How to maintain your mental health during the school year

Sometimes – everything just feels too much. School, work, activities, pandemics. It can affect us physically, emotionally and mentally. Mental health is important as it constitutes your ability to function and your overall well-being. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that school can be very overwhelming and can have detrimental effects on your mental health. According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, teens report that their stress levels during the school year are extremely unhealthy and exceedingly higher than adults. In an attempt to spare your mental health from this ever so challenging school year— here is my best advice on how you can maintain your mental health, despite any of the stresses this school year brings you.

Get at least 8-10 hours of sleep

A full night’s rest is often underplayed. Staying up too late working on homework or binge-watching a Netflix series on a school night, you’ll find yourself only getting 5-6hours of sleep. Researchers at TeensHealth conducted a study that proves teens need about eight hours of sleep each night in order to be able to focus and participate in class, improve their athletic performance, and to be healthy overall. Not getting enough sleep can result in bad grades, emotional problems, and an increased level of irritation. Before you continue to neglect yourself from a good night’s rest, remember just how important sleeping and feeling energized is.

Stick to a nutritious and balanced diet

Easier said than done, but try to maintain a balanced and fulfilling diet. Eating nutritiously dense foods can greatly impact the amount of energy you have which will inevitably affect how productive you will be throughout the day. Depriving yourself of a sufficient amount of nutritious food can significantly affect your ability to function at school. Sticking to a balanced diet can allow you to feel energized for a long period of time, and your body will have enough nutrients to work efficiently. If you lack a nutritious and balanced diet, you become more prone to fatigue, low performance, and diseases.

Stay organized

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you are not staying on top of things. I would suggest organizing all of your upcoming plans. It doesn’t matter if it is a test or even just a lunch date with a friend, it is important to write them down. By implementing a calendar into my daily routine, I was able to eliminate a lot of my stress by keeping track of everything I had to do and was able to finish all of my assignments on time. Staying organized can help give comfort knowing that you have everything in place. It is easy to stress out when you forget about last night’s homework and don’t have time to complete it. By staying organized, you can keep your mind at ease and will be much more prepared for all of your activities.

Implement activities into your daily routine that don’t stress you out

It’s easy to get carried away in your own thoughts if you constantly think about all of your responsibilities and often worry about your grades. Your mind can definitely get the best of you. My best advice to counteract this issue is to find hobbies that bring you joy. Baking desserts, painting, yoga, going on walks, learning how to play tennis, online shopping… etc. As long as you are taking your mind off of the things that stress you out, I think this tip could greatly help you. It allows your mind some time to relax and who knows, maybe you’ll pick up a new hobby you really enjoy!

Reach out to friends and family

If you ever feel super down, I recommend catching up with someone. Hanging out with friends and family can help take your mind off of school. You can talk about other things (besides your school work) which can really help brighten your mood. If you spend less time thinking about school, and more time having fun with friends or family, you will notice a big difference in your mental health.

Go on a long drive by yourself

Something totally underrated that makes me feel better when I am stressed, is going on a peaceful drive by myself. When I am by myself, I can blast my music and roll my windows down. Activities such as going on a simple drive by yourself can help you feel better about whatever is causing you to feel this way. Sometimes being alone and listening to music that you love is the best medicine you need.

Take a break

If all else fails, take a mental health day. Sometimes you need a day or two away from whatever is causing you distress just to take a breather. Mental health days can be used for an array of things. You can sleep in, go get your nails done, organize your closet, go to Starbucks— nothing is off-limits on a mental health day. Days like these can be used to your advantage and can really help you maintain your mental health if you are struggling during the school year.

These are just some of my tricks that have helped me maintain my mental health throughout high school. Of course, these won’t work for everyone, but it gives you a good idea of what you can do to get your mind off this stressful and anxiety-filled school year.