Table of Contents
- What Are Some of the Causes of Stress and Depression During College?
- 8 Tips to Improve Your Mental Health
For many students, college is a place they dream of getting in; it’s an excellent opportunity for personal and professional development. It is a place where they spend the happiest time of their life and create the most valuable memories. However, that’s not the case for everyone. Somewhere along the way, depression and anxiety find a way to ruin the fun.
During college, it is common for students to face difficulties, but sometimes the stress takes a whole new level and damages their mental health. If that’s your case or you suspect someone is having a hard time, you should look into some mental health tips for students.
What Are Some of the Causes of Stress and Depression During College?
Numerous factors can contribute to stress and depression. Almost everyone is affected by stress and depression episodes at some point in life, and college students are certainly no exception. That’s because many students are not well-prepared for college life.
The most common factors that push students into a bad mental state are increased responsibilities, academic pressure from parents or themselves, poor time and financial management skills, and, most certainly, relationships.
Let’s see how each of the abovementioned factors affects college students’ mental health and what can be done to ease the pressure.
It is no secret that one of the fundamental reasons for joining a college is that you can become academically successful. That’s why academic pressure is one of the primary sources of stress and depression. Those who experience mild academic pressure can, in fact, gain from it by pushing themselves to do better, but for others, the pressure becomes unbearable.
Students who put in non-realistic academic goals are at high risk of developing stress and depression. Not being able to meet those goals sends them into a bad mental state; they start doubting themselves, become unmotivated, and can lose track of daily routines, which can lead to poor academic performance. The same symptoms can also happen when parental academic pressure takes place.
A breakup is frequently followed by a period of depression. Breakup-related depression risks include intrusive thoughts, difficulty managing those thoughts, and difficulty sleeping. Students are more likely to develop insomnia in the months following a breakup. Students who were neglected or abused as children or had an insecure attachment style and were unprepared for the breakup are more likely to become troubled after a breakup.
Fortunately, time is the most effective treatment for depression brought on by a breakup.
Money is a sensitive subject on almost everyone’s mind—experiencing financial troubles and worrying about debt while at university increases the likelihood of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
Money problems can harm your sleeping pattern, self-esteem, and energy levels. It can leave you feeling furious, ashamed, or afraid, intensify discomfort and mood swings, and even increase your risk of depression and anxiety.
Distance from family
The shift from secondary to higher school can be difficult for students. Each individual manages adjustment to a new social context and the increased flow of responsibilities differently. The physical and emotional distance between the students and the family house negatively influences academic achievement on average, especially for those who have just recently moved away.
When students leave home to attend college, they may face hardships. Some students experience homesickness and struggle to adjust to life without their parents or siblings.
8 Tips to Improve Your Mental Health
Small doses of stress can be beneficial, as good stress can help us encourage ourselves to study for tests or make constructive changes in our lives. However, stress becomes dangerous when it lasts too long or is chronic—when our systems don’t know when to return to normal functioning. Chronic stress has several detrimental effects on our bodies and brains. It can:
- interfere with studying,
- cause poor time management skills,
- interfere with the attention span and concentration.
But how can students improve their mental health? Fortunately, there are a lot of mental health tips for college students that you can follow to help you or a loved one to reduce stress.
Read on to learn some of those tips.
Set realistic goals
To feel fulfilled this semester, set reasonable, clear, and achievable goals. This will save you from feeling disoriented during the school year.
Some of the goals that you can include for this semester are:
- joining certain groups,
- maintaining a regular workout routine,
- attending all your classes,
- applying for on-campus jobs/internships, or
- receiving a good grade in a subject.
When you’re sad, doing small things throughout the day can lift your spirits and improve your attitude. For example, if you’re feeling unmotivated or stuck, create a daily checklist and cross off each item you complete, such as:
- personal cleanliness,
- exercise, or
- social time.
Know when to ask for help
Anxiety, depression, or stress can arise anytime during college, and your feelings are valid. You are not alone, and you will get through this.
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Many options are available, and you should not hesitate to seek assistance. Talk to a friend if calling or visiting the therapy center is too frightening. You will feel much better once you realize someone knows what you are going through.
If you feel comfortable, call your family and talk to them. They are willing to help and take care of you.
Create a routine
This is the most crucial step in maintaining your mental wellness. Having a routine will help you stay consistent in your schedule and fight emotions of procrastination or feeling lost and without a purpose. This practice will help you start your day with consistency and stability. It can also help you develop healthy habits of self-control and discipline, which are essential to success and will serve you later in life.
Try to have breakfast and dinner at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time every night; this provides comfort and consistency and makes life easier. Create a schedule for meetings with friends (this doesn’t imply you can’t be spontaneous from time to time.) Set some time for your hobbies, maybe play sports or draw something once a week.
Find the right friendships
Finding people with whom you click right away is sometimes hard. But that should not stop you from exploring. There are so many good people around you, waiting to get to know you better. Remember that those around the campus are students and might be going through the same challenges as you are. There are great opportunities for you to share and bond with new friends.
Introduce yourself to your neighbors and invite them to the dining hall with you. Find something common or trendy you can talk about and share opinions. Join new clubs and take advantage of the activities available at your campus.
Friendships are generally formed when people spend a lot of time together working toward a common goal, conversing about life, and discovering shared interests while concentrating on a topic or activity.
Stay in touch with family and friends
Your parents and family friends will always be there for you. Your parents will be grateful that you feel comfortable approaching them when you feel low, and they will happily help if you feel overwhelmed or suffer with the transition back to school. A phone call from home can sometimes be a peaceful and grounding diversion.
Call your old friends over and introduce them around the campus; it will help you take your mind off other responsibilities.
Have good night sleeps
Make regular sleeping patterns and wake times a priority. As a college student, your mind should be working properly. When you don’t get enough sleep, your academic performance will fall low, and you may fall behind in your studies, which adds to your stress. Students who do not get enough sleep may withdraw from friends and social events and have frequent mood swings.
Eat a healthy diet
To avoid feeling tired during the day, eat a balanced meal. Instead of going long periods without eating, avoid missing meals by eating quick, healthful snacks. Going to a café or cafeteria with people is another fantastic way to socialize.
Make time for exercise in your schedule and focus on excellent health practices. Aside from walking around campus, set a goal of obtaining at least 3-4 days of exercise every week. You will feel much more energized after a good workout, making it simpler to focus your attention on work. Exercise can also help you sleep better.
Who knows, maybe you’ll meet some new friends with whom you can make exercising even more fun.
Lack of sleep, bad eating habits, and insufficient exercise are all ingredients for depression in college students. Academic stress, financial issues, pressure to acquire a decent career after school, and failed relationships, are enough to cause some students to drop out or worse.
College is a complex setting for most young people, and it is especially crucial for parents, friends, instructors, and counselors to intervene if they suspect a student is going through hard times.
As a student, you should prioritize your mental health by following the advice provided in this article, and you will have a great time at college.