Let’s get one thing straight, being a college student means sacrificing your mental health. Period. If you’re an upperclassmen like me, then you’re probably imagining all of the mental breakdowns you’ve had. And if you’re new to this thing called college, then I’ve got a rude surprise for you. Nonetheless, this advice is targeted toward everyone continuing their education: you must take care of your mental health because “college life” could care less. And that’s the truth.
I am currently approaching my junior year and I have been aware of my Generalized Anxiety Disorder since high school. Taking five classes, working a part-time job, and owning and operating a business is no joke. Especially when my anxiety is a constant daily battle. With that being said, I decided to provide some advice for students with mental health conditions and disorders. And even if you don’t, it’s important to do this as you could have one and not even know, or you may develop one. College is a very fast paced, stressful environment, and it’s very easy to let your mental health slip away.
The most crucial step to practicing having a healthy mindset is meditation. Emphasis on the crucial part. Personally, I do this every morning as soon as I wake up for about 10 minutes. I use an app called Sanvello and it plays peaceful stream noises as I close my eyes and focus on my breathing and positive visualisation. By doing so, you are separating your mind from all things physical. That way, you can go on about your day without having that negative nagging voice in your head telling you things that aren’t true.
Yes, music. I keep my headphones on me and anytime I feel stressed or depressed, I simply listen to my favorite music. If I listen to songs that remind me of memorable events, I can disconnect myself from my stressful feelings. Because I know which lyric or beat is next, I subconsciously fill in the blanks of the song in my head instead of replaying worrying thoughts.
Remember to take multiple self care days. And I think our society has twisted the meaning of real self care and love. I’m not talking about lighting a candle and putting a face mask on (but to each his own). I feel that cleaning, creating content (YouTube videos, editing photos), washing my hair, doing my makeup, taking a hot bath, and cooking a meal have instantly made me feel better on bad days.
Going off the grid
And one of my biggest tips is to greatly decrease the amount of time you spend on social media. The last thing you need when you’re stressed about an upcoming exam is to scroll through Instagram and see people “living their best lives” when in reality they’re only showing the best parts. Social media is extremely toxic when you get on it as soon as you wake up as well. The first 20 minutes of your morning is when your brain acts like a sponge to anything and everything. So, if you’re hopping on social media as soon as you open your eyes, you’re reprogramming your mind to automatically compare yourself to others.
Protect your peace, choose wisely
Make sure that you are also very selective of the people you surround yourself with as this has an enormous effect on your mental wellbeing. And I’m referring to both romantic and platonic. You have to be mindful of who you are friends with, and who you have sex with in college. The people that aren’t even mindful of who they allow in their aura will constantly subconsciously peer pressure you into thinking you can be involved with just anyone and that is not the case in college. I completely support sexual liberation, but when you’re at a very vulnerable mental state in college, you must be picky on who you allow in your panties. I learned this the hard way. Same concept applies to friendships. You must be selective on who you spend a lot of time with as you will soon become your group of friends and reflect the same values and daily routines. The quickest way to let your mental health spiral out of control is not listening to your intuition when it tells you someone doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Whether they even know it or not.
It’s OK not having all the answers
Lastly, do not feel like you have to have all of your life together. It’s college. These years are crucial to self discovery and knowing what our soul purpose is in life. Don’t be afraid to lean on your best friends or family for support mentally, financially, or whatever the case may be. College is a very fun experience and if you have mastered taking care of your mental health, no one and nothing can stop you. It’s simply mind over matter.
And that is just a brief overview of the advice I have to offer. I went through depression during college and battle with anxiety every single day. If I can do it, I know you can. Keep your head up and conquer these few years!