How to Manage Your Mental Health During the School Year

by | Oct 12, 2021 | Mental Health

If you are headed back to school, chances are you have already made at least one checklist. You’ve likely also received and memorized your schedule, purchased the necessary supplies, and met with your academic advisor. The lists can be overwhelming, but each check off the list plays a significant role for students as they transition back to school.

Although these checklists are important, there is one that needs to be a priority: addressing your mental health and well-being.

Back to school comes with a myriad of feelings. You are excited to see your friends and conquer new goals, but the unknown and the new challenges sometimes bring heavy feelings. Whether you are just trying to pass statistics or maintain friendships throughout your hectic schedule, transitioning back to school can negatively affect your mental health.

If you are experiencing negative feelings about going back to school, you are not alone. However, there are effective ways to help you cope with this transition and to manage your mental health this school year.

Ideas to Help You Manage Your Mental Health

Put You First. Your academics matter, time spent with friends matters, making time with your loved ones… all of that does matter. Do you know who else matters? You matter. Treat yourself with kindness and give yourself the grace to engage in self-care. Make time for the things that bring you joy and indulge in them. Feeling consumed by the pressures of being back to school is no fun, so it’s important for you to step back when you need it. Add a class that you’re passionate about such as ceramics, yoga, or anything else that makes you excited. This allows for your schedule to include a space of fresh air, limiting pressures that you may feel from your other classes.

Fuel Your Body. Taking care of yourself physically can also have positive effects on your mental and emotional well-being. Grabbing a slice of pizza or living off coffee may be easier than cooking meals, but your body needs the right nutrients to function properly. More so, there are a handful of items you want to avoid as they can negatively affect your well-being. Do your best to:

  • Eat nutritious meals
  • Avoid smoking and vaping
  • Hydrate – Drink plenty of water
  • Move your body
  • Get enough sleep

Choose Your Circle Wisely. Surround yourself with people who bring joy to you and who do not make you feel negative about yourself, or life in general. This includes friends and family. Whether you’re in college or still in high school, your academic life comes with its own stressors. Adding in people who aren’t supportive or who add additional stress to your life is something you want to avoid. Make time to spend with people who lift you up, or who have the same goals as you. When you surround yourself with like-minded and positive people, you tend to mirror that behavior, bringing everybody up with you.

Find Coping Skills That Work. Stress is something you can’t always avoid. What you can do is learn coping mechanisms to deal with the stress that comes your way. It’s important to practice good coping skills for the times that you are faced with stressors. Stress coping skills can be unique; the goal is to help you manage those stressors as they arise. Finding what works for you may take some trial and error, but here are a few that remain tried and true:

  • Meditation
  • Taking walks
  • Lifting weights
  • Listening to music

Set Realistic Goals. Remember you’re only one person, and although you probably can conquer the world, you don’t need to take on everything. One of the best ways to avoid overwhelming yourself is to prioritize and learning how to say no. Aim high, but be realistic. If your plate is full already and a classmate asks you to help with another task, tell them you’d love to help, but right now, your plate is full.

Break Up Monotony.  Routines help you to prioritize correctly. Routines can maintain your efficiency and help to enhance your feelings of security and safety, but changing things up is a good thing. This doesn’t have to be big changes. Simple changes like changing your route to class, or ordering an unfamiliar item on the menu all help to break up the monotony and add some zest to your life.

Avoid Drugs and Alcohol. It is important to avoid/or minimize any substance use. Without knowing it, sometimes alcohol and drugs can start to be used to self-medicate, aggravate problems, and increase negative emotions associated with anxiety and depression.

Transitioning back to school can be exciting, but it can also come with negative feelings that increase symptoms associated with anxiety, fear, and depression. Your academic accomplishments are important, but they should never be put before your mental well-being. If you are struggling to manage your mental health as you transition back to school or any time during the school year, it is okay to reach out for help. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not a weakness and sometimes everyone needs a little extra help and support. Sober Life can help you manage your mental health. We want you to continue living a healthy and rewarding life throughout this school year and every school year after. Let our team at Sober Life teach you ways to manage your mental health throughout this school year. Our team is here to help you prosper mentally and physically this school year. Call us at 619-542-9542

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