Wednesday, May 7, 2014

7 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety

Before coming to college, I definitely thought it was going to be easier than say, how it appeared to be in Legally Blonde. Don't get me wrong, LOVE that movie. It just set me up with unrealistic expectations. Elle gets into Harvard Law with some studying, but mostly by a miracle, and has some hardships at first, and then again, by some miracle discovers that she was meant to be a lawyer.

College has been far from amazing for me. I've either been on one extreme side of the spectrum for my entire college career-- caring too much, or, caring too little. The struggle has been with me since the first day of freshman year. I didn't try to full on tackle the issue until the start of junior year.

I know that the second to last full week of classes is one of the hardest weeks of each semester, and I've never had to leave a class in order to avoid having a full-blown anxiety attack-- until a few weeks ago.

Between e-mails involving internship matters, dealing with group projects, forgetting I had a homework assignment due, and so on and so forth, I legitimately thought I was going to freak out on my professor as I sat there while she questioned me in front of our entire class as to why I couldn't make it to this one part of a project we'd been working on. She did this regardless of the fact that the remaining three members of my group were able to make it!

So when I got home from work, I tried to dive back into all the work I needed to be doing. I think it was maybe two minutes before the tears started flowing, and I tried to hold them back, but I ended up walking away from my computer and heading up to my room to cry. It was just one of those weeks where I was flat out overwhelmed.

It was horrible and there are few things I dislike more than feeling absolutely out of control. I felt out of control the entire week... Cue the deep breathing and unending attempts at avoiding full-blown panic.

7 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety

1. Meditate. Anytime, anywhere, meditate. I mostly do it at night right before bed, but if I'm feeling particularly stressed I literally have to force myself to just take five minutes to breathe and collect myself.

2. Let the little things go. I'm the kind of person who takes on other people's emotions when they're stressed. If my friend is upset, I'm upset for them. I literally fret about things that are completely out of my control, and I've had to learn to recognize those tiny triggers in order to keep myself on track. Worry about the small things when you actually have the time to worry about them! Otherwise, they can wait.

3. Get your zzzz's. Yay sleep! I love it. Naps? The best. If I could take one every day I would. Getting into bed at the end of a long day is such a good feeling. My friends hate on me for going to bed so early but I know I'm a monster without seven to nine hours of sleep a night.

4. Make a to-do list and prioritize. I make to-do lists based on what needs to get done first and foremost and what might be able to wait a little while. Often times I do it first thing Monday so that I can see what the remainder of the week is going to look like. It makes me feel so much more in control!

5. Exercise. I know when we're stressed fitting exercise in can seem like a pain, but when I reach a certain level of exhaustion or panic, I actually look forward to hitting the pavement and sweating it out. Besides, it's nice to take a break away from my phone and escape the e-mails and texts!

Note: Regretfully, exercise does not always make the cut. But the only workouts I've ever regretted really are the ones I didn't do, food for thought :)

6. Talk it out. I have a few friends in mind who I constantly go to when things feel like they're upside down. We don't even talk about what's stressing me out sometimes. Sometimes we just catch up, and sometimes just taking my mind off of everything that's bothering me for a 20 minute conversation with a girlfriend is the greatest stress reliever.

7. Recognize what you can and can't do. 
I'm a "yes" person. If my boss wants me to get something done, I'll get it done without hesitation. Don't get me wrong, it's a really great thing. But there have been times when I've bit off more than I can chew, and my work has taken a hit for it. There are times when it's ok to say "no". You've got to pick and choose your battles wisely. Say no to everything for crying out loud! Just do it respectfully and don't burn any bridges. (But, if you absolutely have to do something for work, school, etc., don't say no. Just suck it up and get it done. You'll thank yourself later!)

Finals are almost over! We got this!

xo, Emily

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