In a 2020 survey, the American College Health Association found that stress, anxiety, lack of engaging in physical activity and depression are some of the most prevalent health concerns among college students.
- 49.6% of college students report moderate levels of stress, while 24.9% of college students report high levels of stress.
- 27.4% of college students reported ever being diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder.
- 22.3% of college students reported ever being diagnosed with a depressive disorder.
- 44.0% of college students met the criteria of being an active adult.
Only 55.8% of college students describe their health and wellbeing as “very good or excellent”. This means almost half of all college students are not experiencing the best their mind and body has to offer. So how can we diminish high levels of distress? Self-care.
Clemson University offers free counseling services for students through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). It only takes a few minutes to set up an initial screening with a mental health professional, so they can connect you with a counselor best for you. CAPS offers counselors that specialize in depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, addiction and less commonly talked about disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder, etc.
Although reaching out can be seen as taboo, it is completely normal and healthy. Just as we see professionals concerning our physical well-being, there is no shame in seeing a professional to improve your mental well-being. All services are confidential and discreet. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, meetings are often held via video conference with counselors. Set up a meeting through the CAPS website today. It is better to take care of your mental wellbeing before a crisis, but most importantly, it is never too late to reach out.
Good Habits for Good Health
As tempting as drinking that fourth coffee in one sitting may be, treating your body without kindness at the expense of a high GPA or just getting work done is nonsensical. Most college students are entering or leaving their twenties which means their bodies are no longer going to tolerate the abuse they did in their teen years. The junk food, constant caffeine, the lack of exercise, and hours of screen time will eventually take a toll on aging bodies. That is not to say you must cut everything out, but balance will go a long way. Physical and mental health go hand in hand and most people do not come to realize this. If you enrich yourself with wholesome and nutritious foods, engage in physical activity a couple times a week and try to intake more water than caffeine, you will likely see an increase in personal well-being and productivity. Small changes go a long way. Try making small changes to your routine.
With Clemson University enrollment, students have access to many fitness facilities scattered throughout campus:
- If the treadmill isn’t your thing, try an aerobics class in the Douthit Gym.
- If you are looking for something new, check out the lap pool in the FIKE Recreation Center.
- If you’re looking for an outdoors experience, stay on the lookout for hiking and skiing opportunities offered through TigerQuest for students or simply take a relaxing walk through the SC Botanical Gardens located near campus.
Fitness opportunities are all around you and can be incredibly fun.
Meditation & Yoga
Surprisingly, meditation and yoga are not just reserved for the hippies and hipsters. They are ancient practices found to be extremely beneficial for reducing stress and improving concentration.
Meditation can be dated back to 5000 BCE as a way to engage in mental clarity. Organizations like Mental Health America, have done over six hundred surveys finding that mediation can help decrease anxiety and insomnia, reduce substance abuse, decrease depression, decrease high blood pressure and aid in a faster recovery from stress. If you’re like me and not sure where to start, I recommend utilizing mediation mobile apps or simply looking up “Guided Meditation” on YouTube. The Hollywood version of meditation looks intimidating and skillful, but just about anyone can give it a try with virtually zero negative impacts.
Yoga is an ancient practice rooted in Hinduism and Buddhism found to also have incredibly good benefits for the body and mind. This form of practiced stretching and breathing routines has a way of calming the mind in a more physical form of meditation. Besides the immediate relaxation felt after doing yoga, it also comes with many physical health benefits as well. Try a yoga class. If you are on a budget, Google free yoga classes. A world of yoga professionals is at your fingertips. So, grab your yoga mat and try it today.
The most important forms of self-care cater to your mental and physical needs. At times the internet or TikTok may tell us self-care is splurging on a new handbag or buying a whole new skincare routine, but material items will not lead to lasting benefits or genuine happiness. Improve your life quality today by nurturing the most vital aspects of yourself.
 Statistics found by the National College Health Association (2020). https://www.acha.org/documents/ncha/NCHA-III_Spring_2020_Reference_Group_Executive_Summary.pdf
 Research on yoga and mediation founded by Mental Health America (2012). https://www.mhanational.org/sites/default/files/MHA_CAM.pdf