As a person who struggles with anxiety and depression, I’m always trying to find ways to prioritize my mental health. Being a student can make that seem pretty difficult. After all, even if I’m feeling depressed, I still have to finish that final paper. Even if I’m anxious, I still need to attend my classes.

So, how can we prioritize our mental health as students? I’ve compiled a list of things you can do when your mental health might not be in the best place. 

  1. Do some physical exercise. Exercise is proven to relieve stress and anxiety. It’s also a nice distraction and can get your brain working. Take a break from your assignments and go for a walk. When you come back to it, you might feel more focused. If you don’t have a lot of time, don’t worry. Even just 10 minutes of any exercise can relieve anxiety.
  2. Take a break from your homework and do something you enjoy, whether it’s drawing, reading, or even just watching TV. Pushing through an assignment when you’re miserable is only going to worsen your mental state.
  3. Do some self-care. Put on a face mask, take a warm bath, eat some chocolate, and spoil yourself. Maybe buy yourself something because you deserve it. I find that rewarding when I get through a tough day, and it really helps me feel better! 
  4. Don’t push yourself. If you’re not feeling mentally up to going to that party, don’t go. If you don’t think you can finish the assignment you’re working on, stop working on it and finish it later.
  5. Get lots of sleep. It’s hard to get a lot of sleep as a college student, so my suggestion is to go to bed early and wake up early to do homework. This way, you’re getting enough sleep while still being able to get your assignments done. Sleep loss can lead to a lot of health problems, such as depression. 
  6. Take a social media break. Sometimes social media worsens our mental state because people only post the good parts of their lives, and it causes us to compare our lives to theirs. I like to stay off of my phone completely when I’m feeling depressed. I usually take a nap instead.
  7. Talk to someone you trust. This could be a friend, a family member, or a trusted adult. Just anyone. Talking about your worries with someone might make you feel better. I go to my family members with all of my worries, and I personally feel much better after telling them everything I’m stressed or upset about.

I hope at least some of these methods help you prioritize your mental health because all of that is way easier said than done. I’ve tested all of these methods and they’ve worked for me, but remember that we’re all different people so there’s no guarantee that every one of these methods will work for you too.

The most important thing that you can do is listen to yourself, acknowledge when you’re going through a mental health slump, and take the time to prioritize yourself. It isn’t always possible, but trying goes a long way.

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