After successfully getting through my first year, I thought I’d share my tips on coping with anxiety at university. These tips are not exhaustive and are just things that have helped me throughout the year which may be of use to you too! 🙂
- Make some friends – It can be comforting to have friends and share worries with – you’ll usually find you’re not the only one with these worries.
- Join a club – whether it’s a society or a sports team, joining a club will help you feel like part of a community and is a fantastic way to make new friends.
- Make use of the universities counseling and wellbeing teams! 🙂 They’re trained to listen and help you, take advantage of that.
- Don’t overwork yourself, find time to relax. Have a bubble bath, read a book, or go to the movies with your friends.
- Make a list of what worries you, and take steps to resolve them. E.g. essay writing workshops if you’re worried about essay writing, start your seminar reading early if you’re worried about the quality of your contributions, or work out a realistic weekly budget if you’re worried about finance.
- If you’re worried about your performance in class or don’t understand something, ask your lecturers for help – they want you to succeed.
- Make sure you’re eating. A lot of people with anxiety either overeat or don’t realise they’re hungry and just don’t eat. Eating is very important to keep healthy. If it helps, set meal times throughout the day to keep on track.
- Exercise! The endorphin release helps relieve anxiety and depression. Even if you only do a little, it’s better than nothing! 🙂 Attend the sports societies taster days to try a new sport for free before you pay the membership fee! 🙂
- Distraction. My GP recommended keeping a hair tie around my wrist, then when I was feeling anxious I could twang it. He said the physical sensation it creates distracts the body away from the anxiety. Alternatively, you can always try to think of something else like reciting as many types of something as possible.
- Get organised. Being organised get really relieve the pressure. By knowing exactly what social events, assignments, etc. are coming up, you can plan more effectively. Also, it really helps if you prioritise your workload (either by the due date or its weighing for the module if the deadlines are close). Create assignment plans to make the research easier to handle!
- Set reminders so you don’t worry about forgetting deadlines and appointments.
- Watch your favourite tv shows. Have a night in with a takeaway and your favourite movie/tv show. Enough said 😉
- Listen to some music. Whether it’s rock, pop, soul, or classical, music is proven to relieve anxiety. Pop your favourite music on and unwind.
- Sing! Not everyone will like this, but it really helps me unwind! Pop your favourite song on and just sing, it doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad. I find singing really relaxes the body and it can help to sing emotional songs too to express some feelings. You don’t have to go all Westend, the shower or bedroom is fine! 🙂
- Start a worry journal. Put your worries in this journal throughout the day, then forget about them. You can create a set time during the day to go through your worries and see if they are still valid worries for you. It’s recommended that you do not do this second stage before bed! 🙂
- Meditate. Don’t underestimate this! Out of all these methods, this one has helped me the most (especially when I’m on the verge of having a panic attack). It really helps to silence your mind and relax your body. There are plenty of apps out there, such as Headspace, to help total beginners and those with experience meditate 🙂
- Give yourself extra time to do assignments and revision – Take into account your anxiety. By starting early, you’ll be ahead of the game.
- See your anxiety as an advantage – You already know what anxiety feels like, therefore when you get in your exams you’ll be less distracted than everyone else.
- Create study groups – Each person takes a topic and makes notes for a set period of time. At the end of the session, everyone shares notes! 🙂 Depending on the size of the group, you can get several sets of revision notes completed in one sitting, taking the pressure off you to do it all alone! 🙂
- See your doctor. Not only can a doctor provide a letter to let the university know about your condition (and therefore give you some leeway regarding deadlines), but they can also give you better tips on how to cope with anxiety that is more personal to you. If you’re genuinely worried about your anxiety or depression, always see a doctor.
Here’s an interesting article from StudentHut which may be of interest! 🙂 Apparently, a whopping 78% of university students have dealt with mental health problems while at uni. Shocking! 😐
I hope this post helps! 🙂
Is there anything you’d add to the list?