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Tips on Managing Anxiety
As many post-secondary students approach the final month of the term it's understandable why many would feel anxious and overwhelmed. With finals, a pandemic, extensive coursework and other daily stressors, life just seems to be pressing in too hard and too fast.
Here are some great tips to maintain mindfulness and promote healthy thinking.
Write a letter to yourself
Start each day with a love letter to yourself that speaks to your strengths, achievements and self-confidence. It doesn’t have to be an essay, it can be as short as a few sentences. Start your day right by having a positive outlook on yourself and what you hope to achieve.
Putting your thoughts on paper is a great way to declutter your mind and restructure your thinking. Journaling throughout the day will help manage your anxious thoughts, reducing the negative impact they have on your mind. Journaling can happen at any point of the day and it can span for any time frame. Try journaling for seven days using your favourite journaling prompts. See firsthand how your mind is able to release its anxiety and tension on paper, allowing for clearer focus and rational thinking.
Do what you love
Sometimes, what we need is a break from reality, and what better way to escape life’s problems than a fun hobby. This can include reading, baking, creative writing, photography or any other activity that relaxes your mind and makes you smile. Find something you can do alone or with friends. The key is to give yourself a break to calm and settle your mind, so when you’re relaxed, you’re able to take on the day with renewed energy and focus.
Inhale, hold and exhale, release. Repeat this mantra in your head for 5-10 minutes, holding each breath for 5 seconds. Feel free to adjust the time to whatever fits your needs. Deep breathing helps calm your body because it tells your brain to slow down and rest. When you feel overwhelmed and thoughts are overpowering your focus, take a step back and try breathing to settle yourself.
Get off Social Media
You heard that right. Log off Instagram, shut down your Snapchat and exit Twitter. It's time for a detox. Social media may be a great way to be plugged in, but studies have shown that there’s a strong link between social media and anxiety. Taking necessary breaks from your social platforms helps improve your mood and lower your anxiety levels. There is life beyond your screen anyways, so go out and enjoy it!
Do what you can to make sure you're getting enough sleep to feel rested. Create a sleep schedule and try sticking to it so you establish a routine.
A big source of anxiety is the fear of failure. Whether this fear is directed to school, relationships or other various endeavours, failure can be crippling and prevent you from reaching your full potential. Start seeing failure as an opportunity for learning and growth instead of a hindrance to your life. Failure is necessary for your life. As soon as you embrace it and learn to work with it to achieve your goals, the sooner you can overcome your fear and manage your anxiety.
Anxiety can be overwhelming but it’s definitely manageable. These tips can help you get started in your anxiety-free journey. Don’t let the hard days win.
Netanya is currently a Media and Public Interest student at Western University, and is doing a placement with mindyourmind. She is from the GTA and is passionate about all things mental health, storytelling and empowerment.
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