Kristen Bryant-Thinking In A Lala College Sweatshirt

5 Ways to Upkeep Your Mental Health in College

We all know that college, though it may include some of the best times of our lives, can be stressful, taxing, and mentally draining at times. During these times, it can be very easy for one’s mental health to slip through the cracks; I’ve experienced this personally and have seen the same happen with a lot of my peers. That being said, here are some practical ways to combat the mental health decline that can come with the pressures of college.

1. Take breaks

Sometimes when you have approaching deadlines along with classes and extracurricular activities, it may seem like you have no time for breaks. But I think it’s important to make time for them, even build them into your schedule if necessary. Taking breaks, especially when you’re working on something difficult, gives your mind time to relax so that you can come back to your work refreshed and not frustrated. So whether taking a break means watching an episode of your favorite show, chatting with friends for a while, taking a walk, or whatever, they’re super important.

Girl On Bench With Backpack2. Learn how to say no

This is something that I personally find really difficult. With so many things going on around campus, it’s easy to get caught up in wanting to do them all. But trying to do too much can easily become detrimental to one’s physical and mental health. So my advice is to know yourself and know when you need to say no. Missing out on things isn’t fun, but if you’re doing so to better your own mental health, it’ll be worth it in the end.

3. Plan ahead + stay organized

This is another thing that I struggle with and have been trying to do better with recently. I often wait until the last minute to do things and end up stressing myself out trying to finish at the last minute. But I find that in weeks when I plan out my schedule and work ahead, I’m able to finish all my work, go to all my meetings and extracurricular activities, and just stay on top of things in a timely manner without adding unnecessary stress. Using Google Calendars or a planner helps a lot with this!

a woman sits at a wooden desk writing in a notebook. there is an imac in front of her.

4. Take advantage of your resources

Colleges understand the stress that a lot of students go through during their time in undergrad, and given the recent push for mental health resources, I have found there to be a lot of them readily available here at Harvard, and I certainly hope it’s the same for other schools. But despite the presence of these resources, students don’t always take advantage of them, I included. My encouragement is simple: use them while you have them! 

5. Let it out!

We all know that bottling up one’s emotions inside is unhealthy, so I’d suggest finding some way to let them out. Whether that means journaling, talking with a friend, talking to a professional, or even just talking to yourself, there are a lot of different ways to get out what you’re feeling inside. Once you do, it will release a lot of the tension weighing on your mind and I’ve found that it helps me to feel a lot better. 

two woman sit in front of slatted doors. one is wrapping her arms around the other.

Mental health is super important and complex, so while these tips are pretty simple I really hope that you all find them helpful. I will be working on putting these into practice and I hope you do too!