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Mental Health + Self – Care for College Students

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By Anna Spoelhof, FNP

Laurie Birkholz, MD, and Associates 

Hello! It’s Nurse Practitioner Anna here to discuss a very relevant topic: mental health among college students.

It’s well studied that college students are particularly prone to feelings of loneliness and experience higher rates of anxiety and depression compared to the general population. During this period of social isolation, uncertainty and abrupt transitions, students are likely to exhibit worsening of such feelings. With remote learning and the removal of extracurricular activities at school, students may feel less connected with their friends, organizations and hobbies. In addition, students are facing uncertainty about their future, their own health and the health of their friends and loved ones. The current situation is stressful and anxiety-provoking, as there is a constant fear of the unknown, making students especially vulnerable to develop mental health concerns.

If you are a student, please know that it’s 100% okay to experience feelings of sadness, anger, frustration or anxiety. This is normal. If these feelings worsen, or you are no longer able to function as your normal self, please reach out to your campus resources or schedule an appointment here at LBMD & Associates. Dr. B and I are here to listen to your concerns, worries and fears. Living amidst a global pandemic is so tough, but I promise we will get through these times stronger and together.

Self-care is important during these uncertain times. Here are some tips to help: 

Know that it is okay to feel how you are feeling.

It’s normal during this crazy time to experience feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, anxiety or all of the above. You are allowed to feel this way and to communicate with others how you are feeling.

Maintain a routine.

Start your day at about the same time each day. Set a goal for coursework to be completed for each morning and afternoon. Maintain adequate nutrition by eating three healthy meals per day; now is a great time to try new recipes! Try to get in at least one physical activity daily. Exercise is fantastic for your mental health, so get some fresh air… go on a walk, run, or bike ride.

Practice good sleep habits.

Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. The goal should be 7-9 hours per night. Limit screen time in the evening, and avoid caffeine starting in the afternoon.

Connect with others.

It is easy to quickly feel lonely and secluded from others during remote learning. Make an effort to stay socially connected by engaging in regular video or phone calls with friends and family. Reach out to professors and engage as you would with face-to-face class.

Take a break.

Take time for yourself each day. Step away from the news and from your coursework to do something you enjoy and that you find relaxing or rejuvenating!

Again, feel free to reach out at any time. We are here to help. Be well, friends. 

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