With the looming beginning of college, I wanted this article to serve as your friendly reminder to take care of yourself. Anxiety and depression are among the two most common mental health diagnoses among college students. While this is, in no way, a magic elixir that can cure you of anxiety, it might just be a little bit of help when you're needing that extra push.
1. Let's start with the obvious: Sleep. Eat.
Yes, chronically being fatigued or tired will make you absolutely miserable. Take it from a person who was, in fact, absolutely miserable during college because I didn't get enough sleep even on the weekends. Sleep was a luxury, not a commodity. Food was even more of a luxury - I would go hours skipping both breakfast and lunch, and occasionally dinner. Skipping any of this is just awful for you. Easier said than done, I know, but it's the first step to making sure you can function.
2. Time for you.
Yeah, 10 or 20 minutes before bed, look at I Can haz Cheezburger. Or your favorite YouTube channel. Read. Do anything aside from schoolwork. Because guess what? It'll still be there in four hours or six hours or hopefully 9 hours. It's not going anywhere unless you've saved the file to the recycle bin or some strange folder out of exhaustion. Unwinding before bed is probably something I consider important to not freak out over schoolwork.
Personally, meditating makes me more anxious - sitting there trying to purposefully not be anxious is making me more anxious. It's like the anxirty matrix. But for some, it works and it works well. People swear by it's ability to work. Even if you just take the time during a class break to sit and meditate. Meditate for a minute in the bathroom. Something. Anything.
4. Use CBT.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is just another way to get yourself to change your way of thinking if you're don't feel optimistic. It involves actively challenging your thoughts and making a plan to consistently change them. It's something that takes a fair amount of discipline to do effectively, but it is also helpful for the stresses of school.
Even if it's one stationary bike night once a week for 15 minutes. Or one 30 minute treadmill walk. Exercise is a means to make you feel better because it releases "happy chemicals" in your brain, for a lack of a more complex term. Going for walks can help reduce your stress and organize your thoughts.
6. Showers and baths.
No explanation needed. A scalding hot shower that makes you look like a lobster says enough.
7. Surround yourself with people who care.
Or if you prefer being alone - then don't.