Three Ways To Boost Your Mental Health in College

By: Audrey O'Neill

Self-care. What is it? When you hear it, you may think its just Lush bath bombs and charcoal facemasks, but what does self-care really mean?

You spend every day surrounded by girls your own age. Tensions inevitably build in college. The “you said what to WHOM?” conversations are almost as stressful as that Organic Chemistry test you stayed up until 3 am studying for. Girls say they hate drama, yet no matter how far away we try to get from it, it always finds its way back to us.

Not only is it stressful having to manage all of your relationships at college, but also being around people your own age constantly can take a toll on your mental health. Yes––we all know there are studies that show how Instagram and other social media platforms are detrimental for young people’s health, causing them to view other people’s lives in a certain lens. But, does anyone ever talk about the stress of having to be around constant comparison? It’s hard to walk to class and look around the room noticing how everyone else’s outfit seems just a little more put together than yours. It’s harder to peek over at your neighbor’s paper when the last exam is returned and see a 90 while you get back a flat C. Comparison can ruin you. But, how do we stop doing it?

Forget the facemasks and bath bombs—well, don’t forget them altogether, but here are some self-care tips to help your mental health without having to invest in a clean bathtub that can’t really be found in residence hall bathrooms.

1) Journal. The power of journaling is incredible. Whether you use it as a blank template or you have to search for some prompts to get you started, writing out your emotions helps you tremendously. Journal about the things that are causing you stress and tension, but always make sure to end on a positive, uplifting note. What are you excited for? What goals do you have to try and better yourself as a person this week?

2) Call a Trusted Friend or Family Member. Nothing is as sweet as hearing your mom’s voice on the other line after a day full of drama and school stress. Call a family member, or a close friend that doesn’t go to school with you and catch up on things. If you feel like you need to vent, this is the space to do so, but just talking to someone different about anything can ease your stress. Remember to thank them for being such a great person to rely on. 3) Take a Walk. There’s something about nature that is more healing than any remedy you can find online. If you’re feeling anxious, upset, stressed, or anything in between––one of the greatest things you can do is get up and change your environment. Whether that means leaving the room you are in, or grabbing your jacket and keys and going for a walk outside, it’s up to you. Focus on the things around you that often go overlooked when you are in this heightened state of awareness. Feel appreciation towards things you rarely have the time to appreciate.

College is stressful. But, the most important thing is to take care of yourself. I’m all for movie nights with ice cream and face masks with friends, but getting down to your roots and values really helps clear your mind and set you up for success in the future.