Starting college can be an exciting yet challenging time for many students, and taking care of your mental health is crucial during this transitional period.

Here are 10 activities that can help you improve your mental health during your first year of college:

  1. Stay Connected: Building and maintaining relationships with friends and family members can provide a strong support network. Regularly connecting with loved ones, whether through calls, texts or video chats, can help combat feelings of isolation.
  2. Practice Mindfulness: Engage in mindfulness techniques such as meditation, deep breathing or yoga. These practices can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus and promote a sense of calm. Look for opportunities to learn some of these techniques through your campus health center.
  3. Physical Activity: Regular exercise has been shown to have numerous mental health benefits, including reducing stress and improving mood. Find a physical activity you enjoy, whether it’s jogging, dancing or going to the university recreation center.
  4. Healthy Eating: A balanced diet can positively impact your mental health. Avoid excessive caffeine and sugar, and prioritize nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats.
  5. Establish a Routine: Creating a daily routine can provide a sense of structure and stability. Having a consistent sleep schedule, mealtimes and study periods can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
  6. Join Clubs or Groups: Participating in clubs, organizations or interest groups on campus can help you make new friends and foster a sense of belonging. Engaging in shared activities can boost your mood and self-esteem. Set a goal to join at least one.
  7. Set Realistic Goals: Break down your academic and personal goals into smaller, achievable steps. Celebrating your accomplishments, no matter how small, can boost your confidence and motivation.
  8. Seek Help When Needed: Don’t hesitate to reach out for support if you’re struggling. Most colleges offer counseling services, and it’s important to take advantage of these resources if you’re experiencing stress, anxiety or other mental health challenges.
  9. Limit social media: While social media can help you stay connected, it can also contribute to feelings of inadequacy and comparison. Set boundaries on your social media usage to prevent negative impacts on your mental health.
  10. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that it’s okay to make mistakes or face challenges. Practice self-compassion by treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend.

Remember that everyone’s journey is unique, so it’s important to find the activities that work best for you and your individual needs. If you find that your mental health struggles persist or worsen, consider seeking professional help from your college’s health department or a local mental health provider.

About Austin Oaks Hospital

Austin Oaks Hospital is a mental health facility that offers comprehensive psychiatric services for adults 18 and older, and adolescents 12-17 years old. Located in Austin, Texas, we provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere for all of our patients.

Our programs provide a home-like environment that promotes crisis resolution, social skills, personal growth and positive self-awareness. Some of our services include our adult and adolescent programs. As well as our exclusively women program, which treats major depression, anxiety and obsessive disorders, PTSD and more.

To schedule a no-cost assessment or for more information, 512-798-4840.