The last few years were tough on all of us, and we’ve all dealt with our own hardships differently. Now that most schools have returned to being in person full-time, some students might be struggling with transitioning away from the comforts of remote, virtual learning. According to the Mayo Clinic, more than 40% of college students have reported suffering from symptoms of anxiety and depression; an increase in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether you’ve suffered from anxiety in the past or you’re experiencing it for the first time as you return to school this year, here are some tips to help you manage.
Your school’s health services department is a great place to get some support as you start the school year. Typically, such services are available to students all year-round, so you can make inquiries and explore their offerings even before you arrive for your first day of school. It’s also worth noting that since the Covid-19 pandemic, many schools have greatly expanded their mental health services offerings, so your school should be able to adequately accommodate you.
Most schools have counseling available to their students, whether it’s in-house one on one counseling, group workshops, or virtual events. Certain schools have partnered with telehealth providers, which is a particularly convenient option for busy students, and for students who are attending college in remote locations. Additionally, telehealth solutions may be more suitable for students who are suffering from anxiety, as they can practice more control over certain aspects of their appointments.
Lastly, most schools offer some sort of crisis hotline for their students. More times than not these hotlines are a 24/7 service, which can be helpful for emergencies or during times when counseling isn’t available. Depending on your school, you should have access to either all or some combination of these services.
Build A Support System
A solid support system is all about having people around you that you can go to. Friends who can relate to your lifestyle, your goals, and your challenges are great because you can spend time on shared interests, while being able to rely on each other when things get tough. Keeping in contact with trusted friends and family members can go a long way to easing anxiety, and after school activities are a welcome distraction from any troubles you may be experiencing.
Your school no doubt has many clubs to join and events to attend. Extracurricular events are a great way to meet new people and stay active, which is key to mitigating feelings of anxiety. When you’re around people who share similar interests, you’ll get that warm, fuzzy feeling of belonging, and while you’re investing time in said interests, you’ll keep negative thought patterns at bay. If you’ve got a good group of friends, keep an open group chat going where everyone can share ideas, talk about solutions to problems, or just shoot the breeze. Don’t be afraid to tell someone if something is wrong or that you’re not feeling well-good friends will be there for you to see it through.
We talk about this a lot, but it always bears repeating. One of the most effective ways to reduce anxiety is by taking care of your health. Exercise will boost your mood and give you more energy, and a healthy diet will make you feel great. If you don’t exercise, now is a good time to start. You don’t have to be Charles Atlas, and even a simple routine such as a daily walk or jog is enough to have a positive impact on your health.
With all your classes, studying, and those activities you signed up for, you’ll be very busy. Knowing when to rest is very important, and a good night’s sleep will set the tone for the next day. Rest can also mean taking time for yourself, whether it’s a personal hobby, a relaxing evening at home, or simply unplugging yourself from your phone or social media, give yourself plenty of opportunities to unwind and recharge.
If you’re suffering from anxiety, it can sometimes feel like the walls are closing in. Thankfully, there are resources at your disposal that can help you to be better equipped to deal with it. Remember, there is absolutely no shame in reaching out to your school’s health services department, or to a friend or family member in the event you need some help. With a good strategy in place, you’ll feel more confident and you’ll have a great school year.