In one word, college means change. With this change comes the entrance into an unknown and new chapter of life. This transition can unfortunately come with an inner burden. It is important that college students are aware of the symptoms of mental health illnesses and how to alleviate them to become better contributors inside and outside the classroom.
To be able to treat mental health issues, one must know what it is first. Based on Merriam Webster's Dictionary definition, mental health is “the condition of being sound mentally and emotionally that is characterized by the absence of mental illness and by adequate adjustment, especially as reflected in feeling comfortable about oneself, positive feelings about others, and the ability to meet the demands of daily life.” Types of mental illness include issues such as depression, anxiety, lack of self-worth, substance abuse, trauma, eating disorders, and many others. If you or a friend has experienced any of these issues along with the daily stress of college life, there are many options inside and outside of Cabrini’s campus to help.
Two possible options that I have found helpful are speaking with a psychologist and actively practicing self-care. Whether one is dealing with common issues such as test anxiety or homesickness, or more serious illnesses, seeing a psychologist is a very beneficial and healthy choice. The effects of psychology last and persist over a long period of time because you are subconsciously learning the healthy tools that will help you with future endeavors. Not to mention that repressing your thoughts and feelings can be harmful to yourself and others. These feelings do not go away, in fact, they grow worse and worse the more they are ignored. Seeing a psychologist or therapist becomes a great reminder that you are not alone and there is always room for improvement and change. Cabrini University offers a great program of psychological services with 15-minute walk-in visits or longer hour appointments to discuss and solve any negative issues affecting you. Maintaining a stable state of mental health in college not only helps with academics, but better prepares oneself for the unexpected events that the future may hold.
A lack of the basics of self-care can result in a lazy perspective and mental over-exhaustion. Acts of self-care are easy and a great way to recharge after a long day or week. They are small choices that add up to an overall improvement in one's life. As a college student, it is important to set time aside to be alone and regain one's balance. As a student who tries to set this precious time aside, I’ve learned that self-care comes in many forms. An easy self-care idea is to call or video chat with a close friend or family member. This is always something that has relaxed me and brought me joy after a difficult day. Another easy idea is simply choosing a healthier food option. Reaching for an apple over a piece of candy is a great motivator and energy booster. In my opinion, the easiest form of self-care by far is to just be selfish. Take a nap, a long shower, or listen to your favorite music. From personal experience, this has been the best way to relax my body and mind throughout my college experience. On the other hand, something not very easy but very effective is to unplug. Turn off all notifications and decrease your screen time. This not only helps with mental health, but could become an improvement towards one's grades. These things can all be done right on campus, but Cabrini does offer another important idea of self-care. The Dixon Center and Nerney Pavilion gym at Cabrini University is a great way to let off steam on the wide variety of machines and classes. Throughout the week, Cabrini offers group exercise classes such as yoga, pilates, Zumba, barre, and spinning. Exercises like these play a crucial role in one's overall wellness and energy.
Mental health is not something to be ignored, especially as a college student. A student must take care of their physical and mental state before tackling the demanding challenges of higher learning. It takes 21 days to develop a habit. Take time each day for 21 days to be alone and focus on how to become better balanced and motivated. Hopefully these tasks will encourage any students dealing with a mental stressor to take the first steps towards overall wellness.