Supporting Your Mental Health As you Start College | Jigsaw.ie

Supporting your mental health as you start college

Supporting your mental health as you start college

Thursday, 08 September 2022

Adjusting to a more independent life outside of the school system can take time.

Supporting your mental health as you start college

 

Starting a new phase in your life can be challenging, but it can also be a positive experience. It will take time to get used to new routines and new ways of learning.

It’s ok to feel both excited and nervous at the same time. It is normal to have ups and downs.

We will look at some things that might come up for you as you start a new phase in your life, and ways that can help you manage the feelings that may come up. In this article you will find

young woman resting on couch looking at notes

Preparation

Being prepared and setting goals for yourself can keep you focused in the day-to-day.

Settling in

It can take some time to become comfortable in a new place or with a new group of people. Feeling anxious is normal during a time of change.

Self-guided study

Simple things like getting organised and making sure your study space is tidy can be of benefit.

Being prepared and setting goals for yourself can keep you focused in the day-to-day. While it can happen to us all, try and not let work drift and pile up.

You can avoid doing this do this by setting yourself tasks each day, taking bite-size chunks of work – whether that is reading or course work. If this does happen, don’t keep it to yourself and look for help.

Getting used to self-guided study is not something that comes naturally to many of us. It is a skill that can take time and practice to develop.

Opportunities

One of the great things about college is that it’s different to school - as are people’s attitudes and behaviour. When you’re looking to meet new people, they are usually really open to it.

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Feeling lonely

Loneliness is a lack of connection and communication with others. Being lonely isn’t anything to do with who you are, as we all feel lonely at times.

One of the great things about college is that it’s different to school, as are people’s attitudes and behaviour. When you’re looking to meet new people, they are usually really open to it.

If you would like to meet new people, look into joining clubs, societies, or opportunities for volunteering. We are all individuals, but there are always like-minded people out there that share your passions. If you don’t have something you are passionate about, try something new.

Jess, one of our youth volunteers, asks Conor for advice on feeling lonely in college.

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Change

When we find situations difficult, often the problem isn’t the change itself, but how we deal with it. We can’t remove the feeling of anxiety, but we can learn how to manage these feelings.

 

Moving away from home

Moving away can be a scary experience. We can feel many different things when facing a change in our lives. It can be exciting, daunting and exhausting or a mix of loads of feelings.

No matter what we feel about it, change is inevitable and can’t be avoided. When we find situations difficult, often the problem isn’t the change itself, but how we deal with it. We can’t remove the feeling of anxiety, but we can learn how to manage these feelings.

Keep in touch

If there are friendships you want to sustain, you might need to be proactive about that.

silhouette of person walking over a bridge

Friends and relationships

When a group of friends head off in different directions, it is easy to feel concerned about being left behind.

If there are friendships you want to sustain, you might need to be proactive about that. You can do this by making clear plans to meet up and by making a conscious effort to keep in touch and spend time together.

Remember though, it is a natural part of life to lose touch with some friends. Our interests can change. Sometimes even our values change.

 

Be open to new friendships

The fear of rejection can sometimes stop us from being open to new friendships. This fear can lead to isolation.

Recognise that people come in and out of our lives. Losing touch or discontinuing a friendship is a normal part of life. It is not a reflection of who you are as a person, it is normal.

Once we can see that, the fear of rejection will lessen and this in turn can open us up to new friendships.

How to start a conversation

It can be really hard to start a conversation with someone new. Whether you’ve taken the leap to join a new club or activity or you want to know how to talk to people in work or college.

If you have had bad experiences with friendships, it can be difficult to make connections. Give yourself time and space to open up to people. Continue to give yourself small goals. This can help focus your actions. Over time you will find, it gets easier.

 

young man sitting across from from another person

Ask for help

Whether we are feeling run down, experiencing low mood, or are in crisis we all need to reach out for support sometimes.

Supporting your own mental health

It is important to make your own mental health a priority. Life can feel full of pressure sometimes, especially as you figure out who you are, what you want, and how you want your life to be.

Take time to do things you enjoy. Try to eat well and make sure you get some exercise, even if it is going for a short walk. We know that you’ve heard this advice plenty of times before, but that’s because it works.

Remember to talk to someone you trust when you are feeling low.

Ask for help – Whether we are feeling run down, experiencing low mood, or are in crisis we all need to reach out for support sometimes. You are not alone.

 

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