Most colleges are starting to realize the importance of wellness and recognize the need to expand the traditional mental health and counseling services to include wellness as a prevention strategy.
- Define what well-being looks like
Well-being is defined as feeling good and having a positive outlook on things. Reflect on your everyday strategies that you already find are most effective in coping with daily life. Identify the areas that you see are the biggest struggles. Some people may be grumpy and anxious if they have not done any form of physical exercise, so their well-being would involve daily physical activity.
- Set strategies
If sleep habits are a problem for you, try some recommended strategies to improve sleep habits like having consistent bedtimes and getting up or limiting your electronic use before bed. If you feel socially isolated, try finding opportunities to strengthen disconnectedness like joining a new group or volunteer.
- Identify college resources
When your plan is in place, search for resources at your college that will help you execute it. Make a list of clubs and organizations that interests you, and stay open to trying new things. Check out their social media accounts to see which ones are most interesting to you and line up with your wellness priorities. Look for resources that help with relieving stress or practicing new relaxation techniques. Some colleges and universities have dedicated web resources on tips for stress management. Prioritize your options that help build a strong social network and eliminate options that may challenge your ability to maintain your plan.
Set a monthly reminder to check on how your wellness plan is going. Decide if you need to tweak things. For example, weight gain can be an issue in college due to the “all-you-can-eat” meal access and unhealthy food choices. If this is a challenge for you, try modifying your wellness plan to incorporate healthy eating guidelines.
- Make a backup plan
Make a plan to connect with others when things are not working as planned. Even though college is a time for independence, there may be times where help is needed. Find close friends or relatives to serve as your trusted person you can reach out to. Stay open to the possibility that sometimes professional support is needed.
How to avoid burnout
- Start with why
The most effective way to prevent burnout is by making sure you know why you’re in college. Build your motivation by identifying skills that you need to develop and the experiences you are wanting to have while you are attending college.
- Work a little every day
High-impact learning will require time and effort investments and deliberate practice and self-regulation. The majority of new college students spend less than 10 hours a week studying in high school and have to learn to put in more sustained effort. College students who highlight or underlining notes, reading material over and over, and summarizing class content are the least effective study practices. Take advantage of more effective learning strategies, like spreading your study time out over several days rather than cramming, or use flashcards and practice tests rather than reading and rereading the same information.
- Visualize your work and progress
Use a syllabus and other resources to get the full picture of projects and their deadlines, use to-do lists, calendars and apps to remind you of your work that needs to be accomplished, and celebrate little victories along the way.
- Take regular breaks
Burnout is related to stress, so it is important to manage your stress. Exercise, proper nutrition, social interaction, and quality sleep are part of having a productive coping strategy. Breaks can also help restore your focus on overreaching goals, increasing creativity, and improve memory formation.
- Keep the end game in mind
Some parts of college are stressful and difficult. Graduation from college can be economically beneficial. The knowledge and skills you gain while in college have a wide range of benefits in work that you do in your personal life, like living longer, making more money, and passing those benefits off to your children.