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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Stevens chapter.

As the weather is getting colder, exams are coming up, and the stress of college finally settling in, it is crucial to not let your mental health slip your mind. The excitement of the new year suddenly disappears and it is easy to blink an eye and all the stress and worries appear. And as school ramps up, it seems to become more of a struggle to craft the perfect mental health checklist for college students. Today, I want to explain some of my own practice of ensuring my mental health is one of the top priorities in my life as a junior studying Chemical Engineering and in many clubs.

To first note, it seems like most times, it feels unrealistic for college students to be in pristine mental shape all the time, and trust me, no one ever is. You take one glance online or you compare your life to influencers on TikTok and it all seems not doable. These checklists you find online are not curated for a college student who is just trying to power through each day. Our busy schedules are often ignored by these popular mental health guides. So I went looking for the top mental health tips specifically geared toward college students, but I also wanted to include my own take on this topic.

Let me present to you, the official mental health checklist for college students!

1. Get Yourself into a Scheduled Routine – with Mental Health Mixed in

On top of your busy life of classes, exams, homework, clubs, and a social life, finding time to prioritize your mental health on a daily basis is so important. And if you’re going to manage all your to do’s and the additional mental health into the mix, scheduling is the first step. Sure, it may not be the most fun activity in the world, but coming from a to-do list/Google Calendar enthusiast, believe me — it helps organization more than anything.

Professionals at Northwestern Medicine said that “an effective routine can help reduce stress, which can lead to better mental health, more time to relax and less anxiety.” Due to this students can feel like they have more control over their lives and thus, lead to less burn out and an overwhelming feeling. Creating these schedules allow for students to shift their priorities and see where and when they can allot time for homework, studying, or just a moment to breathe.

This also means effectively working on your procrastination (we’ve all been there). For me, what works best is having a quiet space, AirPods in with some music to study, and being alone. Try breaking up work into manageable pieces so as to not get overwhelmed and setting deadlines for yourself. Luckily, having a set schedule will allow you to easily complete this type of setting.

2. Set Time for Yourself to Socialize

It seems to be a trend in college that when a student has a huge exam coming up, one tends to hibernate and isolate themselves inside all day, hours on hours. Which, sure, may be what works best for one, but for most people having a work hard play hard balance is crucial. Even if you’re an introvert, engaging with other people in your environment helps improve mental health.

Particularly during challenging periods, the presence of supportive friends can significantly impact your well-being. It is recommended that nurturing robust bonds with both friends and family can offer emotional reinforcement and foster a feeling of inclusion, ultimately alleviating sensations of seclusion. Therefore, even a brief get-together with your roommate can be seen as a positive social interaction. For me and my friends, every Sunday we get Chipotle, therefore it is something we look forward to and always allows us to have some time to just breathe.

3. Find An Activity for Stress Release

To start with, I’m not advocating for physical activity to endorse the unhealthy weight standards that our society unfortunately upholds. However, the truth is, engaging in a leisurely walk or participating in physical exercise has numerous health benefits. In fact, it’s the top-rated stress management technique available. I personally love doing Zumba and yoga. I find those two activities, though very different, have equal stress relieving benefits.

And let’s be real – if you’ve ever blasted Taylor Swift on the treadmill while being frustrated about an assignment, you already know how incredible a workout can feel. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Therefore, regular exercise can reduce stress and improve overall mental well-being.

Given our hectic schedules, it’s essential to select an activity you genuinely find enjoyable. The great news is, if you’re not particularly fond of the gym like me, there’s a wide array of options available. You can opt to participate in intramural sports with your friends, pay a visit to the school pool, or enroll in a class offered by your college or a nearby center. My sorority participates in a few intramural sports, and though I am not athletic, all coming together to just have fun is what makes it enjoyable.

To achieve two goals at once, consider exploring yoga, a practice that incorporates the valuable skill of mindfulness. At Stevens, we get access to free classes through Asana Soul Practice! Utilizing these resources will help both your mental health and bank account. Approaches such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga have the potential to decrease stress, enhance focus, and foster emotional equilibrium. However, the choice is yours – simply venture into something different and commit to what truly piques your interest!

4. Food is Fuel

All jokes aside, we need to stop romanticizing “girl dinner” because the truth is, us strong women need much more fuel to energize our bodies. Indeed, college students require nourishing and well-rounded meals to sustain our energy, particularly when we spend long days on campus. Me and my roommate like to build our meals together, ensuring they’re fulfilling and fueling.

In a society fixated on unhealthy mental practices like dieting and weight management, we often underestimate the true significance of regular meals. However, let’s clarify the facts, consuming three meals daily plays a crucial role in maintaining both mental and physical well-being. A well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains supplies essential nutrients that support brain function and mood regulation. And remember, listen to your body! Never limit yourself, ever! If your body is telling you it is sweet treat o’clock, go get that ice cream!

Always keep in mind the mantra: Food serves as fuel. Seek out nutritious recipes that not only offer a complete and satisfying meal but also don’t leave you feeling fatigued. Since cooking can be time-intensive, you might consider taking turns preparing dinner with a roommate or friend—whatever arrangement suits you best!

5. Utilize All Resources

Mental health is not merely a checklist; it’s an ongoing struggle that many of us face daily. While these tips can be helpful, sometimes the most effective path to healing involves speaking with a professional or seeking additional support. Speaking as a strong advocate for therapy, I assure you that there is absolutely no shame in doing so.

Regrettably, mental health issues are often overlooked by students. It’s crucial to recognize these signs, such as anxiety or depression, and seek assistance early. Therapy is a valuable avenue for understanding your issues and their origins, but you can also take advantage of your college’s mental health support services, confide in a trusted family member, or consult with your doctor. At Stevens, free counseling is offered through the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

Mental health challenges are a reality for college students, underscoring the importance of self-care. This means not only following the suggestions in this list but also being forgiving of yourself if you encounter setbacks. Making an effort is a commendable step, so remember to acknowledge your dedication to prioritizing your mental health and persevere.

If you or someone you know is in need of mental health support, you can visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website or call 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) for resources. For confidential treatment referrals, you can visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). In case of an emergency, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at

1-800-273-TALK (8255) or dial 911. To book a screening at Stevens for CAPS call at 201-216-5177, or schedule a visit online through the Healthy Stevens Portal.

Sarah Pasqualetto is a junior at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken New Jersey. Her major is Chemical Engineering, with a masters in Engineering Management. Her personal interests include reading, going on walks by the pier, and yoga. In her free time she goes to the beach, tutors, and loves to go on TikTok.