According to several news outlets and mental health observers, last year’s back-to-college was among the most stressful in history for students. The COVID-19 epidemic was still in full swing, leaving students to worry about their physical health and tenuously navigate an entrance back into the social life of the college.
Now, it’s 2021. The pandemic may have largely subsided (variants of concern aside), but back-to-college stress remains. How do you take care of your mental health as you make the uneasy transition back into a demanding academic workload?
To start, consider the most common sources of stress for college students: deadlines, lack of control, diet, and exercise. (For some college students, money is a significant source of stress; but for most, that stressor appears later in life). With those stressors in mind, let’s discuss how to keep a cool head as you re-enter the classroom this fall.
How Do You Manage It All When It Feels Like You’re Spinning Plates?
The short answer: if you want to kick the stress of impending deadlines, get prepared with a time management app. Any app will do. Top Universities published a handy list of the best time management apps for students, which is an excellent place to start.
Get Back In The Groove With Functional Mushrooms
No, not that type of mushroom. Functional mushrooms are a widely recognized class of fungi that aid in overall health and wellbeing. Take them like any other supplement, either by stirring them into some hot water or mixing them in with your favorite smoothie.
In particular, two functional mushrooms should help ease the transition back to school. First, lion’s mane mushroom powder may help you focus – studies show that it may promote optimal cognitive performance. Secondly, consider trying reishi mushrooms, which many people use to help their body adapt to stress.
Try “Mindful Running”
Mindful exercise is a popular concept nowadays. Combining the anti-stress benefits of exercise – boosted endorphins, lowered adrenaline – with the calming effects of mindfulness, this new type of running can offer double-barrelled protection against tension.
Mindful running involves paying attention to your breath and physicality as you run. According to practitioners, it helps you stay grounded at the moment as you put your body through an intense period of physical activity. Check out this article from a prominent psychology magazine, which has valuable information on how to start running mindfully.
Check If Your Institution Offers A “Wellbeing Program”
Lastly, check to see if your college or university offers a wellness program. These programs have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years at post-secondary institutions (partly in response to the pandemic). The courses help students navigate post-secondary life by teaching a range of self-care exercises. If your college doesn’t have a dedicated program, chances are they have people you can speak to if you’re stressed.
As you re-enter the hallowed halls of your college or university, take care of yourself this year. Run mindfully, try a relaxing lion’s mane tea, manage your time and be proactive about your mental health.