College is an exhilarating time, during which young men will develop their sense of self through education and expanding social networks. However, many men are feeling overwhelmed under the surface; up to 7 in 10, according to Psychology Today. Rather than simply going with the flow, taking steps to secure your mental and physical health throughout college will improve your lifestyle, your learning, and, ultimately, your happiness.
Managing your stress
Stress is part and parcel of college life. Education is tough, and exams can become a difficult hurdle. Forming and breaking new friendships can also have an emotional strain. Money, too, can cause stress, with Ohio State University finding that 70% of students are stressed about finances. The best way to manage this stress is to make yourself aware of it and mitigate early on. Study regularly for exams, and identify your weaknesses; practice resilience when forming new bonds. When it comes to money, be diligent with recording your spending, and always look to make savings; private student loans provide options for further learning, and provide respite while you develop.
Looking after your body
College is, at certain times, suited to excess. After a hard exam, or when meeting new friends, it can be helpful to blow off some steam with alcohol, food, and partying. When done in moderation, this can be the perfect tonic to feeling stressed. When taken too far, it can be problematic; one study, reported by the WaPo, found that almost 50% of college students report binge drinking, with multiple effects. This includes almost half a million students injuring themselves every year.
Like many things in life, the key is finding a balancing act. Alcohol is a great way to relax but it can have long term health effects. Drink in moderation, and remember to rehydrate the next day. Your brain, your body, and your future self will thank you. You will stay healthier than if you drank too much, and you’ll preserve some cognitive ability.
Get your sleep
Over-studying or drinking too much too regularly can impact on sleep. According to Reuters, this could have the biggest impact of all on your well-being. One study found that students who had slept poorly received a 0.02 point drop in their GPA – higher than those who were under the influence of, or coming down from, drugs and alcohol. Being rested boosts mood, stamina, and cognitive ability, essentially influencing your all round ability to work properly. If nothing else, ensure that you get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep every night without fail. With this as your starting point, most other factors will start to fall into line. Check out our SleepAdvisor’s student sleep guide.
College is about learning – both academically and about yourself. Don’t restrict yourself in either direction, and make an effort to create networks and have fun. As with all things, the most important thing is to be balanced. Do everything in moderation, live the student lifestyle in a considered manner, and you’ll emerge from higher education with a qualification, good well-being, and a strong sense of self.