I’ve always been an anxious person, and college just seems to exacerbate my natural tendency to freak out a lot. Luckily, I know I’m not alone in this struggle. Every college student faces anxiety at one point or another in their college career. However, when it becomes a regular occurrence, it can be debilitating. Here’s my tips for dealing with anxiety in college!
Recognize what makes you anxious
Is it your Advanced Statistics class? Your roommate? Target the source of your anxiety in order to figure out how to treat it. If it’s caused by something like an upcoming test, then that’s a pretty temporary anxiety. But, if you find you’re always nervous and uncomfortable entering a certain class or being around a certain person, than it’s likely a much longer lasting issue.
Find an outlet
The most important thing you can do when dealing with anxiety is to find a healthy outlet. In college, it’s easy to use alcohol as a way to feel better, but that kind of thing is temporary and not substantial. The best options are creative outlets or athletic outlets. I personally enjoy writing, painting, and running. Here’s some other ideas:
- Playing an instrument/singing
- DIY creations
Whenever you feel overwhelmed, turn to your outlet for relief. Doing creative or athletic endeavors releases calming chemicals in your brain which will help you feel better.
If you frequently get stressed out by homework and activities (who doesn’t?) then you might benefit from taking the time to organize your life. Invest in a planner you’ll actually use and write down everything you need to get done in order of importance. Having things written out sometimes lessens the burden in your mind because you can visually see how much you still need to do. Tip: write down things you’ve already done when you create to-do lists, because you will feel more motivated and accomplished.
Eating bad foods only will add to your anxiety. Treat your body with kindness. I don’t mean you need to completely devote yourself to a perfect diet, but do be conscious with what you eat. When you’re anxious, your body will likely crave sugar, but try to resist. Brain food will keep your mind and body sharp. Try substituting an unhealthy snack with fruit, yogurt, or grains.
Things always seem the worst right before bed, but much clearer in the morning after a good nights sleep. It might be super hard to throw in the towel and go to sleep, but it does wonders for your mental state. Have trouble sleeping when anxious? Drink some nighttime tea at night, like chamomile. Dim the lights around your house to trick your body into thinking it’s time to go to bed. Put away your electronics and pick up a book to read in bed. Sleep will come.
Anxiety is hard
Realize that anxiety is the worst. You aren’t in this alone, though it may seem that way at the time. Realize that anxiety sucks and it isn’t your fault. Be kind to yourself. If it persists and gets worse, it might be beneficial to speak to a counselor. Your college probably provides several for free, and I highly recommend making an appointment, even if you think you’re dealing with something petty and small. I had a friend who used to go to talk to a counselor on a monthly basis even if nothing pressing was happening in her life, sometimes it’s just nice to talk to someone for an hour.
How do you deal with anxiety?