Mental Health Tips of the Month

Take Charge of the Academic Year!

September 2014

It is the start of another academic year here at the University of Houston. Along with the excitement of a new beginning, others may feel nervous, confused, or some other mix of emotions. As we move from the dog days of the summer and into the fall, even the most well-prepared and motivated students may find themselves struggling at times trying to balance the demands of class, homework, work, family and life. How do we balance all of this?

Have a plan - With so much to balance, time management can be difficult. It may help to consider:

Use a planner - This may sound like a “no brainer”, but many students do not take full advantage of this simple tool. At the beginning of the semester, add important dates related to exams and course work as well as social and personal dates. Today’s technology will help keep track of your daily plans for multiple activities. Get in the habit of looking at your planner! Frequently looking ahead and thinking about how to best spend your time will help prevent some avoidable stressors.

Get Plenty of Rest - When trying to balance all your activities, do not forget to fit sleep in. Remember:

Strive for 8 hours - College students are notorious for not getting enough sleep which can affect other areas of life. Getting a full night’s sleep can help to restore energy, help you stay focused and alert on important exams and can help with your mood. In addition, a planned 20 to 30 minute nap during your day can help you stay mentally sharp until bedtime.

Eat Right - While balancing activities, do not forget to eat balanced meals.

Avoid the Freshman 15 - Eating right can help keep you stay healthy and give you the energy needed to make it through the day. Be consistent when you eat and avoid skipping meals. Instead of processed foods, late night snacking and soda pops, substitute in fresh fruits, vegetables and water, and remember to watch portion sizes.

We hope that these tips will be a helpful guide for navigating another academic year. Please return to this site throughout the year for more tips on healthy living! If you would like to learn more about behaviors for a successful academic year, please call CAPS to schedule an initial consultation appointment to discuss your concerns with a therapist on staff.

If you are experiencing a crisis situation and need to speak with someone immediately, please contact CAPS during business hours, and we will be happy to assist you. After business hours, you may contact: (1) MHMRA at (713) 970-7000, (2) Crisis Intervention of Houston at (713) HOTLINE (468-5463), or (3) the University of Houston Department of Public Safety at (713) 743-3333 and ask to speak to the clinician on-call.