(Adapted from Rutgers University)
Many college students feel that that they can't find the time to keep up on their personal health and wellness until an illness or mental health crisis stops them in their tracks. Between academics, work, and personal lives, it is no doubt that students are busy! MCC provides many resources and activities to help with every dimension of your wellbeing!
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you journey through your college education:
College students, statistically, suffer from higher rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts/ideation. So, it is important to keep yourself happy and healthy.
- Know 9-8-8. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, calling or texting 988 will provide advice from a crisis counselor. They are available 24/7, all days of the year.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. Many people feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help with their mental health concerns. But, many of the experiences are normal and treatable. You do not have to deal with it alone. Schedule a FREE appointment with our MCC Advocacy Counselors at any time.
- Keep in touch with family and friends. You can help beat loneliness by keeping in touch with those who matter most to you.
- Build new friendships. Put yourself out there and meet new people whenever possible. It takes time to make friends, so do not feel discouraged if it doesn't happen right away.
- Expect things to change. Things will constantly change at home and in your school life. Take this as an opportunity to continue to grow!
- Don't let stress get the best of you. Stress can be a major factor in many students' mental health concerns. Remember to take a break and set time aside to relax.
- Accept that you don't have to please everyone. There is no way to make everyone happy all of the time. Focus on making yourself happy!
- Get involved on campus or in the community. Joining clubs or volunteering can give you a sense of satisfaction, help you meet new people, and keep you from feeling lonely or isolated.
- Set goals. You will be more motivated and positive if you give yourself goals to work towards.
Students can start to feel run down with so much going on. Follow these tips to help you beat the stress.
- Create a routine. If you get yourself in the habit of studying, working out, sleeping, etc. it will be easier to manage your time and leave you feeling less stressed out.
- Put limits on work hours. You can't work all the time. Fun and relaxation have to be part of your routine as well.
- Give yourself a break. If you have been working steadily for hours, give your eyes and mind a chance for a rest by taking a break. You will come back feeling more refreshed, recharged, and focused.
- Be realistic. Sometimes there is just no way you're going to get everything you'd like to get done in one day. Be realistic about your goals and understand that it is okay if you can only do so much.
- You can't do everything. While you might want to go to class, work, join a club, play a sport, and participate in other social activities, the reality is that sooner or later you're going to get run down by trying to do so much. Focus on doing things that you truly love or are passionate about and forget the rest!
- Cut back if needed. There is no shame in recognizing that you have too much on your plate. Cut back your work hours, drop a class or cut out some of the extracurricular activities to make your schedule more manageable.
- Relax with hobbies. Whether you like to paint or destroy zombies in video games with your friends, making time for the things you love is an important part of keeping yourself from getting too stressed out or overwhelmed.
- Learn time management skills/Give yourself plenty of time. Time management skills will make everything from getting assignments done to managing work a lot easier. It is easy to put off starting on a big project or studying for a test until the last minute. But, you will be less stressed and set yourself up for a better grade the earlier you start! Visit the Learning & Tutoring Center for academic help or meet with Student Wellness to learn personalized time management tips.
College students aren't known for having the best sleep patterns, but getting sleep is an integral part of staying healthy. Check out these tips to help your rest time.
- Understand that lack of sleep can have a BIG impact. Lack of sleep doesn't just make you cranky. It can also play a factor in concentration and your ability to excel in class or work. Long term sleep deprivation can lead to a long list of serious medical concerns.
- Get a full night's rest whenever possible. Adults need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep each night. While this may not be possible every night, try your best to sleep a full night when you can.
- Create a bedtime routine. Creating a routine will help let your mind and body know that bedtime is approaching and will activate "sleep mode." It will take a few weeks of practice, but this will help with any trouble falling asleep.
- Don't do work in bed. Working in bed can make getting to sleep and getting assignments done even harder. Keep your sleep space separate from your work space.
- Keep your room dark and quiet. Try to keep your room as dark, quiet, and cool as possible. This will help tell your body that it is time for bed and help you get and stay asleep. Some people find it helpful to run a fan or use white noise apps or machines.
- Avoid all-nighters. Many college students think they need to stay up all night to study or cram assignments, but you are doing yourself a disservice. Not getting enough sleep can impair your ability to do well, regardless of how much you studied or prepared. So, make sure to get a full night of rest before a big exam.
- Art of napping. If you have the time, a short nap can do wonders for your energy and concentration levels. Just make sure not to nap too close to bedtime or for too long (typically no longer than 45 minutes).
Exercise & Nutrition
Fitting movement and healthy options into your busy schedule isn't always the easiest thing to do. Follow these tips to help keep your body fueled and moving.
- Stretch first. Help yourself avoid injuries by stretching before and after you exercise. Simple stretching is also a good source of movement to help keep you active and pain-free.
- Get 30 minutes of movement each day. You don't have to join a sport or a gym to be physically active each day. Take advantage of open spaces inside and outside of your MCC campus. Try going for a walk, riding a bike, yoga or a fun game with a friend. Moving the body helps with many health concerns but also reduces stress and anxiety.
- Incorporate different kinds of exercise into your routine. When you do actively workout, don't just stick to one kind of workout. Incorporate strength training, cardio, and stretching exercises to make your routine more well-rounded.
- Make it fun. Bring a friend because you are more motivated and it makes working out more fun. Getting in movement should not feel like torture.
- Learn proper portion size. To avoid eating too much of even the healthiest foods, keep track of how much you are eating. Try visiting: myplate.gov to learn more!
- Don't skip meals. As college students your schedule can be very busy. It is important to make sure to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Meal prep or plan out foods that you can grab/eat on the go when needed.
- Don't fight stress with eating. It can be tempting to reach for a bag of chips or cookies when you're stressed about school, work or life. Keep healthier snacks around when you cannot fight the urge. In the end, eating does not make the stress go away - try taking a break instead.
- Drink water. Drinking enough water can help boost your concentration as well as keep you from overeating. Make sure to keep hydrated and make it a habit to carry a water bottle with you.
- Limit junk food. Junk food is fast and easy. Many college students end up eating a lot of it because they're on the run to class or to work. While a little fast food now and then won't hurt you, it is important to make sure it doesn't become a habit.
- Get help for eating disorders. Many college students struggle with negative body image and eating disorders. If you are worried you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, don't be afraid to reach out to someone you trust or the MCC Advocacy Counselors.
Here are a few other tips to keep you happy and healthy along your journey through college.
- Always make sure to wash your hands. Washing your hands can help prevent a large number of illnesses. If you are sick, do not go to class! Email your instructors that you are ill and stay home.
- Be responsible of your sexual health. Make sure to explore safely. Remember to get tested regularly and always use protection. Remember to always get consent from your partner each and every time you engage in sexual activity.
- Don't drink and drive. If you drink, make sure you do not get behind the wheel. Order an Uber/Lyft or have a sober friend drive you home instead.
- Assert yourself. Don't let anyone make health or wellness decisions for you that you feel uncomfortable with. If you don't want to eat that donut or have that drink, then don't. Welcome to college: You are in charge now!
- Get help. If you're feeling overwhelmed, reach out and ask for help from friends or MCC faculty and staff.
- Take advantage of MCC resources. MCC has many resources available completely free for currently enrolled students. A few examples include: Student Wellness, Advocacy Counselors, Disability Support Services, Learning & Tutoring Centers, and Veteran Services.