Many times, motivation is unfortunately not at the forefront of students' minds when dealing with work, school, or everyday responsibilities. Mental health is important in the ever so competitive and pressured environments students reside in. Here are top 10 tips/realizations that you should consider as you focus on your mental health.

School is practice for the real world

This is the time to make mistakes, embrace them, and learn from them! I hate to break it to you, but you’re a human, which means you will make mistakes, you will fail, you will encounter obstacles – these are just the facts of life. Embrace the safety net of being in school and financially supported. Take intellectual risks and fail often! ​

Hype yourself up every day with positive affirmations

Look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself compliments. Even if you don’t truly believe it, it doesn’t matter, when your mind hears it, it starts to believe. You are a beautiful soul! You have an unstoppable passion! You are an eliminator of obstacles! You are effortlessly persistent!

It’s okay to not know what you want to do with your life

Many adults I meet still don’t know. Get comfortable with the unknown and just focus on constantly improving your skills. Skills can take you into different industries, allowing you the flexibility to change careers as you desire and still be fulfilled. The journey is the destination!

Grades and scores are more like progress bars, not absolute evaluations

A 70% on a test simply means you are 70% of the way there to achieving full knowledge in one content area. It does not mean you are 30% less than a bright-futured human. All of life can be measured along progress bars, a constant - and yes, sometimes slow – uptick in skills and abilities, that ultimately will result in leveling up. No matter the path you choose, always be leveling up!

Force yourself to take breaks, but only as rewards

Assign yourself a time to sprint along your progress, about 30 minutes, or a little longer if you’re in the mood. Then, force yourself to take 5 minutes to go on Instagram, YouTube, or the fridge. By structuring it as the expected breath of air after a satisfying swim, you will ensure your progress stays on track and isn’t distracted by what’s in the air too long.

Procrastination isn’t a time management problem. It’s a feelings management challenge

When you think about what you have to do and the upcoming deadline, what feeling do you get in your body? Perhaps a tightness of your chest, shoulders, back? Take 5 minutes to breathe into those tight muscles, making sure to exhale longer than you inhale, while imagining yourself effortlessly working on the task ahead. Then, now that your nervous system has calmed down a little, continue outside of your imagination!

There is purpose for your existence

No matter the faith you follow, this purpose may be driven by a higher power, or your higher self. Never forget that this world is massive and full of billions of genetically and experientially unique humans, many of whom could use your skills to enhance their lives. Find those humans and welcome the rewards for helping solve their problems.

Take care of your body

Your brain is what controls your learning, and your brain is controlled by your nervous system, which is controlled by your blood glucose and oxygen, which is controlled by what you eat, drink, and how fully you breathe. Life is as simple as that. If you control what goes into your body, you can more easily control what comes out.

Take care of your mind

Do activities that put you in a state of flow, no matter what other people think about it. You owe it to yourself that much – to have hobbies and interests that fulfill your spirit. Stay in touch with your senses and soul through creativity, whether it be journaling, cooking, art, music, or any other avenue that suits you!

Take care of your relationships

Sure, school is important, but it’s just one part of your life. Friendship and community are what make most of life worth living. Humans are social creatures and if it weren’t for the support of our loved ones, we would get nowhere. Be sure to support them too.

BONUS Tip - Know your purpose

Check in with yourself about your goals and aspirations. Pursuing something meaningless results in multiple tickets to unneccesary courses, requirements, and a loss in passion. Examples of this include applying for many internships to achieve the "plentiful resume." Quality over quantity.