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College can be overwhelming and stressful. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month (May), here are some tips to de-stress and boost your mental health.

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1. Get active.

Did you know exercise helps decrease depression and anxiety and improves your moods?
A simple 30 minutes of exercise releases endorphins (your body’s natural mood enhancers) which can do wonders for you both mentally and physically. So, take a break during your day to go to a yoga class, jog, hit the gym, or even go for a walk. When your body feels good, so does your mind.

2. Try to eat healthy and drink plenty of water.

It can be tempting to binge on junk food, especially if you are stressed. However, if you aren’t eating right, you’ll feel it physically and mentally. Choose a wide variety of healthy, nutritious foods that’s rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and make sure you are eating enough to perform at your best.
Also, try to keep alcohol use to a minimum. While having a few beers after a long day might sound like a great way to unwind, you might be doing more harm to yourself if done too much or too often.

3. Get enough sleep.

Getting sleep in an important part of staying healthy. A lack of sleep can reduce your ability to concentrate, make you cranky, and even put you at risk for serious illnesses like depression.
While the amount of sleep each person needs varies, most adults need about 7-9 hours to be fully rested. This certainly may not be possible every night, but you should try to get a full night’s sleep whenever possible.

4. Set realistic goals and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Yes, you should always aim high! But you should also know your limits. Set goals that are specific, achievable, and measurable.
When you start cross things off your list of goals, you’ll feel like you are moving forward which, in turn, will make you feel less anxious and stressed.

5. Don’t overload yourself.

With school, work, social and personal obligations, it’s easy to take on more than you can handle. However if you do this, you’re more likely to get overwhelmed and less likely to do your best at everything. Take the time to prioritize what’s important and figure out what you can realistically fit in your schedule.

6. Laugh.

You know the saying “Laughter is the best medicine”? Well, it’s certainly true, especially when it comes to anxiety and stress. Hang out with friends, watch a comedy, or find cute videos on YouTube. Laughter can help reduce anxiety.

7. Get help when you need it.

If you are overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or depressed, don’t hold it in. Talk to your friends, parents, family, or teachers. While school is important, your health (both physical and mental) is much more important than your grades.

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