College is a stressful time for anyone, but it can be especially so for freshmen, who are experiencing living away from home for the first time. The stresses of college and heightened expectations can all contribute to deteriorating mental health among college students. Living with your parents up to this point has made it a little bit easier for you to take care of your health, both mental and physical. But now that you’re going to college, probably away from your family, you’ll need to take care of yourself and prioritize your mental health for yourself.
Set up treatment at the beginning of the semester
Don’t wait for the pressures of school to get bad enough to necessitate a visit to a therapist or a refill on a prescription. As soon as you know where you’ll be going to school and where you’ll be living, start looking for a new therapist in your new area. Having this support system in place already when you move will help you make better decisions all semester long, as well as keep you healthier.
Make sure you understand your insurance benefits
Almost all college students are on a pretty strict budget, and mental health care is one of the first areas to suffer when you are struggling financially. It’s hard to justify therapy and medication when you’re struggling to buy macaroni or ramen for dinner. Before you move out, make sure you understand your insurance benefits. With a bit of searching and research, you should be able to find someone within your network. Make sure you know how many monthly sessions your insurance will cover, as well as prescription medication if applicable.
When most people think of traditional self-care, they think of the self-care that is trendy. Bath bombs, eating indulgent food, and long daily naps. All of these things can be important parts of self care, but don’t limit yourself to these things, and take the time to figure out what is helpful for you individually. Does taking a daily walk help you? What about setting aside time every week to make it to the gym, or making sure that you are getting enough fresh produce in your diet? Self-care is being gentle with yourself, but it’s also making sure that your basic physical and mental health needs are being met.