Apart from the wonderful and exciting experiences students get from going to college, it can also be a time of confusion, fear, and loneliness. College can be a weird transition for some that can result in sadness and serious depression. As a college student, you suddenly are detached from your family, may struggle finding new friends, and possibly lose site of your own identity. With heartbreak, rejection, and bad mistakes, some college experiences can affect students in a negative way. College is not all unicorns and sunshine – Perhaps that’s why most come out stronger than when they began their Freshman year. As someone who struggled with sadness the first few years of college, here are tips on how to avoid becoming depressed.
1. Stay Busy
Steering your thoughts away from negativity is key. Keep your mind occupied by going to every class, meeting with study groups, and focusing on academics. Sadness may cause lack of energy, which can result in even more sadness. Force yourself to get out and do things. Meet a friend for coffee, go to the grocery store and cook a great meal, or check out the local famers market. Instead of becoming a hermit, get outside for a walk or relaxing bike ride and allow time to collect your thoughts, analyze your emotions, and create an exit plan. Even if you are alone, keeping yourself busy with little activities will generate more brain activity and help you begin to appreciate and enjoy the little things that surround you.
Instead of lying in bed all day, focus your energy on getting fit. Exercising releases endorphins that make you feel happy and energized. You will begin to feel better about yourself and think more positively about the happenings in your life. Even if it’s a stroll around the block, get moving to get your blood pumping, enjoy the sunshine, and feel good to be alive. Meet new people at the gym, discover new, beautiful running trails, or make a playlist full of songs that get you pumped and excited. Exercise is truly the best medicine.
3. Seek Help
Even when hitting a very low point in your life, you are never truly alone. Tell a friend, your roommate, or your parents how you are feeling. Sometimes just expressing your emotions can heal many wounds. As a student you are provided with free counseling on campus. Take advantage of these services and talk to a trained professional. Be proactive about your sadness – Be vocal and willing to turn things around before you’re in too deep.
4. Stop Drinking
Partying may seem tempting for the fun and social aspect, but drinking significantly depletes serotonin levels. Loss of serotonin leads to anxiety, sadness, lack of sleep, and lack of energy. Don’t get caught up in the vicious cycle that alcohol can drag you into. I’m not saying stop drinking for good, but only for a temporary time in order to get you back on your feet. Find other fun activities to do with friends, such as going to movies, museums, or sporting events. Avoid everything and anything that can cause even more negativity in your life.
5. Tell Yourself It’s Temporary
Even when I’ve been completely lost and overwhelmed with sadness, the one thing that keeps my chin up is to realize that no feeling is permanent. As human beings, we swing from emotion to emotion to emotion. We are never scared, happy, or sad forever. Believe me, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the rough times will pass.
If you like this post, check out 7 Ways to Avoid Being Homesick in College