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Mental Health

11 Tips to Get You Through Those Rough College Days

I have been attending Winona State University for two years now, and it hasn’t been an easy process since the beginning. For goodness sakes, when your parents help move you in or drop you off on the curb, which is what my father actually wanted to do, it feels like you’re attending a summer camp. You wait for your parents to say “just kidding” and all of you can go back home, but it doesn’t work like that. The truth is, there are some very dark days waiting for you at this never-ending “summer” camp. Here are 11 tips to help you get through those dark days and tough times that have personally worked for me. 


1. Working out, meditating & running

My friend Autumn introduced me to working out again, and I have noticed that my mentality has become more positive. Putting all your negative energy into that workout not only creates gains, but also it allows you a healthy choice of unwinding after a stressful day. My friend Madison has also introduced me to meditation, which is very relaxing and helpful when you feel like you just can’t catch your breath. 


2. Bubble baths & facemasks

Self-care shouldn’t be something that is last on your priorities list because your body does so much for you—you have to take care of it. It’s okay to stop when your to-do list is too long to accomplish in one night, and run a bath, bubble it up, and soak it all in instead. To spice things up, add on a facemask because stress causes zits to grow and become angry. Always take care of your body because it protects your inner thoughts. 


3. Nature walks among the bluffs & lakes

Winona was number one on my college list because of the proximity to the bluffs, lakes and the Mississippi River. You can also go hiking up to Garvin Heights or Sugarloaf to see the beautiful views. These hikes just might be enough to distract you for awhile from whatever is lingering in the back of your mind. 


4. Cleaning

I know most people dread having to clean, but honestly it helps to calm me down from whatever is bothering me. Blast your favorite music and go to town on cleaning your room or apartment. If your environment is clean and organized, you will feel better about working and living in that environment. Our outside space affects inside thoughts—just because your brain is cluttered doesn’t mean your house has to be.


5. Coloring & doodling 

Yes, I am a 19-year-old and I still love coloring. It has a calming effect, and at the end of coloring, there is a beautiful picture left to be proud of. I personally love doodling during classes and my free-time because they are cute little drawings! If you don’t have any ideas on what to doodle, I recommend looking up examples on Pinterest. 


6. Cry it out

It is okay to cave and let your emotions out—it’s honestly healthy to. Holding in all those feelings will only cause them to build and increase into an even bigger outburst. Grab some Kleenexes when your emotions win and blast some Ali Gatie because he is the king of sad songs. 


7. Write that sh*t down

I have lost count on how many journals I have with messy thoughts written in them, but I love looking back at my writings to see how far I have come from previous dark places. Sometimes your messy thoughts can turn into a poem or an article, even. Writing down your thoughts on paper also allows you to better acknowledge understand what you’re feeling. 


8. Dance it out

Grey’s Anatomy inspired this thought because whenever Meredith and Christina are in a stressful situation, they just dance it out. Turn on that favorite jam of yours that you can’t help but move your hips to and just release yourself from reality for that three-minute duration. No one can be upset when they are dancing!


9. Call a friend or family member

I actually use this one a lot in college since I am unable to see my hometown best friends and family members as often. Call your grandma and grandpa when you can because you never know when it will be your last time. Reaching out to your best friend who not only is in another state, but also who you haven't seen for almost six months is also very relieving—you two will definitely get lost in conversation. Healthy distractions are always the move. 


10. Target therapy session, please!

Yes, I go to Target to relax and have a good time, but I feel like many others do as well! Walking around and seeing everything on sale is very aesthetically pleasing, and if you can afford it, go ahead and treat yourself to a new candle or picture! Halloween is a great time to go on a therapy session run as well because you can dress up in ridiculous costumes they have on stock there and have a good laugh. 


11. Cuddle up with a fuzzy blanket & your favorite movie

Receiving new fuzzy, cozy blankets for any special occasion has to be one of my favorite presents because I personally believe you can never have too many blankets. For those who have anxiety, I recommend buying a weighted blanket. I recently just received one from my parents and have noticed it does have a calming effect and I sleep better at night! Grab whatever blanket gives you that spark of joy and turn on your favorite show with some snacks and just relax and unwind from your thoughts. 


Although dark days and thoughts are impossible to escape sometimes, there is always an outlet for you to turn to. An outlet is something that sparks excitement or a relaxing vibe. There should be something out there that gives you a little bit of hope at the end of a depressing day. Always check up on your friends and family—just because they are smiling doesn’t mean they are necessarily happy. They could just be shielding their inner thoughts from the outside world. No one should suffer alone or in silence, so be there for somebody on their dark days the way others are there for you! 



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My name is Katie Rodmyre! This is my second year in Her Campus as a sophomore majoring in English. I hope that one day I am shaping the young minds of high schoolers teaching English. I fill my time studying in the library, working as a nanny & a waitress, and lastly hanging with friends. I really hope you enjoy my thoughts, and experiences.
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