Mental health tips for summer before college

#1 Stay in the present. I heard a saying once that anxiety is living in the future and depression is living in the past. I’m not sure if I believe this completely, but there is this weird in-between that exists right before school where it’s hard to not think about what it will be like when you get there and where you are coming from. Will I like my roommate? Will I be able to keep up with all the work? Questions like this make it difficult to stay here and now, to enjoy those final moments with friends and family. So, even though it’s hard, the present is what will help you really move forward. The present is where there is less anxiety, less overwhelm and more feelings of gratitude and joy.

#2 Feelings are okay. Yes, the summer before college is shorter than most. There is so much to do. So many people you want to see. So many decisions (stay with the guy/girl or try long distance, how long to keep the job, the long list of college must-haves…). It can be easy to skim over our feelings through all this busyness but feelings will help you feel more connected and will give you self confidence even if they are hard to sit with sometimes. So, say what you want to say. It’s okay to be sentimental. Don’t afraid to be scared, nervous, excited, overwhelmed, sad…feel it all. You’ve earned it.

# 3 Take time for you. This should probably be number one. Life is so busy right now; it becomes very easy to neglect yourself. Or you may want to see your friends every minute of every day because you won’t see them very soon so you skip any time for yourself. But the truth is: you are about to go through a huge change, and you need to take at least some time for yourself, for self reflection, to feel your feelings. It doesn’t have to be very much. Just some intentional time to be with you. It’s like vitamins for your soul! J

#4 Something Serious. Okay, we are going to toss in one serious one because at Bridge Box, we want to be able to talk about things that are hard. Here it is: If there’s something that you are worried about it, this could be a good time to say something, to talk to someone or ask for help. This is the time, over the summer before you head off to school. Better to find a way to get some support now than when you are somewhere new and totally different. Maybe eating has become really hard, or you can’t focus, or you always have headaches or you’ve been sneaking extra Adderall or skipping it all together, maybe you’re in a relationship that you secretly know isn’t good for you, or you can’t stop exercising even if you try, or you’ve been stealing or lying and you aren’t sure why or you’ve been having scary thoughts…These won’t apply to everyone but if there’s something like this that you know deep down you should share, this it the time. If not with your parents, maybe another trusting adult who may have some input or a good friend.
Here at Bridge Box, we want to be more than just a care package. We want to be something that evokes fun, self-reflection and a sense of empowerment.

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Carey J. Cook, LPC

Carey J. Cook, LPC

Carey J Cook is a Licensed Professional therapist in Asheville, NC. She has a private practice and is the co-founder of Bridge Box which was inspired by her work with college students. In different capacities, Carey has provided education and therapy to college students and families for over a decade. Carey seeks to understand and support college students during this phase of life and provide tangible tools to students via Bridge Box.