As young collegiettes with so much going on, we often sacrifice our health between pulling all nighters to get homework done and going out even though you’re feeling under the weather. You recognize that you should’ve slept when you’re drooling on your paper or your body is aching the morning after a night on the town because those are consequences on your physical well-being. But what about your mental health? There are several factors of your day-to-day routine that can cause your mental health to suffer whether you realize it or not.
Here are six daily practices that you can incorporate into your routine to make sure you maintain a healthy mental state:
1. Have some “me time”
With exams every other week and tons of homework piling up, it almost seems ridiculous to schedule time to basically do nothing. However, don’t ignore the fact that your body and your brain need a little down time. Spending a mere 15 to 30 minutes a day away from all distractions will do your brain a ton of good. According to Psychology Today, this time spent in meditation allows you to see things clearly and leads to a more centered being. Don’t be afraid to turn your phone off for a while.
2. Remove clutter
If your desk is cluttered with notes and books, chances are, instead of cleaning and organizing it entirely, you may find it easier and much simpler to neaten the clutter instead of throw things away. This method is a waste of space! Instead of making a home for the clutter, get rid of things you don’t need! Sort through the notes; toss what you don’t need and file the ones you do. Removing clutter will reduce your stress indefinitely.
3. Evaluate and break bad habits
We all know that bad habits die hard.. If you happen to pick up a bad habit, this can be very dangerous territory, as it may jeopardize your mental and physical health. In order to break it, you must first identify the problem. Most bad habits begin as a result of stress or boredom and sometimes carry on through adulthood if neglected in the earliest stages.
While there are some very obvious bad habits, such as smoking, there are many other things that often go unnoticed. Don’t ignore your mom’s reminders to have breakfast and don’t roll your eyes the next time grandma asks if you’ve eaten anything today. Skipping meals due to a lack of time is common among college students—so common that it is not always regarded as a bad habit, even though it is.
4. Be active
You don’t have to be a hardcore gym rat, but adding some rigorous activity to your routine will do wonders for your mental health. Walking is a great way to start, but walking to class does not count. When you’re on your commute to class, you have a time limit and a destination. Take some time to just walk leisurely. While you walk, clear your mind and just be in that current moment in time. Then take it up a notch and do some light jogging the following week. You can put your earphones in and just escape for a while. Tip: going to the gym with your friends is also a great way to catch up with them
5. Live in the moment
This may seem so cliché, but it is important to try your best to live in the moment. It is very easy to get caught up in the past and to stress about future plans. Doing this makes it impossible to fully enjoy the present. There are many benefits to living in the moment including anxiety relief and a better sense of self.
6. Get some sleep
This goes without saying, but your body and your brain both need a chance to rest and repair after stressful and busy days. You realize this every morning when you have to get up to get ready for your 9 a.m. class—staying up until 3 a.m. wasn’t worth it. Also, weight gain has been linked to lack of sleep. However you put it, sleep is important and you should never cheat yourself out of it.
It’s so easy to get lost in everything that you have going on, but you have to remember to put yourself first. If you don’t take care of your mental self, the side effects can be nasty. These tips won’t resolve all your stress, but they will help you feel a little better day-by-day both physically and mentally.