How to Take Care of Your Mental Health in College
Mental health is SO important, but unfortunately, not many people get the help they need. Especially in such a high-stress environment like college, taking care of your mental health is crucial. You can’t expect to perform your best if you are not taking care of yourself mentally. Here are some tips to help you out!
Take advantage of UNLV’s Student Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
This is by far my favorite resource on campus. CAPS is our therapy and counseling service at UNLV with professional, licensed psychologists. Having someone to talk to, even if things are going great, is always helpful. You may be holding something you didn’t even expect and the therapists help you address it so you can move forward stronger and better than before. The therapists are held under a privacy agreement meaning what you tell them stays in that room unless it is a threat to someone’s safety. UNLV offers 12 free sessions a year and if you exceed that, the prices for the sessions are soooooo much cheaper than other therapy options. And it’s part of your semester fees so might as well use it!
Use the Student Recreation and Wellness Center (SRWC)
Move your body! I am one of those people who used to hate working out (still hate cardio, that will never change😅), but I made myself go to the gym at least a few days a week, and soon, it became my favorite place on campus. You don’t need to do the hardest workout, just simply move your body! A really great thing about the Student Recreation and Wellness Center (besides the fact that it’s basically free since it is part of the fees you pay every semester) is that there is always something to do like group fitness classes or events and so many amazing equipments like the new rock climbing wall, racquetball courts, multipurpose courts, and the pool.
In my freshman year of college, my biggest regret was not getting involved. Like I’ve mentioned, college can be stressful and for many students, all they focus on is school. Having something fun to look forward to every week is a great way to motivate you to keep going. Not only that, but it also allows you to get social and make friends which will make college so much more fun!
Set Good Habits
You need to sleep. PERIODT. No matter how much you think you’ll be fine, you need to sleep. I don’t understand why people sacrifice sleep. SLEEP IS AMAZING! Besides sleeping, it is also important to set good habits. Although it may be the stereotype, don’t let yourself go and eat ramen every meal or basically inject coffee into your veins. If you are not taking care of your body, your mental health suffers too. Don’t know what habits to set? Here are a few: workout, eat healthily, get some rest, learn to manage stress, chill on the caffeine, drink water, volunteer, practice gratitude, etc.
Get Academic Help
College is hard and expensive, so don’t spend time stressing about it when you can get tutoring to help you understand the material and get your money’s worth. At UNLV, we have free tutoring for basically every class! It can be found through the Academic Success Center. Getting help for your classes can help relieve stress and make you feel more intelligent which in turn, helps improve your mental state and how you view yourself. If you are worried about what others will think, don’t. You are taking control of your education and advancing yourself in your field!
If you don’t have any type of planning system, I HIGHLY recommend you do. You don’t need to go overboard like me and use a physical planner, Google Calendar, and daily/weekly/monthly to-do’s. Find one that fits you and helps you keep track of everything. You have a lot of information being processed in your brain, so take some of the stress off by using a planning system to 1) keep track of all events, and 2) plan ahead so you can best maximize your time and energy.
Schedule Time for Yourself
You need to schedule in personal time. College is not just about studying. You need to take time for yourself to relax and regroup. Completely disregarding yourself and only focusing on school and work is a surefire way to lead yourself towards burnout and an existential crisis. Your health and well being is just as, if not more, important than your studies. Take care of yourself.
What you are or will be experiencing is completely normal. Everyone struggles with their mental health and goes through rough patches in life. Don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone. It may help you feel better. There are many resources on campus that can help you with mental health (https://www.unlv.edu/studentwellness/caps/mental-health-resources). I hope these tips are helpful! Remember to take care of yourself so you can enjoy everything college has to offer!