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College is a crazy place. Between keeping up with classes, a social life, and everything else you might have going on, it’s easy to forget to check up on yourself. You might find your own mental health moving further and further down your priority list. There’s a pretty good chance you’re going to experience this at some point in college (if you haven’t already) so here are some of my favorite ways to keep my mental health at the top of my priority list.

get your body moving

Taking care of your physical health is SO good for your mental health. For starters, if you’re feeling angry or stressed, getting a good work out in is the best way to get rid of those emotions. When I first got to college in my freshman year, all I did was study and stress about school. I had no kind of emotional release. When I finally got back into going to the gym and made it a habit in my life I saw such a difference in my mental health. Getting up from studying for a test to go blast some music and get yourself moving is the best feeling. You’ll leave with a clear mind feeling 1000 times better. If working out in a traditional gym isn’t really your thing then just get moving. Go for a walk or a yoga class. Chances are, if you’re at college there are a ton of ways for you to get active and destress your body and your mind.

crack open a good book

As soon as I’m feeling overwhelmed, I turn to a new book. I head to my favorite spot with a good blanket and get comfortable. Whether you’re feeling stressed, sad, frustrated, or even happy, reading a book is always a good option. Personally, I tend to open up a book when I’m feeling stressed. Focusing on the stress in a fictional character’s life is a lot more fun then focusing on the stress in my own life. I tend to lean towards fiction or mystery because I love following along with the lives of the characters. Make sure you find your favorite genre so that you don’t get bored or discouraged. Some of my favorite authors whose are Jodi Picoult and Coleen Hoover, so if you’re looking for a place to start, both of these writers are amazing!

surround yourself with people who make you feel good

This one might seem pretty obvious but being around people make you feel like your favorite version of yourself is amazing for your mental health. In college finding people who you are truly comfortable with isn’t easy at first. It can seem like you’re meeting a lot of people and you’re making so many new friends but somehow you still feel alone at times. Having at least one person that you can be completely vulnerable with, whether that’s your mom, your best friend, or your sibling is essential. For me, even just being around my best friend makes me feel more relaxed. Talking to her is like talking to myself. I never feel like I have to say a certain thing or act a certain way; I can be completely vulnerable. Having the type of relationship where you feel at home makes college so much less lonely and boosts your mental health! So, if you’re feeling lonely and not like your self, reach out to some friends, Facetime your dog, call your family, or even try reconnecting with someone you haven’t talked to in a long time :)

messy bed=messy head

In order keep your mind decluttered, the best place to start is the place where you live. In college, chances are you’re living in a really small room with at least one other person. It’s pretty easy to let this space get messy, fast. Keeping your dorm room clean allows you to come back to a place that looks and feels comfortable. To keep my own room tidy, I try to do a little bit of organizing every morning and I make sure to always make my bed. This way the clutter doesn’t build up and get overwhelming. It keeps my mindset much more clear and calm and makes me feel much more at home when I’m away at college.

do some online shopping

This probably isn’t the best thing for your bank account, but hey you’re in young. Those tips you made this summer need to be spent on something. Although this definitely isn’t the way to improve your mental health in the long run, it’s still ok to treat yourself once in a while because you deserve it!

you are your own #1

Finally, always remember to listen to yourself and pay attention to what you need. Sometimes you need to put yourself first and that is ok. Taking a step back from all the craziness of college to spend some time doing some self care, or just having some alone time is never a bad thing.

Skyler Dorr is a sophomore at Siena College. Her major is health studies with hopes to become a physical therapist. She loves hiking, skiing, reading, and spending time on Piseco Lake! IG: skyler.dorr
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