By Bria Warren, Staff Writer

As we all know, our college years can be a very stressful time. Meeting deadlines, maintaining good grades, and juggling schedules for classes and extracurriculars can be overwhelming. It can be even more so when you’re far away from home. It’s totally normal to experience stress, anxiety, and depression, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Here are a few basic things you can do to take good care of your mental health during college:

Get good sleep.

I know, this one is hard. We all know what it’s like to stay up most of the night to finish that one assignment. But keeping a regular sleep schedule is one of the best things you can do for both your physical and mental health. 6-8 hours of sleep is recommended, but even if you can’t fit that in, try to stick to a regular bedtime and wake up at the same time every day.

Get regular exercise.

You don’t have to do a full workout every day, but take a walk or go lift weights in the Plex a few days a week. Exercise releases endorphins, the chemicals in your brain that boost your mood. 

Learn to say “no.”

Mentors and peers alike will tell you to be involved in as much as you possibly can on campus. This isn’t bad advice, but know your limits and stick to them. Over-commitment leads to stress and burnout.

Know that it’s okay to ask for help.

Life can be really hard sometimes and it’s okay to recognize that you’re struggling and ask for help from people you trust. You are not weak for needing a little extra support sometimes. Chances are that your friends are going through their own struggles too and mutual support is always a good thing. Additionally, if you think a friend is struggling, make sure to reach out and check-in, and help them get help from a counselor if needed. 

Go see a counselor.

Sometimes things get really overwhelming and that’s when it might be helpful to go see a counselor. Talking to a counselor is a great way to process difficult challenges and emotions with support from a listening, caring, trained professional. Going to see a counselor can be intimidating at first, but it’s no different than going to see a medical doctor when you feel sick. As an HU student, you have access to free counseling through the Counseling Services office, so make use of it!

A few last thoughts.

Life is hard sometimes and mental health can be scary. Make sure you take care of your mental health just like you take care of your physical health. No matter what, remember that you are not a burden, you are not crazy, and you are not defined by the challenges you’re facing. Take the first step today toward better mental health today, because your mind matters.