Keeping Well in College

Credit: MICHAEL BRYANT/The Philadelphia Inquirer
College students have it rough right now, to say the least.

I am so very, very thankful I am not a student anymore. School is stressful, time-consuming, and expensive, to list a few of the common gripes, and stacking a big fat pandemic on top of all of that is not doing the world’s young adults any favors. Many students have been forced to stay home and take classes online, while some have been forced to lose college credits entirely due to outside circumstances. There’s probably more than a few popping blood vessels out there right now. If you live with a college student, either as a family member or a friend, the two of you need to work to make sure they don’t lose their heads.

Before anything, take a deep breath and identify any stress-induced problems. Are they sleeping in later? Has their general health declined? Do they have no motivation? The first step to solving a problem is identifying it. Once you’ve got the problem in your sights, then you can go to work piecing together a solution.

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One handy thing about being a college student is that many colleges offer mental health resources. There are usually several counselors, or even therapists, on staff to field concerns and offer some practical advice; though you likely can’t see them in person right now, they should still be available for a phone call or video chat. Those same counselors can also connect you with like-minded individuals sharing the same concerns and problems. Having someone in a similar situation to talk to can be very beneficial for one’s mood, and if you have practical problems, you can combine resources to work on solving them.

Once you’ve got a wellness plan together, make sure you stick to it. Wellness plans can feel like a slog at times, but if it’s in the name of your good mental health, it’s worth sticking with. The best advice I can offer is that if you have a practical problem with a solution that’s currently out of reach, then there’s no point in getting hung up over it. You’ll be able to get back on track once the world stabilizes. Until then, prioritize your emotional health.