Back to School Safety: College Edition

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College for many is an exciting journey, but can also be a stressful time that could create a wide range of mental health challenges. According to the American Psychological Association, 1 in 3 first-year college students will struggle with mental health. It’s important that throughout their college experience, students learn to prioritize both their mental and physical wellness.

As part of our ongoing commitment to support and protect our community, we put together some tips on how to practice good safety habits. We’re also hosting a special giveaway this month, so scroll on to learn more.

Raise your hand. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, or depressed, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Many college campuses provide resources like counselors and health centers. If you’re unsure if your campus has one, check on your college’s website or with your RA. You can also chat, text, or email with a counselor at Your Life Your Voice.

Mind your gut. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that influences mood, and millions of other mood shaping microbes live in the digestive tract. So it’s a no brainer that your diet can influence your mental state immensely. In fact, studies show that foods rich in vitamin B, magnesium, probiotics, vitamin D3, and omega-3s can help manage depression. Try to incorporate these foods into at least one meal a day.

Action plan. Physical activity not only reinforces physical wellness, but also helps improve your mood. According to NCBI, exercising regularly can reduce stress, alleviate anxiety, protect the brain against cognitive decline, improve sleep, and boost serotonin levels. Hit your school gym, and whenever possible, take the stairs or even walk the long way to your classes.

Point of contact. Socializing and cultivating relationships can have healthy outcomes on your mental health and life span. In fact, studies on social relationships and health show that people with active social lives tend to live longer and healthier lives than their isolated peers. So try to eat meals with friends, and consider joining on or off-campus organizations related to hobbies or causes you care about.

Good looking out. Whether you’re riding in your friend’s car or they’re riding in yours, it’s important to make sure the vehicle doesn’t have any outstanding safety recalls. For example, a recalled Takata airbag can seriously injure or kill not just a driver, but also their passenger. Check your vehicles with our lookup tool to make sure you’re safe no matter what vehicle you’re in.

Enter the gap. Studies show that practicing mindfulness through meditation can reduce negative thoughts and stress. Meditation also helps develop capacities for calmness, clarity, and concentration. Don’t know where to start on your meditation journey? Try Headspace, an award-winning meditation app and a great introduction to practicing meditation and mindfulness.

In fact, for our Back to School Giveaway this year, Carma will be awarding a one-year subscription to the Headspace app. To enter to win you must complete the following:

  1. Sign up or be an existing Carma Project ambassador
  2. Tag your friends in the comments section of Carma’s Back to School Facebook post here

Contest closes on October 1st at 12:00 PM PST. Winner will be emailed on October 2nd.
*To enter this contest, you must be signed up as an Ambassador at https://community.carmaproject.com, be 18 years or older, and live in the United States. This contest is void where prohibited by law. The name on your Carma Project ambassador profile must match the name on your Facebook profile in order for your entry to be accepted. The contest prize will be delivered via email. This contest is not sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with Headspace, Instagram, and/or Facebook.*