College is a time full of changes. Freshmen are experiencing new things and being exposed to #adulting. Sophomores are trying to act like they have it all together to show the freshmen the ropes. Juniors are deciding for the 20th time if they need to change their major or not. Seniors? Well, seniors are #done with everything and everyone asking them the, “what’s next for you?” question. No matter what stage you are in it is all equally overwhelming and confusing. It is emotionally and mentally tiring. Many people gawk at how long the winter break is, (a whole month) but honestly it takes me at least a week and a half to recover mentally, physically, and emotionally from finals week. Then you combine that with the holiday season and traveling… yeah a month is okay with me. So as a college female that has been through her share of mental health roller coasters, I thought I would share some tips I have found that help me out.
1. Get your sleep.
A woman once gave a workshop to our sorority centered around recruitment and ways to talk to people and that sort of thing. (It was awesome I wish I could take a class with her!) BUT, one thing that she said that stuck out was that at Guantanamo Bay one of the most used torture tactics was sleep deprivation. The soldiers would keep the prisoners up for 72 hours at a time and then only let them sleep for like 5 hours until repeating the process again. Without sleep, our cognitive functions are decreased and our short-term memory is impaired. There is also higher risks of headaches, stress, anxiety, and depression.
These are all things that any college student studying for exams want to avoid. So cramming for your test is not the best option. Get your sleep!
2. Treat yo’ Self.
One of the things that I can not stress enough is how important it is to take care of yourself. If that means that you need to get your nails done once every two weeks do that. If that means you need to go to a coffee shop and just sit by yourself and read a book not assigned to you by a professor then do that.
Whatever you need to do to get some time to yourself do it. For at least an hour a week put yourself first. Mute everyone else in your life and do something that solely benefits you.
Laughter is the cure for all things, as is love, sometimes these things come as a package deal if you’re lucky. But if there is one thing I know for sure is that I feel better after I have heard something that made me laugh so hard I cried.
Find friends that can help you lighten up the stressful times, because trust me there will be a lot of them. Even if it is a quick joke, or even a whole night with the girls find a way to escape the stress with a good laugh.
4. Get away from social media.
Social media is a huge problem in our generation. Lots of people spend time on their phone just ogling over what Betsy Sue is doing or how they missed the party Betty Loo went to. People are looking at all the good parts of everyone’s lives, the small portion of their lives that they see, and putting it up against everything in their own life.
Stop spending so much time looking at other people’s lives and start spending that time appreciating and documenting your own. You never know how exciting your life is until you sit back and really evaluate it. Still, don’t like what you see? Then figure out how to improve yourself and the things you want to change, and just do it!
5. Talk to your professors.
I have been picking one or two professors I really like each semester and attending their office hours regularly since I started my sophomore year. Not only has it helped me in class, but it has helped me in life too.
Professors are people too and if you go to them with your worries, anxieties, or stresses about their course, normally they are very responsive and helpful. Many of my professors have told me to chill, reminded me that it is okay not to be perfect in their class, and even that some of the most successful people in history didn’t make straight A’s. Hearing that from your professor is like a Godsend when you are on the verge of tears because you can’t quite grasp how to study for their class.
All in all, college is one of the craziest, roller coaster, comfort zone-shattering times of your life. So just take a moment take a breather and make it easier on yourself by taking care of your mental health. Focus on the things that really matter in life, and then make them the best they can be. Strive to be the best version of yourself.