10 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

MH7

Spring has officially sprung which means warmer weather—and longer days! Spring can also mean lots of finals and assignments as the school semester is wrapping up (hello there, Zoom fatigue!). This can add additional stress on top of the weight that we all may be feeling from the past year or so. 

So, as you prepare for everything that spring can bring, Campus Philly is here to share some ways to improve and maintain your mental health and wellness this season. Boost your mood with these 10 ways to keep your stress and fatigue down, and your wellness and mindfulness up.

1. Spend Time Outside

Spending time outside has a strong potential to improve your mental health, according to Psychology Today. Exploring a new park or taking a walk in a green space has even been proven effective in reducing anxiety and depression. As Johnston Health puts it, “Our mind calms, leading to physical changes including a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure.” 

While spending time outdoors this spring, be sure to adhere to the CDC’s guidelines for physically distancing while active. You can learn more here.

If you’re currently in Philadelphia, we suggest going for a walk along The Waterfront, playing a round of mini golf at Franklin Square in Old City, or just chillin’ in the shade at Rittenhouse Square in Center City

Check out more places to visit in our Spring Resource Guide, the everything-you-need-to-know guide about being a student in Philly! 

2. Attend a Virtual Event with DMAX

According to a recent study by Active Minds, 80% of college students report that COVID-19 is negatively impacting their mental health, resulting in feelings of stress or anxiety, disappointment or sadness, and isolation or loneliness.

DMAX Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to creating connections and conversations to strengthen mental health and emotional well-being for young people, is here to help.

They’ve announced “DMAX Students Speak!”, a virtual, interactive mental health storytelling series. At these events, college students share their personal mental health journeys and talk about the importance and impact of COVID-19, as well as the ongoing mental health crisis on college campuses.

The program is free and open to the general public, as well as to students. Learn more and register for DMAX’s next virtual event here!

3. Meditation

Meditation is a great tool for managing stress and reducing anxiety. And, according to Headspace, “there are thousands of studies documenting meditation benefits, which can have a positive impact on mental, physical, and emotional health.”

You can try meditation online with one of the various classes being offered right now in Philly. Philly Mag’s got a great roundup of classes and studios to check out from the comfort of your own home. Try a few out to find your fit!

Want to incorporate meditation into your daily routine ? Check out these meditation apps that you can use anytime on your phone. 

4. Stay Connected to Your Friends & Family

Invest in self-care by actively staying connected to your friends and family this spring. Strong family ties and supportive friends can help you deal with the stresses of life, and they can help keep you active, keep you grounded, and help you solve practical problems, according to the Mental Health Foundation.

Stay connected through social media, give a family member a call, or FaceTime with a friend—virtual dinner date, anyone?

WIRED put together a list of fun activities and inventive ways to socially distance while staying emotionally connected. Check it out here!

5. Check Out Your School’s Wellness Resources and Groups

Colleges and universities usually have psychology or counseling departments where you can schedule an appointment with a therapist, join a wellness group, or learn more about mental health resources. These services are covered by your tuition, so there is no additional cost to take advantage of them. Interested in finding a therapist after graduating? Search for one on Psychology Today

Several Philly-area colleges utilize Instagram accounts dedicated to supporting students’ wellness, offering videos, tangible advice, and more helpful resources.

@BeWellTU on Instagram is focused on helping the campus community understand wellness and ways to flourish. They offer virtual programming to the Temple University community on IGTV, featuring guided mindfulness practices, supporting peers in recovery, celebrating body diversity, and more.

Other accounts supporting students by promoting wellness include: @WCUCounselingCenter, @JeffersonCounselingServices, @SJUCaps, @DMAXClubArcadia, and many more.

Reach out to your counseling center on campus for information on the services they offer!

6. Try Your Hand at Journaling

Journaling is a great way to center yourself by recording your thoughts and feelings. And yes, it’s true—there isn’t a “wrong way” to journal: You can create a visual journal by drawing or coloring, you can dictate your journal on a voice memo or in a video recording, or you could write on your laptop or in a notebook.

Regardless of your preference, journaling has been proven to be a great way to improve your well-being; it isn’t just beneficial to your mind, but it also helps your physical health, too, according to Psychology Today.

Learn more about journaling and get some inspiration for what your journal could look like with Rendezvous Mag’s 65 Journal Ideas, Tips, & Benefits.

7. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

People who exercise regularly feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives, according to The Help Guide.

One of our favorite Philly-area workouts is City Fit Girls, a community of women who share a passion and interest in fitness. You can get more info & learn about becoming a member here!

Center City District is offering FREE workout classes at Dilworth Park from now until the end of summer! Classes range from Zumba to HIIT—what better way to exercise than with sights of the city?

Not in Philly? Another option is to find Facebook Groups in your area that meet up for community workouts or walks and hikes. This is a fun way to meet new people, explore the outdoors, and exercise all at once. Be sure to check out our Virtual Guide to Philly, too—this covers some of the best ways to break a sweat from your living room.

8. Know What Your Health Insurance Covers 

Health insurance isn’t just valuable when you’re sick. Oftentimes your health insurance company will have wellness resources and perks that you can take advantage of as a member. Our friends at Independence Blue Cross offer many resources for their members like exclusive programs, deals and discounts, and wellness services. Check out some of their resources below! 

Bonus: Independence Blue Cross has a college tuition benefit rewards program! This program offsets the costs of a four-year college education for eligible family members. You must be in your junior year of high school to register and the deadline is August 24. The sooner you and your family start to participate, the more Tuition Rewards you earn!

 9. Make it a Daily Practice 

Adding some (or all) of the above tips to your daily routine can make a huge difference in your mental health and wellness lifestyle. Here are some tips for staying consistent and making any of these a daily habit. 

  • Write it down: Add your meditation or fitness class to your calendar or planner so you don’t forget. Out of sight means out of mind.
  • Set an alarm on your phone: Since we’ve been spending so much time indoors, it can be hard to implement time outside back into your routine. Set an alarm that reminds you to when you should get out and start moving!
  • Add it to your morning or night routine: If you want to create a new habit, we suggest doing it immediately after an activity you normally do each day. Keep your journal on the dresser in your bedroom. After you get dressed in the morning take a few minutes to pick up your notebook and write. This will easily become an important part of your morning routine, like everything else. 

10.  Reach Out to Us

Our team here at Campus Philly is always here for you. We mean it.

Whether you need help finding the right virtual yoga studio to fit your needs, or you need some guidance on finding the right people to talk to today, we are here to guide you—and to listen. 

Bonus! Join Reflect’s Virtual Support Event

The Reflect Summer Summit is a virtual event for students to find support, make their voices heard, and make meaningful connections with students all across the country!

Register to participate in peer-facilitated discussions about the topics that matter to you, find your voice, and enjoy a space designed for you to celebrate your authentic self. 

Stay up-to-date on the latest student events, deals, and ideas this semester.