How Students Can Manage Anxiety During the Age of COVID
Student life can be stressful enough with heavy workloads and tight deadlines, but with the added pressure of COVID-19 many people are struggling. We’ve put together some tips for how students can manage anxiety during the age of COVID.
To start getting a handle on your anxiety you need to understand what triggers it in the first place. If it’s not immediately obvious try keeping a diary and write down when you start to feel anxious and everything about the situation — where you are, what you’re doing, and exactly how you are feeling.
Looking back at your notes will help you to identify patterns so you can get an idea of what triggers your anxiety. Once you’ve discovered what triggers feelings of anxiety and stress, try to avoid those situations.
Some general steps you can take to avoid triggers are to limit the number of times you check the news. Reading the latest updates about COVID usually leaves us with more questions than answers, and if you’re feeling anxious it can often make you feel worse.
Talk to people like your friends, family, or tutor and explain what you’re feeling and what triggers your anxiety. They may be able to help avoid stressful situations and know how to reassure you when you start to feel overwhelmed.
If your anxiety is becoming unmanageable, or there are certain stressful situations that you can’t do anything to avoid, then it could be worth looking into medication to help you manage it. For example, when you know you’re going to be in a situation that triggers anxiety, something like propranolol can help to reduce the symptoms such as shaking and sweating.
But as with any medication, it’s important to fully understand all the implications and possible side effects, such as the potential impact of mixing propranolol and alcohol. It’s a beta blocker, which means it slows down your heart and lowers your blood pressure. So if you combine propranolol and alcohol, which also reduces blood pressure, it can be dangerous. When your blood pressure is too low you can feel light-headed, or it can cause you to throw up or faint.
There is a range of different medications available to help with anxiety so it’s important to discuss your options with a professional. And be aware that most medications aren’t a long term solution, they will help you to overcome your anxiety so that you feel less overwhelmed or stressed out by those situations in the future.
It’s easy to slip into bad habits and stop taking care of yourself as a student, especially with COVID restrictions limiting what you can do. But self-care is an important part of managing anxiety and dealing with lockdowns.
Focus on eating well, exercising, staying on top of your workload, and getting enough sleep will make a huge difference to how you are feeling. Avoid junk food and takeaways, and try to eat healthy meals to ensure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals.
Try to get out for at least a short walk each day, and try doing home workouts a few times a week — exercising releases mood-boosting hormones like endorphins plus it can help improve your focus. There are plenty of free online home workouts you can follow to keep you moving even when the gym is closed.
Set yourself with a relaxing routine in the evening so that you can unwind. Avoid looking at screens for at least an hour before bed so that you can switch off properly and sleep better. Getting enough rest puts you in a much better mood and helps manage anxiety.
You may also find meditation and mindfulness techniques can help you to manage your anxiety. These let you refocus your thoughts away from those that might be stressful or overwhelming.
It’s natural to feel stressed and overwhelmed as the COVID pandemic continues, but it’s important to find ways to deal with and overcome your anxiety. Follow these tips so you can identify your triggers and be better equipped to manage anxiety.
17 Nov 2020, 15:25 PM