Believe it or not, 37.7% of college students who study abroad experience a mental health problem. Most of these because of three reasons – cultural adjustments, academic stress, and being away from family. Dealing with these things is burdensome for a teenager studying abroad. Good thing, several strategies will help overcome these mental health problems. Here are some of them.
Preempt And Be Proactive
Before you start your school formally, you’ll most likely be required to attend an orientation. This short stint at the beginning of the semester will brief you on your college journey abroad. It will tackle your academic requirements, key expectations in living in the country, university briefing, etc.
Given that you have an idea of what you will be facing in the coming months, this is the perfect time to prepare. Try to look for mental health resources that you can use based on the discussion during your orientation. Make sure to line up the best mental health support systems that you can engage with, should you need one. Some examples of these are group therapy, peer counseling, and telecounseling.
Look For A Good Support Network
Since you are away from your family, surrounding yourself with good people can keep mental health issues at bay. Although having friends around cannot fully compensate for the warmth you feel with your family, having a good support network will help you cope with the sadness you are feeling. Aside from that, they can also guide you into adjusting to a new culture.
Looking for the best group is not an uneasy task. Since college is a time of exploration, there is a tendency to meet a lot who are experimenting with illegal things. Be wary of this type of person, since they might only endanger you instead of help you.
Always remember to find the best community that you feel comfortable with. Bank on the things you are interested in or look for a group of people in the same group as you. For instance, look for an organization composed of international students like you. Since they’re on the same footing as you, it will be easier for you to relate. They’ll know what you’re going through, and they’ll understand what you are feeling.
At the same time, you may also join a group with the same hobby and passion. If you’re into arts or drama, then look for individuals who also love this field. Connecting with them will not only fuel your passion but will also distract you from feeling anxious and sad about being away from your family.
Meditation is one of the most effective ways of clearing your mind. Research shows that these kinds of exercises do not only improve your state of mind. Instead, it also gives you avenues to explore other perspectives in life and, eventually, change your outlook. It can also enhance your mental health and make you feel calm.
Another good thing about meditation is that it promotes focus. College kids often find themselves surrounded by various commitments – friends, classes, organization works, etc. It makes it hard for them to focus. They get too consumed by the stress they feel from these activities and the endless distractions from social media that they tend to procrastinate.
Meditation is an excellent strategy to combat all of these. Contrary to the common notion, this practice does not only revolve around stretching and yoga. Instead, there are also other kinds of meditation which involves listening to relevant audio, staying put, and more.
Spend Time With Nature
Research also has proven that spending time with nature reduces the possibility of having depression. A branch of therapy has evolved around this concept, which is called ecotherapy or green therapy. Experts revealed that a daily 30-minute walk around a green setting has a significant impact on our mental health. The color green relaxes our brain and takes away a little bit of stress from our surroundings.
An added benefit from this activity is its effect on physical wellbeing. It lowers your blood pressure, strengthens your heart, improves strength, and reduces body fat. Given that a healthy body translates to a healthy mind, you’ll most likely be mentally healthy if you have good physical wellbeing. This treatment also reduces your anxiety, stress, and depression.
Improve Your Nutrition
Nutrition should not be a problem when you’re in the comforts of your own home. While your parents are most likely to control your diet at your house, it’s challenging to set up your daily menu when you’re living alone. But crafting your diet does not have to be overwhelming for you.
The best way to go about this is to do the following:
- Drink vitamins every day
- Avoid too oily and fatty food
- Include oatmeal and green tea to your meal
- Eat frequent small-sized snacks instead of large meals
- Manage the protein and carbohydrates that come with your meal
- Incorporate fruits and vegetable to your diet at least once a day
If you find this task challenging, seek assistance. Your campus most likely has a health center that houses a nutritionist who can help with your diet. Seek for their help so you’ll know the basics of eating healthy.
The Hardship Of Living Abroad
Being an exchange student in a foreign land is quite challenging. Add to this stress the difficulties in adjusting to a new culture and college life. Following the tips above may help you manage your mental health problems while in this phase. If you feel that you can’t handle it yourself anymore, seek the help of a therapist. They will be the ones who will help you overcome this roadblock.