How to Stay Mentally Tough in College


College is a time when we, unfortunately, have to deal with the everyday problems that come with adolescence while we are still expected to manage our responsibilities. Many college students tend not to speak out when the weight of those struggles becomes too high and instead of seeking help, they tend to shut down completely. Here are some tips to stay mentally strong despite what you may be going through:

Take a break.

Contrary to popular belief, you are in complete control of when you take breaks if it's for the improvement of your mental health. You won’t be able to handle your responsibilities to the best of your ability (or at all) if you’re extremely stressed. Set aside time to do something you really enjoy or to decompress with friends.

Pay attention to how much you eat and sleep.

If you have a lot on your plate, don’t stay up all night trying to tackle everything at once. Prioritize what tasks need to be completed first and make a to-do list with those tasks, followed by your other responsibilities in order of greatest to least importance. Pulling an all-nighter or sleeping all day will do you more harm than good (The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for 18-25-year-olds). You also may be tempted to skip meals or indulge in comfort foods but that is also another quick way to feel even worse. Remind yourself to eat full meals and stick with energizing foods such as leafy greens, oatmeal, avocado, pistachios, or dark chocolate.

Seek help.

Many college students struggle to talk about their problems, but talking regularly with a friend or therapist on campus will keep you from bottling up your emotions. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone, try journaling. Writing your thoughts and feelings down can help you begin to understand them and identify triggers. Contribute to our Sweat Diaries section to connect with other students too.

We get caught up in the day to day motions of our responsibilities that we don’t know when to stop and recharge. The next time you feel stressed, remember to slow down, regain your balance, and then get back to your grind.

Kési Felton is a sophomore at Howard University in Washington, DC majoring in Journalism. Having attended writing and photojournalism summer camps, and growing up around Atlanta's CNN Center she discovered her love for journalistic writing. She enjoys writing in general as a way to share her life story and connect with others on a larger platform. Her other hobbies and passions include blogging, listening to music, and finding new ways to live a healthier and more mindful life.