Mental Health in College

While college is some of the best four years of people’s lives, it can also be one of the most stressful periods as well. Before you enter college, I want to share a few tips on how you can maintain and improve your mental health as you take on challenging courses and delve into new hobbies, organizations, and interests around campus.

1. Eat nutritious meals

Eating healthy is a lot easier said than done. Freshman year, food is readily accessible so try to make conscious choices about the food you eat each meal. The foods we eat heavily influence the way our brain activates, so it is important to intake good nutrients and calories so that you don’t run out of fuel as you stay busy during college.

Students take food from buffet-style counter at Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall's dining hall.
Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall Dining Hall

2. Exercise Regularly

Exercising regularly is something I highly encourage. Taking the time to go the gym gives you some time to destress and avoid thinking about a stressful assignment, a difficult project, or other stressors in your life. Our campus offers two terrific recreation facilities: Campus Recreation Center East (CRCE) and the Activities Recreation Center (ARC). These facilities offer pool time, open courts, fitness classes, and gym and track equipment. Times are also very flexible—6a.m.–midnight Monday through Thursday and open until 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday—so you can fit in some time to get that workout in.

ARC outdoor pool at night
Activities Recreation Center (ARC)

3. Sleep Adequately

Getting enough sleep is important so that you can rest your brain and be prepared to go into class the next day, ready to learn and take notes. Recently, I’ve noticed that scheduling my day via Google Calendar has helped me complete the tasks I have to do during a day and then I find myself with some time to spare, allowing me to sleep early and get a good night’s rest.

College is a challenging four years. Treat yourself with respect and kindness. Make time for your hobbies and interests to take a break from all things school-related. Maintaining a good and balanced mental health is critical to your success in college. If you ever have questions or concerns, Illinois offers counseling services for students to talk out their issues in a helpful and caring way.



Class of 2020
I'm majoring in Psychology, minoring in Spanish, and pursuing a pre-dental track. It seems like I’m all over the place, but that’s what I like about college! I get to choose to study what I’m interested in, and I’m happy to be doing just that at Illinois.

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