We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community and a few mental health experts to share the best ways to handle anxiety in college. And they had some really great tips.
Whether you suffer from overwhelming stress or Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), college can be a truly terrifying place when you add anxiety into the mix. But there are things you can do to help yourself. For starters, try these:
1. Plan ahead if you need to skip a class so it doesn't lead to MORE anxiety.
2. Embrace procrastination if that's what works for you.
3. Maybe consider not guzzling coffee, since that might be making you more anxious.
Caffeine can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety (like increased heartbeat, fidgeting, etc.), so drinking too much of it could make things worse, says Regine Galanti, Ph.D., director of The Center for Anxiety in Brooklyn. If you really need your coffee fix, try cutting half your usual cup with decaf. Or go completely decaf — despite popular belief, that actually does still have some caffeine.
4. Choose your classes strategically so you're not taking too many test-heavy/writing-heavy/project-heavy courses at the same time.
5. Switch up your study location every few hours.
6. Step away from an assignment when you're getting too stressed.
7. Find an organization method that works for you ASAP.
8. Stop pulling all-nighters.
9. Check out your campus resource center before you think you ~need~ to.
10. And if not, at least know when your anxiety is getting in the way of your life — and then seek out help.
11. Break up big projects into little, doable tasks so they're less overwhelming.
12. Ask your professors how they suggest studying for their class.
13. Schedule time to relax — otherwise, you'll never get around to it.
14. Ditto for seeing friends and socializing.
15. Let your self cry so you don't bottle it all up and explode later.
16. Carry around a sketchbook or notebook to doodle in when you're feeling wound up.
17. Prep some playlists that help you chill.
"I use music as a relaxation tool. I listen to different types of music depending on what I want to accomplish. Without my iTunes library I would be much more anxious and stressed."
Like these 19 songs that will wash away your stress.
18. Go outside for reasons other than getting to and from class at least once a day.
19. Acknowledge your anxiety instead of pressuring yourself to have all your shit together all the time.
20. Give yourself a schoolwork curfew — at least a few nights a week.
21. Find a mindless ritual like prepping tea or counting beads that'll calm you down when you get wound up.
22. Take five minutes each night to prep for tomorrow.
23. Keep yourself busy during times when you're prone to overthinking and stressing yourself out.
24. Get an app to help you feel like you have your shit together.
Apps aren't replacements for professional treatment, but there are a ton that help manage everyday symptoms. Check out these apps for anyone dealing with anxiety.