Hi all, I am so sorry about the 6 month hiatus, but so much has been going on!! I finished up my senior year of high school, graduated, had an amazing summer, and started college! College so far has been absolutely incredible. It has been amazing getting away from everyone, and having a completely clean slate. I’ve met some pretty incredible people, and am having the time of my life. I also did something totally outside my norm, and I’m cheering for my school. Oh, and I’m majoring in psychology, which I’m sure isn’t that big of a surprise to you all.
Now that I am settled into school, I’m going to do my best to post more frequently, at least once every two weeks. But with the craziness that is college, I can’t make any for sure promises. It won’t be another 6 months though!!
Given that I’m on a college campus, I’m interested in the college student and how they work. So I want to talk a little bit about college students and mental illness. It’s an astounding, and sad fact that over 25% of college students have recently been diagnosed and treated with a mental illness. And to make matters worse, 7% of those students have seriously considered suicide, , and these figures only count those who have reported their struggles. It is estimated that 40% of college students suffer with mental health treatment and do not seek help.
Being in college makes it way too easy to not look after yourself and your health - physical and mental. Especially because, for many of us, it is our first time being away from home where someone isn’t there making sure you’re doing basic things such as eating, or bathing, or even something as simple as getting out of bed. I know my first week at school, it was so easy to just go to one class, come back to my dorm and sleep, go to my next class, come back, sleep, and repeat. All because someone wasn’t there telling me I should go out, make some friends. I was pretty alone my first week of school, but thankfully I’ve made a great group of friends. These girls help me get out of bed every single day and make sure I’m not just sleeping my college days away. Honestly, that’s one of the key factor in looking out for yourself.
1. Have a support system
It’s easy to not take care of yourself when no one is there to notice. When you have people there that notice when you aren’t acting like yourself, or you aren’t acting healthy, it’s easier to stay on track. Or else you’ll have people all over you!
2. Keep A Planner
Not only do planners tell you when things are due, they can also be an amazing resource for planning your day out hour by hour. Keeping a planner this way helps you stay on track, but don’t forget to schedule some ‘you time’!
3. ‘You’ Time
Being in school is stressful, and seems like time is so limited. But taking time for yourself is a big key in staying healthy and happy. Sometimes it’s best just to take a breather from the craziness that is school, even if it’s just for an hour. Taking periodic breaks will make you better able to retain the information you’re studying anyways! So use that time to hang out with friends, grab some food, or go to the gym! Another thing you can do with your ‘you time’ is join clubs to keep you active, and its a great way to make friends! But make sure you have enough time to get all your work done and not to overload yourself.
4. Utilize the Gym
A lot of schools offer free gyms to use to stay in shape. It’s a known fact that working out, even just for a half hour a day, makes you feel better about yourself. When you exercise your body releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy!
5. Utilize the Counseling Center
Often, you can receive free counseling through your university. Although these programs aren’t typically designed for long term, they can definitely meet with you to discuss ways to rise above your depression, anxiety, or other disorder you may be dealing with. If they aren’t able to give you the treatment you need, they will almost always be able to refer you to someone who can, and someone who you can afford.
It’s not always easy starting off a new college semester, especially if this is the first time doing it, like it is for me. As someone who suffers with depression and anxiety herself, these are a few of the ways I’ve found to cope with the emotions I deal with. Although, I don’t use my counseling service on campus, I definitely use all the other words of advice I’ve given you and they’ve been a huge help in keeping on top of my emotions. If you need more resources, don’t be afraid to reach out to the people around you. They’ll be more receptive than you think. And if the first people you reach out to aren’t, there’s always someone that will be!
Stay strong, I hope you’re all enjoying your September! I look forward to writing more for you soon.