As the second wave of midterms comes crashing upon us, the feelings of anxiety and stress that come with seem to push you under. Classes are now very much in full swing, and homework is piling up.
I was sitting in a friend's room one night as she awaited the results of her midterm exam. We began talking about how we had been dealing with a lot of anxiety since arriving at college and how the combination of classes, homework, social events, work and all the other things that come along with being a college student was getting to be too much. It made me think about how we must not be the only people dealing with these feelings, and that my fellow peers could also be struggling with anxiety.
It took me a while to find ways to relieve stress or calm myself down when I start to feel anxious. However, finding a few practices that help when you are feeling stressed out can be very beneficial for your mental health, and it can allow you to focus on more important aspects of your life. I am by no means a professional, but through my own personal struggles, I was able to come up with three ways you can reduce stress and anxiety in your own life.
1. Getting enough sleep
Your sleeping patterns can actually be more detrimental than most people think. Getting enough sleep can help you not only be able to focus better, but it also can be beneficial to your mental health. Anxiety is frequently connected to sleeping problems, and excess worry makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Sleep deprivation can worsen anxiety, spurring a negative cycle involving insomnia and anxiety disorders.
Meditation and yoga are both great ways to handle anxiety and stress. They involve different types of breathwork that can help slow the heart rate and calm you down. There are a lot of apps (eg. Calm app) that have different sessions to handle different types of feelings and situations. Doing a quick 10-20 minute session doesn’t take up much of your day but it can alleviate anxious feelings. Meditating every day can also boost your motivation and productivity. There are even yoga classes offered through RecWell, the Memorial Union and a class you can take for credit.
3. Mindless Activities/Hobbies
I know this might seem odd to say because it seems like adding a hobby is just adding one more thing to your already very full plate, but having something that you enjoy doing won’t feel like a chore. Mindless activities (eg. coloring, painting, knitting) can help you give your brain a break and relax you when you are stressed. Sometimes the best way to alleviate anxiety is to just stop thinking.