Student Stress: How to Handle Anxiety in College

College has its fair share of obstacles, and something almost every student experiences is anxiety. It never feels like you have enough time to complete your assignments, study for exams, hang out with friends, or let alone – have time for yourself! The stress can really get to you and be overwhelming. Despite the fact, you can overcome college anxiety with the right strategies and still maintain emotional well-being.

Keep reading below to learn how to handle anxiety in college:

1. Seek support

Support can come in many forms: friends, family, counselors, professors, and even professional guidance from a therapist. No matter whose support you seek, being able to articulate your thoughts and emotions aloud lifts a weight off your shoulders and gives validations to your concerns. Subsequently, the person you trust can offer their feedback and opinion on your current circumstances, or simply remind you that everything is going to be okay.

2. Use healthy coping mechanisms

When stressed, it’s easy to fall into the temptation of using unhealthy coping mechanisms such as binge drinking or doing drugs. Thankfully, there are harm reduction techniques that do not compromise your safety or well-being: exercising, journaling, and spending time with friends – to name a few examples. These coping mechanisms are both healthy and beneficial; while they provide a distraction from anxiety and stress, they do not worsen them. Healthy coping mechanisms give you space and time to decompress from stress and anxiety in order to face them with a calmer and more rational state of mind when ready.  

3. Learn how to time-manage efficiently

When following a college schedule, it’s normal to feel you never have enough time. The truth is, you do! The number one thing you need to combat this is to develop efficient time-managing skills. Take a moment out of your busy day to sit with your schedule and reflect on current activities. Prioritize parts of your day by importance: for example, set aside finishing assignments and studying during the most productive part of your day, which may be the early morning in your case, but make sure to carve out a block of time to spend time in solitude or see your friends right before dinnertime. Most of all, stay on a solid sleep schedule!

4. Establish a self-care routine

Commit to taking care of yourself every day! A self-care routine includes keeping up with personal hygiene, eating three meals a day, getting enough sleep, and wearing clothes that make you feel confident. Self-care shouldn’t be put on the back-burner or seen as a chore. It’s an act of self-love which gives you the strength to always put your best foot forward.

5. Fall back on a hobby or passion

Outside of academics, what do you enjoy doing? Whatever that hobby or passion may be, don’t stop pursuing it. They provide solace to the busy and stressful schedule you need to follow during college and remind you there’s more to your days than just studying for exams or writing an infinite number of essays. Furthermore, hobbies and passions make you happy! You don’t need to be perfect at them nor do they require a grade to demonstrate your capabilities. They exist for the sole purpose of giving you fulfillment.

6. Don’t feel embarrassed for experiencing anxiety

Last but not least, don’t feel embarrassed about experiencing anxiety – everyone in college does. It’s intimidating to believe that everyone has themselves together around you – but the truth is, everyone is trying to survive college too! The most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone with your struggles, and just because you experience anxiety does not make you any less of a person nor an immature one. Anxiety and stress are inevitable in life, but what matters most is how we approach and cope with them.

In a nutshell: college is stressful! But despite the fact, it’s rewarding. We’re all working hard in the classroom so that after graduation, we’re ready to apply our learned skills and knowledge into thriving professional careers and shape the rest of our lives.

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