Sometimes you’ll find that your mind is a difficult place to stay, so the best thing you can do for yourself is at least make it a nice place to live. Here are some healthy habits to practice to improve your mental home:
1. Eat Healthy.
And I don’t mean only eat raw fruits and vegetables—but at least incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet. There are studies being released that the gut plays a bigger role in mental health than anyone would have thought, so nourishing your body in one way is a surefire way to make sure you are nourishing it in other ways.
2. PLan outings with friends.
I know college is a stressful period in a lot of our lives because we feel like there is so much at stake, but don’t forget that you are only young once. You don’t want to get old and have regrets about the things you didn’t get to do because you spent all your time holed up in your dorm studying. Also, when you feel yourself getting to a bad place, hanging out with friends can be the perfect thing to get your mind off of your worries and distract you. Experiences are priceless—don’t miss out on gaining them.
This is a very loose category, because exercise means something different for everyone. Some people like running on the treadmill. Good for them, but that’s not for everyone. My best advice is to find something you like, something that gets you moving, and keep with it. If you get bored easily, join a sport! They tend to be a lot more exciting than working out alone (speaking from experience here!). Incorporate some variety; do yoga one day, swimming another day, tennis another day. Whatever you feel like. We’ve all already heard this from health class, but you can’t change science—and exercise produces endorphins, which are super beneficial for mental health.
4. find hobbies—off of the internet.
In such a digital age, it can be hard to find things to do that don’t involve logging on somewhere. While social media can be fun and an effective way to meet new people, it also can add lots of extra stress and anxiety to a person’s life—so it’s good to find hobbies offline. Personally, I love reading. And watching movies. And going thrifting. I started a book club with a couple of friends over the summer—we grab coffee and discuss our books, and it’s honestly one of the highlights of my week.
5. start your homework early.
I feel like I can say this with some authority as a severe procrastinator. I’m not the person who gets projects done weeks before they are due, but starting things early and getting small chunks done day-by-day is so much easier and less stressful than waiting til the last minute. I know it’s not as ego-boosting as getting a huge assignment done at the very last minute, but your sanity will be a lot more intact by dividing up your time.
6. listen to music.
Invest in a nice pair of headphones, and get started on your playlists! I think I’m pushing 90 on Spotify at the moment, and they all have their time to shine. If you ever see me walking around campus I probably have Airpods in, because I find that having a beat to walk to makes the time pass a lot faster. I’m a person who can’t focus on working when listening to music with words, so my study playlists tend to be jazz or classical-based. Everyone’s taste is different, and developing yours is a great way to get to know yourself.
Maintaining your mental space is a beautiful favor you can do for yourself. Spend time thinking about what actions you can do in order to satisfy your mental health needs and put them into practice. It’s as simple as that! The things listed above are just some ideas that I know have worked for me, so implement as many or as few as you’d like.