college or return to school for the fall, it can be difficult knowing that you are leaving behind the people you have come to know, love and depend on back home. It is for this reason that having friends on campus who are willing to listen and support you throughout your highs and lows is essential. For some of us this may be a challenge, but just remember to be yourself, and don’t feel like you have to change your ways simply to be friends with someone. Join clubs related to your interests, get involved around campus and be open to starting conversations with new people.