Maintaining personal and education balance:

Equip yourself to fight the stress and challenges that college brings.

Don't rely on caffeine and energy drinks to keep you going at all hours of the night. 

Photo Credit: Jessica Lin

 

Forget freshman fifteen or sophomore thirty; your body deals with other problems throughout college. Physical health is important, but good mental health is also vital to ensure a person’s emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Loads of studying, lack of sleep and limited time are key aspects to the college lifestyle. Although some people have adjusted to these conditions, they still pose threats to one’s mental health. This aspect of health benefits someone for a lifetime, not just in youth, so it’s an important area to focus on.

Here are some tips on how to maintain and improve your mental health to make your life and overall college experience more positive.

Get Sleep

I. Aim for six to eight hours of sleep per night.

This can be difficult when a mountain of exams and papers are standing in your way, but a well-rested body will help your academic performance. Sleep is the body’s way of rejuvenating itself. If you are considering staying up all night to cram for a test in the morning, keep in mind that you are less likely to retain that information when sleep-deprived. Do as much studying as you can during the day so that you can head to bed a few hours earlier.

II. Develop a sleep schedule.

It can be hard to do when you are involved in a lot of activities, but creating a daily routine like this helps your body adjust better to what you choose to do during the rest of the day, and it will increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep regularly. You will feel more rested each morning and fall asleep more easily at night.

III. Avoid late night snacks.

This is difficult to do, especially when studying late at night. But eating and drinking before going to bed throws your body off because it believes more energy is needed. Try to cut down on late night snacks and not eat or drink anything, besides water, a few hours before you plan to go to bed.

De-stress

I. Develop time-management skills.

Some people are prone to procrastination, while others prioritize poorly, so everyone’s approach to improving their time management will look different. It’s important to give yourself plenty of time to complete an assignment if you know that you usually put it off until the last minute. If you need to start paying more attention to school, assign specific times throughout the week to study in an environment where you know you will be productive.

II. Relax with hobbies.

Whether you enjoy sports, art, hanging out with friends or all of the above, make sure that your hobbies are still incorporated into your life. School is important, but it is unhealthy to ignore everything else. Everyone needs a break from school and work in order to avoid going insane. Take the time to relax with what you love to do. Your body and mind will greatly appreciate it.

III. Pick and choose.

Accept that you cannot join every organization that peaks your interest, take every class that sounds intriguing or go to every social event that you hear about. Many people were able to say “yes” to everything in high school, but college is a different story. Prioritize the classes, activities and social events that will benefit you the most and understand that just because you have to say “no” to something does not eliminate a similar opportunity from presenting itself in the future.

Seek Help

If you feel like you are experiencing a situation or condition that you feel unequipped to handle on your own, do not delay in asking family, friends and trusted faculty members for help.

Furthermore, be proactive and do not let the problem continue without getting help because it will most likely become more serious. Getting help is not a sign of weakness; it is an indication that you are aware of your health and are taking steps to improve your wellbeing.

UT provides several resources that can aid students with their mental health. Visit www.healthyhorns.utexas.edu/HT/HTC_mentalhealth.html to receive access to a variety of on-campus resources that will allow you to improve your mental health.