When I first moved to college, I noticed a steady increase in my anxiety. Leaving the comfort of my own home and moving away to a brand new city, I was anxious about so many things: making friends, passing my classes, adjusting to life without my parents, and so much more.
Over the past few years, my mental health has definitely had its ups and downs. Some weeks, I’d feel like I was doing really well in all aspects of my life, on the road toward success. Other weeks, I’d be completely overwhelmed by all of my responsibilities, and would fall into a mental shlump.
It’s important to note that having anxiety in college is totally normal. The initial transition from home life to college life can be incredibly anxiety provoking, and that’s okay. It’s also important to note that fluctuating mental health is also totally normal. We all go through difficult stages in our life, especially in college, but I’ve come to realize that it’s important to acknowledge our struggle with mental health rather than run from it.
Here are some of the best ways I’ve learned to deal with anxiety in college:
1. Practice self care. Now more than ever, it’s important to set aside time to do things that alleviate the stresses in your life. I’m the type of person who gets extremely anxious about deadlines and upcoming assignments. I always get in my own head, fearing failure if I don’t complete my work the second it's assigned. This is something I still struggle with a lot, but I now prioritize setting aside my work, and taking some time for myself. Whether that’s a TV break, scrolling through TikTok for an hour, or walking outside, I’ve made it a point to prioritize time for self care to keep me sane.
2. Take advantage of the resources on campus. The health center on your campus can be a great resource for you to talk to a confidant or attend a group therapy session and connect with people who are going through the same thing as you.3. Learn healthy coping skills. Everyone has a different way of dealing with the stresses and anxieties in their lives, so it’s important to navigate different ways you can cope with your anxiety. Some of the best skills I’ve learned to help me cope with my anxiety include the following:
- Breaking down my long to-do lists into small, manageable lists
- Checking in with myself daily
- Learning how to stop, close my eyes, and take deep breaths when I begin to feel anxious
4. Stay in touch with your therapist from back home. One of the things that helped me smoothly transition to college was being able to keep in touch with my therapist back home.
Mental health will always fluctuate depending on external and internal factors of life. That's why it’s so important to understand the ways we can cope with it. Remember, you have survived 100% of the bad days you’ve had so far. You got this.
Written by: Jordan Peterkofsky