The college years are supposed to be the best years of our lives. The experience is new, it's exciting, it's an opportunity to be independent. You make all of these new friends, familiarize yourself with a new campus, and have so many fun things to do at any given moment. It's awesome.
For the most part.
I don't know about you, but in addition to having all of these wonderful experiences and opportunities in college so far, my mental health has also struggled quite a bit. The past few years have honestly been the hardest of my life. Aside from the curveballs life has thrown at me; family deaths, financial struggles, and just the everyday battles with depression and anxiety, college has really tacked on to those things.
It's added an immense amount of pressure and stress on me that I didn't have before. The classes are insanely difficult, even though I am a good student. Balancing a full time job and being a full time student is difficult. Handling more by myself has been an adjustment, since I'm away from my family. And don't even get me started on how much I miss my dogs!
I just want to note that this isn't a call for a pity party. I'm very blessed to be able to even go to school and I'm fortunate in so many aspects of my life. I'm just saying college and all that comes with it is very overwhelming and can be exhausting. And I know that at least for me, it's taken it toll on my mental health.
Life is hard pretty much all the time for different reasons for different people. This isn't at all to claim that your mental health can't suffer if you aren't in college. Not at all. Just simply that college provides its own reasons and situations that may affect us.
That's why it's so important to remember to make your mental health a priority while you're in college. It's so incredibly easy to push it to the side and let it get worse—trust me, I've done it.
There are so many resources and things you can do to not let college get in the way of you being the best version of you. The best advice I've ever gotten in regards to my mental health is this: It's okay to put yourself first, and it's okay to say no. If you don't want to go out this weekend even though you told your friends you would, that's okay. If they're truly your friends, they'll understand.
Making sure to take time for yourself is also absolutely crucial. Aside from doing the things you have to do, make sure you're doing things you want to do. For me, that's journaling and working out.
I do both of those things every single day for the most part. I love journaling because it helps me to get my thoughts out and helps me to make sense of them, which is a big deal for me because my mind is literally always racing. Working out is also a game changer. It just makes me feel so good. All my fellow Legally Blonde fans know how working out gives you endorphins! It's the best.
Besides those things, it's also important to keep in mind that your campus more likely than not has resources available to you when it comes to mental health. At my university, there is a counseling center website students are able to go to where they are able to see the resources available to them. It's okay to ask for help. It's brave. Sometimes it's terrifying, but it's okay.
Whether you're a freshman or a senior, college can really take a toll on your mental health. People say they're the best years of your life, but that can only happen if you don't let your mental health worsen. Take time for yourself, do what makes you feel alive, remind yourself that you can say "no," and always get help if you need it.