Mental Health Matters: Coping with Stress in Community College
Community college is a transformative experience for students to grow and advance academically. However, as with any education journey, it comes with challenges, especially for students juggling a job and a family on top their education. For college students, performing well academically is a top priority, but it can be hard to accomplish if you are dealing with stress and mental health issues.
Studies show that mental health among college students is worsening with more than 60% of college students meeting the criteria for at least one mental illness.
Students struggling with mental health issues face increased challenges in completing their coursework, forging bonds with peers, and participating on campus. This can negatively impact grades and academics, causing a further increase in stress.
Students struggling with these concerns need to take care of their mental wellbeing in order to focus on their other priorities.
Tips for Coping with Stress and Mental Health Issues
- Take time for yourself. With exams, homework, and extracurriculars, college demands a lot from students. However, it is important for students to make time to practice self care. This could mean setting aside an hour a day to journal, partake in a hobby, go out with friends, or any activity that gives your mind a break from the stress of college. Taking time for yourself can also help you avoid burnout.
- Care for your body. Exercise on it’s own cannot cure mental illness, but it can help you relieve anxiety and improve your mood. Exercise also helps improve self esteem and cognitive function which is a great benefit for college students. If you do not have a lot of free time, even making time to exercise for 30 minutes a day or to take walks can improve your mental health and help you cope with stress. Many colleges also have gyms and athletic facilities available to students for free or discounted cost.
- Ask for help. Many colleges provide counseling services for students to help them cope with stress and mental illness, but many college students do not seek out help when they need it. However, college counseling services and faculty are there to help students succeed. There is no shame in seeking out help from counseling services, professors and friends and family.
- Manage your time. Effective time management is essential for avoiding stress and anxiety. Create a study schedule for your course and be sure to allocate time for other activities, like work, relaxation and socializing. Organizing your day can help you avoid late assignments and missed deadlines. Time management also allows you to break down your responsibilities into manageable tasks. You can check of your list as you go, which helps you see what you have accomplished.
- Sleep well. All-nighters are popular among college students, but your body needs sleep to recharge. Make sure you are getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night to keep your mind and body performing well.
With a demanding schedule, it is essential to prioritize your mental health and effectively cope with stress.