Depression Prevention for College Students
College is a transition period. Students go from living at home under their parents’ rules to semi-independence in dorm rooms and campus apartments. Balancing social and academic needs can be overwhelming. Decrease your chances of becoming depressed by taking care of your body and staying connected to loved ones.
Pay attention to your mood changes. Note your physical and emotional response to stress. Acknowledge your feelings. This can be achieved through activities such as journal writing or meditation. Talk to trusted friends and family members about your feelings.
Being Proactive about Problems
Actively address problems. From little things, such as your roommate eating your last candy bar, to larger issues, such as possibly failing a class, problems that are allowed to fester have a tendency to get bigger. Address problems as calmly and quickly as possible. For larger, more complicated issues, write out a plan complete with goals and objectives to address them.
Stay in touch with friends and family. Make a point to communicate regularly with people you trust. Strike an appropriate balance between school work and your social life. Too much of either one could lead down the road of depression. Know what campus resources are available to you. Many colleges and universities offer counseling services. If you do feel the need to talk to a professional, reach out to someone who can help.
Pizza and donuts are staples of the college diet. Between late-night parties, long study sessions and group meetings, fatty finger food is often readily available to college students. Make a point to eat a more balanced diet that contains fruits and vegetables, and stay properly hydrated. Nutrition plays a role in mental health. The National Institutes of Health lists depression as one symptom of vitamin B6 deficiency.
Friends, parties, romantic partners and study sessions make it difficult to consistently get a full night of restful sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, too little sleep negatively affects mental and physical performance. A lack of sleep can contribute to substandard academic work and inability to concentrate, which could cause undue stress. Conversely, a full night’s rest–eight to 10 hours–enhances your immune system.