February 9, 2020
Struggling with mental health and substance abuse is difficult at any age, in any situation. For you, it started young. Also, for you, you got treatment while you were young. Still, it has been a long and very tough road up until now, and as you are putting the pieces of your life back together, you now need to figure out how to do well in school, too.
Finding Your Footing
After having any mental health or substance use issue, life can feel a little wobbly as you are trying to get back up again. Even if your treatment was powerful and inspiring, new habits take time to form, and perfection is not the expectation.
As you strive to find your footing in life again, equipped with all of the tools and skills you learned in treatment, be gentle with yourself. Remember that standing while wobbling a little is better than being down for the count. You are moving upwards toward your new life; no one expects you to be transformed instantly like in a fairy tale. Take the time to find your footing, worry about school, and living life on life’s terms one day at a time, one hour, or even one minute at a time if necessary. Success will come, and it will be that much sweeter if you have patience with yourself.
Building Good Habits
A good student is a great student when they are also kind to themselves. Beware of trading your self-care and other new mental health habits for study habits. Success is not about one or the other; it is about having both life habits and study skills together.
All of the self-care skills that you learned about in treatment help to make you a better student. Getting exercise regularly, eating healthy, and getting good sleep every night will always help your body and your mind function at optimal levels. Your mental health skills will also help, too, especially stress management. As you build good personal and spiritual habits, you can also create good study habits.
Your study and mental health habits can be managed in much the same way. Plan to spend a certain amount of time each day for each class, but also allow yourself some flexibility. Just like you need to be disciplined in your diet and exercise, be disciplined in completing your studies and assignments before you reward yourself with entertainment and fun time, or time spent hanging out with friends.
Practice mindfulness when you study by turning off your phone, silencing notifications, and freeing yourself from other distractions. You will find that you will be more efficient, meaning that you will have more time for friends, social media, etc. by giving yourself a distraction-free study area.
One of the best traits of successful students is their ability to prioritize everything in their lives. It would be best if you balance your mental health care, your studies, your social life, and your extra-curricular activities. This can be difficult because obviously, the fun things are more desirable. However, as you look at the big picture, you can get more done and have more time for the fun things in life if you make the right choices in your priorities.
Mental health care is now the foundation for all of life’s successes. When it is in place, you can accomplish anything in life. When you slip up with your self-care or other habits, it is easy for the different parts of your life to suffer or even come tumbling down. From there, your studies should be the next priority. Still, sometimes extra-curricular activities such as music or sports have specific practice or performance times that you may need to weave your study time around. Your social life should be the most flexible, so you have enough room to prioritize, but it is essential to reward yourself with this fun time for all of your hard work and prevent mental and physical burnout.
Balancing Health and Studies
You have just come off of mental health struggles, so remember to give yourself some credit. You are heading from crisis to success, and that takes a lot of effort. As you learn to implement your newly found mental health skills, you will find that it may be a challenge to balance the mental health and study skills at the same time. There will be a learning curve for you as you work to find what works best for you. That is okay. Finding a learning curve on your path to success is closer to success than a crisis. Adults struggle to find balance in life all the time. You have the tools and skills to build success now, and finding that balance will happen. Just give it some time.
You have taken a difficult road. Treatment and recovery are not easy tasks. And not very many students sitting next to you have accomplished what you have at this point. Now you have the chance to apply the skills you have learned to your education. They are kind of like a secret weapon to success. As you build good habits, make priorities, and learn to balance your mental health and your school studies, you will succeed in school and life. This may seem hard, but you have already done something much harder. Your success is only a matter of time.
Remember the skills you gained at Potomac Programs, for questions call 1-855-809-0409. Everything you need to succeed is inside of you.