Being a student is supposed to be one of the best times of your life, but between juggling deadlines and exams, money worries, erratic routines, and shared accommodation, it can quickly become a stressful experience. Find out five practical ways you can manage anxiety and stress below.
Identify what triggers your anxiety
The best starting point for managing stress and anxiety is trying to get a better understanding of it. There are many different types of anxiety with a variety of causes, but if you’re able to understand which type you’re experiencing it puts you in a better position to manage it.
It can also help to keep a diary and note down when you feel most anxious or stressed — where you are, what you’re doing, and exactly how you’re feeling. You’ll be able to look back and get an idea of situations or events that trigger or exacerbate your anxiety. This will help you to avoid these triggers in the future or at least allow you to prepare and minimise the effect by knowing in advance.
Consider using medication
For some people, it’s worth considering medication to help manage stress and anxiety. There are several options, so it’s important to do research and talk to professionals so that you fully understand exactly which medication is right for you.
If you’re able to identify specific triggers and times that cause you to be stressed, propranolol is worth considering to help manage your anxiety. Propranolol can be taken before a stressful situation to help reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety such as shaking, sweating, and an increased heart rate.
However, there are certain things you need to be aware of first, particularly the potential impact of mixing propranolol and alcohol. Propranolol is a beta blocker, so it slows your heart and lowers your blood pressure, and combined with alcohol which also reduces blood pressure, it can become dangerously low.
Low blood pressure can make you feel lightheaded, give you bad headaches, and even cause sickness and fainting. It’s important to understand the possible risks and take this into account.
If you do decide to use anti-anxiety medications take some time to find the right type, and view it as something to help you manage, not cure, your anxiety. Once you’ve managed to get through stressful situations a few times, you should start to feel less anxious about them in the future.
Try to stay organised
Life as a student is busy and chaotic, but if you’re experiencing stress and anxiety then trying to get your life in order is going to make a real difference. When you’re surrounded by clutter and mess it can have a noticeable impact on your mental state. Tidying up and avoiding piles of paperwork and notes stacking up can help you to feel more in control.
Start by clearing out your room, set yourself up with a tidy desk space to work at, and keep your notes and books organised. It also helps to use a calendar to stay on top of your schedule so deadlines don’t creep up on you. And if you’ve got a heavy workload then plan out your time, allocating certain hours to work on different projects or coursework can help break it down so that it seems more manageable.
Meditation and mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness are becoming an increasingly popular way to help manage stress and anxiety. These can help you to redirect your thoughts and focus on more positive habits and feelings, stopping your mind from wandering to other things.
If you’re new to these practices then there are several apps such as Headspace that offer guided meditation exercises. These sessions are designed to help you overcome stress, improve your focus, and enable you to sleep better. This can put you in a better position to overcome stressful situations and manage your anxiety.
Improving your sleeping habits is also going to help with managing anxiety. While student life is built on erratic sleeping patterns, all night study sessions and frequent lie-ins, getting into a better routine, unwinding properly, and trying to get a few extra hours of sleep can make a big difference.
Exercising is going to be another practical way to manage your stress and anxiety levels. It gets you moving about, and even outside, and gives you a break from whatever might be causing you stress so you can get some perspective on the situation.
Plus, exercising releases hormones that boost your mood such as endorphins and dopamine. If you struggle to find the motivation to exercise or find the idea of going to the gym a bit overwhelming then try using an app like Fiit that guides you through workouts at home. Exercise will also help improve your focus and motivation so you’re better equipped to deal with your anxiety.
As well as regular exercise, it’s also good to at least try and eat a balanced diet — eat a healthy breakfast, grab a piece of fruit instead of chocolate, cook more meals from scratch, and drink more water.
If you’re struggling to manage anxiety and stress as a student then try to follow these tips, focus on understanding and minimising stressful situations, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.