College students are one of the demographic groups that are most at risk for emotional and mental health issues. Not only is this a very common time for serious mental illnesses such as clinical depression, anxiety, and even schizophrenia to be diagnosed, the college years are also a time when students deal with stress, loneliness, insomnia, and homesickness. Even students who are very well adjusted can feel the negative effects of academic pressure, poor diet, partying, and otherwise burning the candle at both ends. Even an hour of studying can cost a student more mental energy than they have, if they are nearing burnout. Students who do not take care of their mental health needs suffer academically, socially, emotionally, and physically. This is why they should take steps to take care of themselves.

Using Diet to Boost Energy Reduce Stress And Improve Focus

Poor diet can have a devastating impact on mental health. Unfortunately, poor food choices are very common among students. This is because when time and money are in short supply, fast food, canned, and processed items are inexpensive, and can be prepared and eaten quickly. The result is sluggishness and a lack of focus.

What many people do not realize is that they can follow a healthy diet on a budget, without taking any more time out of their schedule than it takes to nuke a frozen pizza or hit the drive thru. Here are some quick and healthy food hacks for healthy, mostly plant based, and budget friendly eating. Remember that organic is best, and local is even better.
● Organic brown rice is inexpensive and filling. It can be made in large batches or even purchased frozen and ready to eat. It provides long term energy, and can be added to soups, burritos, stir fries, or simply mixed with beans and spices for a filling meal.
● Organic, bagged baby spinach and kale can be turned into a salad in literally seconds. They can also be added to wraps or thrown onto sandwiches. This provides a big nutritional boost that improves brain function and organ health.
● Whole grain tortillas, frozen vegetables, and cheese (nut based or dairy) can be microwaved or thrown in the oven for quick quesadillas or thin crust pizzas
● Single serving packages of hummus and organic baby carrots are a shelf stable snack that can travel in purses and backpacks.
● Organic dried fruit and nuts that you bag yourself are much less expensive than anything you could find in the vending machine.
● Apples, bananas, and oranges are portable, easy to eat, and give you energy.
● Foil packs of of salmon are full of healthy fats and can be dumped directly onto salads for extra protein.
● Complex cooking can be done in a couple of hours on the weekends and then packed into single servings for the week.
● For a healthy diet and balance think 80/20. This means 80 percent plant based food to 20 percent non plant based food. It can also mean 80% of your eating should be done to maintain health and energy while 20% can be eating to enjoy the taste.
● If you buy packaged food go for organic foods with the least amount of ingredients. For example, peanut butter is filling and is full of antioxidants. However, the ingredients on the jar should only be peanuts and salt.
Fortunately, many of the foods that are best for your mental health and overall brain function are inexpensive and great for snacking.

Maintaining a Good Sleep Schedule For Mental Health

Sleep deprivation is an absolute mental health slayer. So much so that depriving people of sleep is a method used to torture prisoners of war. Yet, college students are often given such a huge workload that it is nearly impossible for them to be successful without depriving themselves of sleep so that they can study.Even students who don’t have a difficult academic load can suffer from sleep deprivation simply due to their class schedule. This is because your natural sleep rhythms keep you up late at night and cause you to want to sleep late in the morning. If you have been told that you just need to go to bed earlier, you have been given bad advice. However, there are a few things that you can do to improve your sleep hygiene.
● Spend the last 30 minutes before bed without using any electronics. Try reading or writing in a journal instead.
● Try practicing a half hour of yoga each day. It could help you sleep more.
● Use common sense when you study. It may be better to get a B and get a good night of sleep, especially if you will have difficulty functioning in other classes.
● Schedule your earliest classes for late morning whenever possible

Author's Bio: 

I'm a professional writer and healthy living blogger.