College years are infamous for fun and personal reinvention, but there's also the other side: hard classes, late nights studying, the infamous finals week and library breakdowns. If you're struggling to maintain your mental health, a hard semester can go from bad to worse pretty quickly. Luckily, there are plenty of steps you can take to manage your mental health during a tough semester. Here are five tips you can use to get started.
Make a Plan
Just like in other areas of your life, planning can be an essential tool for mental health success. If you've never experienced any mental health problems before, you might not think to plan ahead. The good news is that you can still make an action plan at any point in the semester. Writing down due dates for tests and assignments, making a list of useful campus resources, like counselors or study help, and scheduling downtime so that you can enjoy your favorite activities and hobbies should all be important areas to note.
While it may be difficult to do anything but stress out in your dorm, taking action is one of the best things that you can do for your mental health, especially if you have anxiety. If you're concerned about your academic success, check your grades and your GPA regularly to stay on top of classes. If you’re not doing so well, don’t freak out; take advantage of any campus resources, like tutors or writing centers, that can help you improve.
Use Your Resources
You don't need to be afraid to ask for help. Many schools offer mental-health counseling and other resources for students. You can meet with potential providers, discuss tools like medication, and set goals for your overall wellbeing during the semester.
Take Care of Your Body
Physical health can play a big role in mental health, so do your best to eat healthy foods, exercise and sleep well. You may think that an all-nighter is your only option to prepare for that test you forgot about, but the lack of sleep could backfire when the test is in front of you. Your body is always going to be more important than any test or class project. If you know that something will be too much for you, consider talking to your professors about it.
Remember You're Not Alone
Mental health issues can seem bigger when you spend too much time by yourself. Get out of your room and your head by hanging out with friends or finding social activities on campus. You might even find some classmates that can help you study.
Mental health can make an already hard semester more difficult, but you do have options. With careful planning and helpful campus resources, you can find a healthy balance for your health and academic success.