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Making A College Mental Wellness Plan

Practice mental wellness on a regular basis.

Many people feel overwhelmed or scared going into college, and that’s perfectly normal. Who wouldn’t feel scared? It’s a new environment, with new people, and a new lifestyle. As much as college can be freeing to be independent and experience broader horizons, it can also make you feel lost and anxious.

So, it’s important to take your fears into consideration and make a plan on how you’re going to tackle things when it gets rough. Here are some ways you can add to your own mental wellness plan for college.

Participate In Social Activities

When people get overwhelmed with stress, often their immediate choice is to withdraw from everything social — especially in college when academics can feel like such a priority. Of course, it’s good to give yourself breaks from constant socializing, but completely withdrawing can backfire and make you feel alone or unsupported instead.

It’s good to have at least one social activity, such as a club that you can count on to always be happening at a specific time and build into your schedule.

Limit Screen & Substance Usage

The JED Foundation is a foundation created specifically to aid mental health across the country, especially in students. One of their biggest recommendations is to limit screen time and substance use while upset, as it can make stress worse, even if it seems to help in the immediate moment. Instead, they recommend self-care activities such as journaling, listening to music, dancing, or spending time outdoors.

Create For Yourself

In college, it’s easy to feel like all you create is purely for a grade. Especially when you have a major that is artistic or something you love doing, turning this into an academic tool can be draining and make you forget why you loved doing it in the first place. So, it’s good to have an artistic output that is only for yourself — no need to worry about deadlines or getting a good score. You can draw, write, bake, create music, anything.

Use Your Resources

Chances are, your college likely has some sort of resource to aid student mental health. Whether this is a designated place to relax, counselors to reach out to, or student groups, they are willing to help you in all areas from academic stress to nutrition. Some colleges even offer free or discounted therapy sessions to students. Always take advantage of these resources, even if you feel like you don’t need them. It’s best to sign up for something at the beginning of the year and not need to use it, rather than missing the chance and feeling stuck in the middle of the year because you didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.

Know & Use Your Coping Mechanisms

When you’re stressed, it’s incredibly easy to spiral. Most times, we find it’s easier to stay in bed than get up and face the day, and the same is true with mental health. But it’s important to remember the best coping mechanisms for you personally, and remind yourself why you use them.

 

By Caileigh Winslade, Freshman, DePaul University

Instagram @fairytwist / Twitter @fairytwist_

 

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Written by Caileigh Winslade

I'm your local writer, video editor, and game designer, but when I'm not creating things I'm probably fueling my rhythm game addiction or cuddling one of my four cats.

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