Students struggle with mental health a lot. And the further we go into the tech era, the worse it gets for the population. Not only is this the first time you’re actually on your own, but students also face a lot of responsibility they’ve never had before. So, loneliness, lots of homework and academic expectations from one’s parents can all contribute to a decline in one’s well-being. And while you can find the best coursework writing service online, it only solves half the problem.
This is why it’s especially important for modern youth to know the early warning signs. Because if you catch them early enough, you can deal with them on your own, quickly and painlessly. In this article, we will walk you through some of the most common early signs of a mental health decline.
Common Symptoms of Anxiety & Depression
The most obvious sign of depression or an anxiety disorder is, well, feeling depressed or anxious. Anxiety can present itself in many forms, and if it interferes with your daily life, it’s time to get the help you need. Here are some of the less obvious symptoms of anxiety:
- difficulty concentrating
- avoiding social interactions
- unexplained aches
- difficulty falling asleep, nightmares
Many people have faced many of these symptoms multiple times during their life, does that mean they all have anxiety? Well, no. But a combination of any of these with constant worrying, irrational fears or feeling overwhelmed, can easily hinder one’s social and academic life. And this is when it becomes dangerous.
Depression can be a bit easier to spot, yet, it’s more dangerous. Depression, too, comes in many forms and ‘feeling depressed’ is not the only way a person with depression feels. This illness is also categorized by a lack of appetite, sleep problems, random aches, loss of interest in what was once pleasurable, being teary, low self-esteem, negative thoughts, guilt, anger outbursts, alienation, substance or alcohol abuse. If you’ve noticed any of the symptoms lasting for over two weeks, it’s time to get help.
In terms of students, one can feel the effects of depression if a class you used to love doesn’t interest you anymore. Self-loathing or feeling guilty can come as a result of missing a class because you procrastinated and didn’t do the homework. It’s all connected and it’s vital for students to be aware of what they’re dealing with.
What Can You Do?
For people who are deeply depressed or have been struggling with anxiety for decades, the following paragraphs may look silly. But if you’re just realizing that you’re not feeling ok and you still have the power to fight it, it might be perfect timing.
Meditation is great for reducing anxiety. A mindfulness practice makes you focus inwards and gradually relax, which is a great exercise for a restless mind. Of course, it will be hard at the beginning. Especially the part where you have to not think and keep your mind clear. But once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier with every practice.
A beginner can download an app like Oak, Calm or Headspace and use their guided meditations. With time, you might feel like you want more, so going for an unguided meditation is the next natural step. Anywhere from five to twenty minutes in the morning can entirely change the way you feel during that day. Just make sure to make it a habit and not break it the second you feel a bit better.
Again, for a person whose depression is way out of control, this will not help much. But if you’re just starting to feel uneasy, try working out. If you’ve been into sports as a kid, remember something that you used to like or did regularly and come back to that sport. If not, nowadays, possibilities are nearly endless. There are clubs and gyms for all kinds of sports.
Find a group to join at your campus. Becoming a part of a group can motivate you and make you attend classes. Joining a gym can help you focus on your health and regular training will bring more order to your life. If you’re feeling anxious exercising in public, get a yoga mat and work out at home. Even low-intensity sports like yoga or stretching can take your mind off your problems and help you destress.
Nowadays, YouTube is full of home workout videos. Bodyweight training may seem like something simple but in fact, if it’s intense enough, it can get you sweating in just 20 minutes. There are also loads of workout apps you can download. Some require a subscription but some are entirely free so you don’t have to worry about money. Even something like walking or jogging can bring you mental relief and reduce the early symptoms of depression.
Connect With Nature
Being outside, specifically in nature, can help you reduce stress and anxiety levels. Go for a hike if you live in a place where it’s possible. If not, make it a habit to take long walks. Explore your local parks and don’t be lazy to go outside the city to check out some local forests.
Getting a pet can also bring you closer to nature and take your mind off stress. Something as simple as observing and playing with an animal has proven beneficial for people with mental health issues. If you live in a dorm that doesn’t allow pets, try birdwatching or even going to a zoo. Birdwatching is just as simple as it sounds. You go to a park and observe birds. Though it might seem boring or odd, it’s actually fascinating. And if you have a zoo nearby where you know that animals are kept in decent conditions, why not check it out?
Student mental health is at an all-time low. Students feel insecure in their futures, scared for their health and often depressed and anxious. But the truth is, if you’re aware of the situation, it’s way easier to prevent a mental illness than to cure it. Above are some of the easiest tips to follow if you want to live a happy and full student life. But if you’ve tried them and not much has changed, consider therapy.
School counselors can be hard to get to because of the mere number of those in need of their attention. But it’s worth trying. If there’s absolutely no way you can address your school counselor, try a public clinic or online resources like Betterhelp or the like.