How to Cope with Depression as a College Student
College is stressful enough. Throw depression in and that’s one chaotic college life.
Without help and proper guidance, college students suffering from depression may find it difficult to cope with college life and demands. Studies and relationships may suffer and the feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness may get worse.
Coping with Depression and College
It may seem challenging to manage both, but it’s very doable. The following are examples of coping strategies that can incrementally help build your overall sense of well being:
Depression is more than just an occasional feeling of sadness or loneliness. It’s a chronic mental health problem and it’s impossible to navigate through it on your own.
A licensed health professional can provide support and help you in easing some of its symptoms.
Psychotherapy is a good form of therapy that can help reduce depression symptoms and prevent future episodes of it. A licensed psychotherapist can help process and reframe the thoughts you have.
If you’re worried about the cost, many college campuses have counseling services that are available for students for little to no cost at all.
Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment. It may sound so simple, but it can take a while to get to the hang of it.
Meditation and yoga classes provide great opportunities for mindfulness. There are free and paid apps for both if you want to practice it on your own and anywhere you want.
Several studies have shown how exercise can benefit us in a multitude of ways – from keeping us physically healthy to reducing our stress, depression, and anxiety.
You may find it difficult to find the motivation to exercise, especially with depression but know you can always start small. If going to a gym feels so intimidating, start by doing 10-minute walks a day. Then, gradually increase the duration and eventually, the intensity.
Once your body gets used to it, you may find it easier to engage in other forms of exercise. If going to the gym still feels too much, there are a ton of exercises out there you can basically do anywhere. There are even those you can do in less than 30 minutes with very minimal to no equipment at all (look up bodyweight HIIT).
Find ways to strengthen your social connections
Dealing with depression in isolation is never a good thing. Meeting new people in a new town or city may seem overwhelming at first, but putting in the effort and time will be worth it especially for mental health.
As a college student, you can strengthen your social connections by putting together or joining study groups, joining a college club or intramural sports, and/or joining a campus organization that promotes community service.
And know that being away doesn’t mean cutting ties from your friends that you know too well back home. Stay connected by scheduling regular phone calls or better yet, video calls. Having these connections can be very uplifting especially when you’re starting to feel depressed.
Improve your sleep habits
Studies have shown that college students are not getting enough sleep. This lack of sleep is attributed to stress and difficulty juggling the time to focus on studies and be part of social activities. However, if you have mental health struggles, this should be your priority. If you need to say no to certain commitments, then do so. Your mental health is more important than being in every party you’re invited in.
Steer away from drug and alcohol use
Alcohol and drug use often go hand-in-hand especially for college students with depression.
Many usually resort to drinking to get their mind off some things, feel relaxed, have fun, and forget their troubles. What many aren’t aware of is that alcohol can actually worsen the symptoms of depression.
Constant use of alcohol and drugs can lead to dependency and eventually, to addiction. If you’re struggling to quit these habits, there are support or crisis numbers you can call and ask for help.
Dealing with depression while in college may feel like an insurmountable feat, but with professional help and healthy habits, it is possible to manage both successfully.
If you’re looking for alternatives to antidepressants, NeurOasis TMS can help. We specialize in TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) therapy. It’s FDA-approved, non-invasive, and has been shown to be effective for individuals with depression.
For questions, you may request a no-obligation consultation with us by calling (520) 338-2557.