Going to college or university is one of the most exciting life events we experience, but it can also be one of the most daunting. This is a period of upheaval and change, which often triggers a mixture of emotions. If you’re preparing to start a new course or move to a different town or city, here’s a handy guide to managing mental health.
Make your new base feel like home
One of the best ways to settle into a new area and adjust to a different routine and environment is to make your new base feel like home. Whether you’re living in student accommodation or you’re renting a flat or a house, try to be proactive in creating a homely, welcoming feel. Decorate your bedroom and turn it into a sanctuary that makes you feel relaxed and calm. Put photographs up on the walls, use soft furnishings to add a cosy feel and choose colours that you love. Create a space that celebrates your style and personality and makes you feel safe and comfortable.
Making friends is one of the biggest challenges for students. Some people are naturally very sociable and they’ll start conversations and build relationships without even thinking about it, but for others, creating bonds is more difficult. Try to socialise and meet people through activities, lectures, classes and group sessions and societies and clubs. Use your hobbies and interests to find people with shared passions and don’t panic if you don’t click with the people in your flat or on your course immediately. Keep putting yourself out there and you’ll find your crowd. It’s important to be yourself and to find friends who make you feel confident and valued. You shouldn’t feel like you have to change or put on an act.
Look after yourself
Going to university is synonymous with partying, staying up late and embracing the experience of living in student halls. It’s fun to go out and enjoy a few drinks with new friends, but try to look after yourself as best you can. Get enough sleep, stay hydrated, keep an eye on how much you drink and try to follow a healthy diet. Exercise daily, spend time outdoors, hang out with friends and keep in touch with family members.
Don’t be afraid to talk
It can be incredibly stressful to start a new life at university, especially if you’ve never been away from home before, or you find it hard to make friends. If you’re struggling with your mental health, or you feel anxious or low for a prolonged period, don’t be afraid to talk. Open up to friends you trust or relatives, speak to your GP, or research resources you can access through your college or university. It may also be helpful to speak to others who are in the same boat via online communities and social media groups. There are also free helplines you can call such as Samaritans 116 123 (UK).
Going to college or university is an adventure, but it can also be an upheaval. It’s crucial to look after yourself and manage your mental health. Socialise and make friends, create a happy, calming home environment and take care of your body and mind. Talk to people and seek advice if you are finding life tough.
This article was written by a freelance writer.