It’s no secret that applying to college can be a stressful time, whether you’re worried about exam results, your personal statement, or your chances of getting accepted onto your dream program. This can have detrimental effects on both your wellbeing and your cognitive abilities, so looking after your mental health during this time is key. Here’s how to do it.
Get started early
If you begin the college application process early, you can take a lot of the stress out of it. You’ll have more time for instance to research Duke University admissions and GPA requirements for different programs, as well as craft the best possible personal statement. This makes it far less likely that you’ll miss deadlines or submit an application form riddled with typos.
Make sleep a priority
Sleep is absolutely crucial for your memory, focus, and all other kinds of cognitive functions that are necessary for nailing your college applications. So, instead of pulling counterproductive all-nighters, aim to get seven to nine hours of quality sleep a night. If you struggle with this, try avoiding screen time late in the evening and writing down your worries before bed so that they don’t keep you awake.
Don’t neglect your physical health
Your brain is part of your body, meaning that your physical health has an impact on both your mental health and your cognition. Take care of yours by:
- Doing some form of exercise every day, even if it’s just going for a walk
- Eating a balanced diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables
- Staying hydrated by drinking six to eight glasses of water a day
- Getting out in nature for fresh air and sunlight
- Avoiding junk food, alcohol, sugary sodas and energy drinks
Set aside time for hobbies and friends
It’s easy to get so caught up with college applications that you neglect other important aspects of your life. You can counter this by scheduling in time to hang out with your friends, and also to do hobbies you love. This is an effective way to destress and refresh your motivation, allowing you to be more productive – and happier – in the long run.
Give mindfulness a go
Mindfulness can have huge benefits for your mental health. If you’ve never tried it before, you can get started by:
- Meditating for five minutes a day
- Using an adult coloring book
- Writing down three things that you’re grateful for every day
- Starting a journal
- Doing breathing exercises
Keep your goals in mind
One technique that can be helpful when you’re feeling overwhelmed with the whole college application process is to take a step back and remind yourself of why you’re doing this. Think about why you want to go to university, and why you want to study your chosen subject. Visualize yourself on campus, meeting new people and trying novel experiences. Focus on your career aspirations, and all the exciting opportunities that will be available to you both during your studies and after you graduate. You could even make a vision board that you can look at for an instant burst of motivation. Just think – before you know it, that dream will be your reality!