By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

A new semester brings a new set of opportunities and challenges.  The spring semester also aligns with the winter weather, has fewer breaks, and stresses of graduations/internships, plans for the summer etc.

With this in mind, it is important for students to be proactive and prioritize strategies that can help them succeed.

Some health related activities should students INCREASE to improve chances of success include the following:

  1. Get enough sleep. Poor sleep impacts academics and mental health.  For resources to improve sleep, go here: https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2017/12/31/poor-sleep-and-poor-grades-might-go-together/
  2. Eat fruits and vegetables. This improves mental/emotional well-being:

https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2015/03/25/fruits-and-vegetables-might-increase-your-odds-of-mental-well-being/

Food strategies to improve/prevent depression, go here:

https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2018/06/28/food-choices-to-improve-depression/

  1. Get active.Regular exercise can help with mental and physical health.  Go to the RPAC, consider a rec league. Some students find it helpful to take an exercise or sports class  for course credit.
  2. Improve stress management: https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2017/09/01/dealing-with-too-much-stress/
  3. Have a plan. What if you are over scheduled? Are there classes or obligations you could adjust?  Try to plan breaks ahead of time both daily and if possible, weekend  mini-breaks/vacations ahead of time.  This will give you something positive to look forward to.
  4. Get social.  Spending time with others regularly can help with stress and mental health.  Consider  student organizations, regularly scheduled phone/video calls with your supports such as friends, family etc.
  5. Spend time on hobbies. Leisure activities help with stress and mental health.

Consider decreasing or eliminating the following activities:

  1. Too much caffeine worsens stress level and brain function:

https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2017/04/19/study-caffeine-stress-and-brain-function/

  1. Excessive digital media usage can worsen inattention symptoms:

https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2018/08/30/digital-media-and-inattention-symptoms/

  1. Reduce/avoid alcohol intake because it can impact your academic performance:

https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2018/02/26/alcohol-and-grades/

https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2017/06/21/study-alcohol-might-cause-brain-changes/

  1. Cannabis can negatively impact your brain:

https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2014/11/17/marijuana-4-hidden-costs-to-consider/

  1. Nicotine use can increase depression and anxiety:

https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2015/04/15/does-smoking-increase-anxiety-and-depression-if-i-quit-will-i-feel-better/

Additional resources if your functioning is limited by your mental health, or if you need additional help:

Check out our multiple options for mental health support page for additional resources.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

 

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