This week’s “Wellness on a College Budget” is all about mental and emotional wellness. Unlike physical health (covered in last week’s post), mental health is a topic that has only recently gained recognition and traction as a significant, real aspect of wellness. Nowhere is this more needed than on college campuses. In a recent study, 50% of college students reported their mental health to be below average or poor. Even more disturbing is that 40% fail to seek help.
For many students, college is the first taste of independence and the first time dealing with pressure and stress in a brand new environment. While therapy is an incredible resource, it can also be inaccessibly expensive to many. Not only that, but finances can place a huge stressor on mental health. Here are 4 tips for mental wellness on a budget.
1. Utilize whatever resources are available at your school
It has become increasingly common for universities across the United States to offer free psychiatric counseling for their students. Often, these services have long waiting lists, but it’s a place to start and an action that can be taken. More than that, some universities have developed other peer resources, like Wildchat at Northwestern University, a phone peer listening service open to all students. Be sure you know what your school has to offer.
2. Check out some of these therapy apps
Full disclosure: an app cannot fully replace traditional therapy. But it can be a helpful tool in the meantime. From apps that help with mindfulness and meditation to those that allow you to chat online with licensed therapists, technology is changing the game of self-care, and at prices that are way more manageable. Here’s a list of 25 therapist-recommended apps.
3. Talk it out
Sometimes, relieving stress or anxiety can be as simple as being heard. Your friends aren’t therapist, but they are your peers. More often then not, they can empathize with what you’re going through. Grab a friend, some tea, and snuggle on a couch together and just let it out. It might not fix anything, but it can help you to feel not so alone.
4. Take a social media detox
New studies have discovered that social media use has been linked to depression, anxiety, and poor sleep quality, especially among teens and young adults. For sure, sometimes a good Tik Tok video is exactly what you need for a good laugh on a stressful day. But be mindful of how much time you’re spending glued to Instagram or Snapchat. Limiting your intake just might help you feel better.
A note: if you are ever feeling overwhelmed or having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
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