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Mental Health Tips for Students: Thoughts from a Birmingham Therapist.

When reflecting on my work with middle school students high school students, college students, and even graduate students at Empower Counseling, one of the most common conversations that I have is about ways to take care of ourselves during this time of life. This is sometimes a tricky question for me because, unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all answer.

There are, however, common strategies that can have a positive impact on our overall well-being when we are at school. While this is in no way an extensive list, below are some helpful tips to keep in mind when thinking about our overall mental health during different stages of school. These tips, along with therapy in Birmingham, AL, can help us live a more fulfilling life and be the best version of ourselves.

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Mental Health Tips for Middle School Students

Connect with others  

Middle school students tend to thrive when they make meaningful friendships with others. Find other students that have common interests and find ways to connect with them outside of the classroom. This is also a great way to start learning about ourselves through seeing qualities in other people.

middle school students finding connection through playing chess

Get involved: Mental Health Tips for Students

Hobbies and extracurricular activities are a great way to meet others and figure out what things you like/dislike. This can be sports, clubs, art classes, really anything that you might enjoy. Involvement also allows us to create new skills and learn new things!

Combat boredom

We all get bored sometimes, and that is ok! But too much boredom can sometimes bring on bigger feelings that we are not used to. It is important to recognize when we need to do something, whether that be reading at home or spending time with others.

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Mental Health Tips for High School Students

An overflowing cup of coffee symbolizing a student who has taken on too much

Recognize your limits

It is very easy for high school students to get over-involved, especially when thinking about college and building your resume. It is important to recognize when you might need to take a break or give up certain activities. Some common indicators of this are fatigue, repeatedly forgetting assignments, or feeling like you do not have enough time in the day.

Stay connected: Mental Health Tips for Students

Friendships are equally as important in high school as they are in middle school. As we continue to learn about ourselves, having meaningful friendships helps us figure out who we are and who we want to be. Also, this is a great way to help us feel supported and not feel alone when bigger feelings come up.

words on chalk board/ good habits/ good life

Create healthy habits

Whether you are planning on going to college or straight into the working world, creating healthy habits early is a great way to shorten the learning curve. This can be practicing time management with assignments, learning to say no to activities, or figuring out how to live a healthier lifestyle. Figuring out the skills that help us feel the best is a great asset to have for high school and beyond.

college students collaborating in class/ counseling for college students in Alabama/ Empower Counseling

Mental Health Tip for College Students and Graduate School Students

Setting boundaries

College is typically the first time that students are on their own and making decisions for themselves. It is easy to take on too much at first because we are still getting used to this new phase of life. If you are experiencing fatigue, are not able to complete assignments, or do not have time to relax, it might be time to start saying no to some things.

Make new connections

Just like in previous school settings, continuing to make connections and maintain friendships is crucial for our mental health. It is easy to feel alone during college, especially if you have moved to a new city or state, so having meaningful connections helps combat these heavy feelings.

young women playing intramural volleyball

Get involved

There are so many ways to get involved either at your college or in your community. This could be an academic club, intramural sports, religious affiliations, and/or volunteering. Getting involved helps to combat boredom, learn new skills, and help us decompress after a stressful day.

Healthy habits: Mental Health Tips for Students

One of the most overlooked  aspects of our mental health is our physical health. Making sure to get quality sleep, eat meals, move our bodies, and interact with other people are so important when thinking about our mental health. While this will not take away all heavy feelings, it can absolutely increase our ability to think in a more grounded and clearer way.

happy college students laying in green grass/ counseling for college students in Birmingham Alabama/ Empower Counseling

Counseling for College Students (as well as, middle school students, high school students, and graduate students) in Birmingham, Alabama.

It is never too early to talk to a therapist about your experience with school. Whether you’re in grade school and are feeling a little lonely, or in graduate school trying to navigate stress and a busy schedule, therapy in Birmingham can help. Through setting realistic and achievable goals, discovering values, and taking care of ourselves in a more fulfilling way we can learn to find our purpose and create a life that helps us thrive.

As you probably noticed, connecting with others is a big component of mental wellbeing. If at any point in school you are struggling with social anxiety, it is important to address this with a knowledgeable, licensed Birmingham therapist. All humans need significant connection and belonging with others. Students in middle school and high school must find their group in which they belong. If not, they will not only struggle socially, they will struggle in academics and in other ways as well. At Empower Counseling we specialize in Acceptance Commitment Therapy for anxiety. ACT can help you move away from social anxiety, toward the higher self confidence that is necessary to you finding your group.

Empower Counseling and Coaching in Birmingham, AL helps College Students (middles school students, high school students and graduate students).

We understand that we sometimes need some extra help in life. We strive to meet our clients where they are in their journey and foster a safe space for clients to learn about themselves and make progress towards the life they want. Empower Counseling offers services to teens, students, young adults, adults, and professionals in the state of Alabama in person at our Mountain Brook office. We also offer our therapy services throughout the state of Alabama through online counseling. Kathryn, Marti, Savannah, and Lucia offer counseling for anxiety, therapy for depression, difficult life transitions (like graduation), perfectionism, eating disorders, trauma counseling and PTSD, and women’s issues. Coming soon is trauma treatment using EMDR counseling with Marti and Savannah.

Reaching out for help is often a difficult step but shows courage and strength. If you are ready to talk to someone about your experience being a student, Marti is here to provide realistic steps and unconditional support on your journey with these steps:

  1. Reach here to Marti (through the Empower Counseling website to schedule an initial appointment)
  2. Get acquainted with Marti and the counseling process
  3. Begin your journey towards a more fulfilling and purpose-driven life

About the Author

Hi, I’m Marti Hardin, a Birmingham therapist specializing in helping students, young adults, and adults experiencing anxiety, depression, perfectionism, and phase of life issues. I am a recent graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Samford University and understand what comes with being a student. I would love to help you work through the list above and/or explore other areas of life that might be causing heavy emotions.

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