5 Ways to Support Your Mental Health During Your First Year of College

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Managing your mental health is crucial to surviving the first year of college. These five tips can help.


Your first year of college will be one of the most exciting years of your life—but it can also be one of your most stressful. You're going to learn a lot and your limits will get tested like never been before. That’s why taking care of your mental health is so essential. Here are five tips that will help you survive your freshman year.


Remember There are Only 24 Hours in a Day

When you're choosing classes, clubs, and university activities, it’s often like looking at the menu at your favorite restaurant: You want it all. But unless you’ve got Hermione Granger’s Time-Turner in your backpack, you’re going to have to limit yourself to just the ones that you’ll be able to keep up with throughout the entire semester. Think of it this way: You want to get the most out of your experience while also doing your best. That means choosing the classes or activities that are most important to you, so you can give them your full attention.


Prioritize Self-Care

As you’re adjusting to your new workload, self-care is especially crucial for your health. That could mean trying a new hobby, binging your favorite show, putting on a face mask, or reading a great book. Ask yourself: What do I need to do to recharge? Then carve out time in your schedule and make it happen. (Psst, this habit will still be important even when your first year of college is over!)


Get Your 8 Hours

All-nighters are bound to happen during your college career, but they won't help your mental health and they won't contribute to your best work. (Not to mention that while Grumpy Cat may have been cute, your friends probably won’t love the irritable, sleep-deprived version of you.) So do your best to get a good night’s rest as often as possible. That way, you’ll be able to focus in class—and most importantly, you’ll feel like your best self.


Treat Your Body Well

Yes, potato chips are delicious, but eating healthy foods makes your body feel good and gives you the energy you need for a study session. Veggies, fruit, and eggs are all great to give your brain a boost. Look for recipes for easy, healthy meals you can whip up in your dorm or apartment, and pack nutritious snacks in your lunch box when you’re out and about.


And don’t forget about exercising! Staying active will help you burn off stress as you manage your workload and school activities. There’s nothing like a little sweat session for a quick mental health boost.


It's Okay if You're Not Okay

You can be doing everything right—eating well, exercising, taking time for yourself, getting lots of sleep—but there will still be times when you don't feel like yourself, and that's completely okay. We all have our days. When you’re struggling, reach out to a family member or friend to talk about what you’re feeling. You don’t have to go through it alone.


JanSport is on a mental health mission with its #LightentheLoad initiative. Learn more here .


By: Mandy Carr