Managing Anxiety In College

College students face a number of stressors in their daily lives. Every college student has a different background, and as a result of this, alongside other factors, every college student has different obligations. For many, it all feels like too much, and the stressors of daily life can lead to or exacerbate anxiety. According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is a top concern for college students, with 41.6% of students impacted.

Tips For Anxiety Management

With the percentage of college students affected by anxiety in mind, you might wonder, “What can I do?” Taking care of your mental health is crucial, and it is possible to do it while in school. Here are some tips for managing anxiety in college:

Prioritize Sleep

Research shows that lacking even 1-2 hours of sleep puts you at a greater risk of getting into a car accident. There are a number of detriments that can come with a lack of sleep, including but not limited to changes in mood, depression, anxiety, irritability, and a lower GPA. Use good sleep hygiene by:

  • Limiting alcohol.
  • Limiting caffeine, especially later in the day.
  • Sleeping in a comfortable, cool room.
  • Avoiding blue light from electronics before bed.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine.

It is also beneficial to fall asleep and wake up at roughly the same time each day.

Create A Schedule That Works For You

It’s important to create a schedule that works for you – not someone else – to the best of your ability. It’s easy to get caught up in comparison, especially as a college student. When you create your schedule for the quarter, keep your needs and the way you function best in mind. For some people, that means morning classes, and for others, that means scheduling classes for later in the day. This is also true for setting a schedule throughout the week, or even scheduling a single day. Use time management skills, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professor or staff member for help or accommodations when needed. A work-life balance isn’t just for those out of college; whether you are working while in college or focusing on studies and other school-related obligations independently, this is crucial.

Establish A Kind Inner Voice

There are times, such as finals week, where things will be particularly high stress, and during those times, it is vital to use extra self-care. Establishing a kind, supportive, and compassionate inner voice is helpful not just some but all of the time, and it’s known that positive self-talk can be helpful for anxiety management in many cases. You may use mantras such as, “I can only do what I can do” or come up with your own sayings that are uniquely helpful for you. Overall, it can be incredibly beneficial to work on having a kind, forgiving inner voice that helps you to work through any cognitive distortions that may be coming up, such as all or nothing thinking, and put things into perspective. This is a skill that you won’t just use in college, but for the rest of your life. It will help you achieve things and move through the world while being compassionate with yourself.

Check In With Yourself

Make it a habit to check in with yourself, both your physical body and your mind, and ask yourself, “what do I need?” on a daily basis. It is important to take the time to tend to your own needs, especially since some college students have a very high number of obligations and might forget to use self-care, whether that means sleeping enough, drinking water, eating regularly, making time for social relationships, going to bed an hour earlier that night, or taking time for yourself. Additionally, if something in your life is starting to impact your well-being emotionally or physically, it might be time to change it, so don’t shy away from that when it is something that is imperative to your health. This could be a toxic friendship or anything else. You are you, and your needs may differ from those of your peers. This is true for everyone, but especially if you’re living with an anxiety disorder or going through something others might not be, remember to attend to your needs, and don’t feel bad for doing so.

Know How To Reach Out

We hear the words “reach out” a lot when talking about mental health and accessing mental health resources, but it’s essential to know how to get access to those resources. Whether you need support with anxiety management, stress, or anything else that’s going on, make sure that you do reach out for help when you need it. On-campus resources are often an excellent way to get support as a college student. You may have a counseling center on campus, or you may reach out for support in another way. If you have health insurance, you may reach out to your insurance company to learn about the mental health services they cover, or you may go to your primary care doctor to ask for a referral. Online therapy or counseling is another option. Online therapy through a reputable website is an excellent way to get the support that you need from the privacy of your own home, and it’s often more affordable than traditional in-person care is in the absence of health insurance. Know that you have the power to reach out and that there’s nothing to be ashamed of, no matter what you are facing.

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

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