Career Advice for Job Seekers

Tactics to melt away anxiety for stressed out students

Steven Rothberg AvatarSteven Rothberg
February 9, 2021

By Stacy Walden of Siege Media

Building positive mental health habits while juggling school, work, and other responsibilities was enough of a challenge before 2020. Following the onslaught of a global pandemic, this challenge has grown even more daunting, with a study revealing 81% of students reporting much higher stress levels in the midst of these challenging times. With blows to job prospects and pandemic-induced online schooling, this number is understandable.

However, there is reason to be hopeful.

Today, the world is more aware of the importance of mental health and stress management than ever before. From professional psychologists to relaxation gurus on social media, there are a wide variety of resources available to help struggling students develop habits that soothe anxiety and improve quality of life, even when responsibilities feel overwhelming.

While anxiety management is an ongoing process, we’ve found that taking steps to reduce anxiety after school and before bed is a great place to start.

  1. Make a Plan

One of the most common causes of anxiety is the absence of a plan. When we don’t have a structure for our day, it becomes much easier for our brains to fill in the blanks with worst case scenarios that wear us down, making it harder to sleep and be productive.

Author Steven Stosny suggests drafting a “next day to-do list.” By scribbling down a simple list in a notebook or journal before bed, your anxieties have less room to wander. Even if the day doesn’t go exactly as planned, building the outline of your day will provide you with some structure to fall back on.

As a student, you’re likely not only worrying about classes, but also life after graduation. Devote some time to studying tips to get an internship or job so that the beast of job hunting begins to feel a little less daunting.

  1. Soak Away your Worries

Naturopathic doctor Peter Bongiorno discusses the power of hydrotherapy, describing how taking a warm bath or a cold shower decreases stress hormones such as cortisol. Studies have even shown that water bathing may help balance your brain’s serotonin levels, providing you with the feel-good chemical that may add some peace and enjoyment to your day.

Whether you want to invigorate your brain with cold water or wind down with warm water, bathing is a great at-home method to take control of your mental health as you prepare for the coming workday.

  1. Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Meditation is a practice that centers your awareness on the present moment. Through breathing exercises, visualizations, and a deep attentiveness to your body, mind, and surroundings, meditation can help you develop a greater appreciation for day-to-day life and reduce depression and anxiety.

One study gathered two groups and trained one in sleep education and the other in mindfulness. After a six week period, the group that was trained in mindfulness reported less insomnia, fatigue, and depression than the other group.

If you’re new to meditation, try a guided meditation app! Check out the Waking Up app, Headspace, and many more. It just takes a few moments out of your morning or evening to develop a habit that is highly beneficial to overall wellness and stress management.

  1. Get to Know Yourself

Anxiety likes to buzz in the background. It tends to be a subconscious process that we aren’t aware of until someone points it out to us, asking, “Hey, are you feeling okay? You seem tense.” But one thing’s for sure‒ we feel it.

When you begin to feel the anxiety of the next day creeping up on you, whether it be an exam or a struggle with a friend or family member, it might be time to get introspective.

Journal how you’re feeling after class, listen to some music that feels right for the moment, and maybe even seek out the help of a friend or a therapist. When our minds get scrambled and start to weigh us down, it can work wonders to simply get those feelings out of our head and into words. Develop compassion for yourself and get the restful sleep you deserve.

Anxiety is a struggle that very few people ever fully conquer. Remember that whatever stress you’re feeling (especially as a student), you’re not alone. Learning how to talk about your feelings with peers is a great way to build a support network so that nobody feels alone in their battle with their mental health.

Ultimately, it takes a lot of practice to create the ideal personalized self-care regimen. Experiment with some of the ideas above, and develop a strategy that’s right for you.

— Stacy Walden is a Content Marketing Specialist for Siege Media and a student writer from sunny San Diego. She enjoys covering topics around wellness and helping other students improve their quality of life.

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