10 Ways to Manage Anxiety Without Medication During the Semester
Learning to manage anxiety can be a lifelong skill that requires many different approaches. While there are many effective medications out there on the market, and you should be speaking to your doctor if unable to manage, there are many prescriptionless techniques that you can employ from day one of your college career.
In this article, we’ll be exploring what some of those options are. They’re not only great for stress relief and anxiety levels. They’re also great for your overall health. Let’s begin!
1. Hit the Gym
The best place to start when it comes to managing anxiety and stress is the gym. It can be tough making the time for it, but once you do, you won’t regret it.
Of course, by “gym,” we mean exercise. You don’t have to have a membership anywhere. Your gym could be in a bedroom at home or out on the street running your neighborhood.
Whatever you choose to do, make a routine of it. The longer you stick with that routine, the better you’ll feel and the better off you’ll be. That’s because exercise releases endorphins that have mental health benefits. Physically, it also helps you build muscle, lose weight, and boost energy.
2. Manage Your Finances
Bad financial decisions can set you up for failure in other areas of your life (career, marriage, mental health). They can also hit you early and take years to recover from.
Think about all the credit card offers you get your freshman year. All the incentives to sign up for fake money that encourages you to buy things you can’t afford now and pay for them later. Except you may not have the finances to pay for them now or later!
Learning financial literacy skills earlier in life can keep you on the road to financial stability forever. Never buy anything you can’t afford to pay off by the end of the month, unless it’s a big purchase that will help you earn money (an automobile in some cases) or build wealth (a home).
Following this approach will give you one less thing to worry about as you progress through your college or training. Don’t fall into the temptation otherwise!
3. Prioritize Sleep
Sleep is another great way to manage anxiety. That’s because it gives your body and mind time to rest, recover from the demands placed on them throughout the day, and solve problems that require creativity and cognition.
How do you make time for sleep, and how much do you need? The way to make time for sleep is simple. You just commit to going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning (give or take a few minutes here and there). It requires routine to be effective!
When you do fall asleep, try to do so without the aid of any stimuli (the TV, audiobooks, etc.). As for the question of how much you will need, the general consensus is eight hours per night. Obviously, this will vary depending on your particular makeup.
And only you know the right answer. Don’t base your sleep patterns off what you would like to think about yourself. Base them off what your body is actually telling you!
4. Eat a Balanced Diet
Certain foods offer physical and mental benefits while others mess with your mind and make you feel crummy about yourself. Learn to taste foods with your whole body.
That means realizing how they make you feel after getting past your taste buds. If you commit to doing this, we promise you that you’ll be eating more fruits, veggies, and lean proteins.
Otherwise, you could find yourself experiencing the high highs and low lows of added sugars and carbohydrates. Your body also doesn’t know how to break down processed foods as well, meaning that you could feel like you’re getting enough of what you need but not absorbing the proper amount of nutrients.
Sticking with fresh foods, every suggested food group, and moderate amounts each meal will save you the headache. (Both figuratively and literally!)
5. Spend Time Outside
Spending time outside is helpful in a number of ways. First, it encourages more activity and exertion, which can make you feel better and be more confident with who you are. Secondly, it enables you to get more sunlight, which is helpful in getting your body to produce the Vitamin D that it needs to thrive.
You don’t have to do anything extra special to benefit from being outside more. You don’t even have to put down your phone, although it’s a good idea to (more on that in a bit).
Try to study or go out to eat in places with outdoor seating, weather permitting. Park a little further away from the buildings you walk in to soak up a little more. Steal those little moments to boost your outside time.
6. Conscientiously Disconnect
Conscientiously disconnecting means putting down your phone, silencing it, and/or taking every effort you can to not be “plugged in” to the world around you. Let’s face it. These little electronic rectangles take up way too much of our lives.
A constant barrage of emails, text messages, push notifications, and messaging apps, ensure that we’re always within the reach of someone. It might be convenient for them (and sometimes you, if you need to reach someone in a hurry). However, it creates a race to the bottom of the energy barrel.
It gives you little time and space to get lost on the cognitive work that so many of your classes demand of you. As a result, you find yourself needing to manage anxiety or risk burnout.
Take steps to mitigate the problem. Let the people in your life know that you will be unavailable at certain times each day. Then, adjust your settings to restrict the flow of messages and “dings” that you’re likely to experience throughout the times of day where you’re unobligated.
7. Make Time for Friends
Social relationships are as important as anything else that you’ll encounter in college or trade school. They give you a chance to step away from the formal demands of the classroom.
They also help you to learn from other people of shared or different interests. And they give you the opportunity to explore what you’re willing (and unwilling) to accept from a friendship or a relationship.
They encourage fun, but they also help you come of age and grow into the person that you’re supposed to be. We don’t know who we are until we get a chance to experience how we are with the outside world. That’s one of the most valuable things that your friendships and interactions will afford you.
Yes, you read that right. Go out on some dates with the gender of your choice. Figure out what it’s like to explore relationship possibilities with various personalities and mindsets.
You don’t have to actually enter into anything serious. In fact, at this stage, it’s probably not a good idea. But you can get a good sense of what you want from future relationships by exploring the possibilities now.
This will help you have greater clarity as you progress in your career and lifestyle design. It will also help you to avoid the pitfalls that can lead to breakups or divorce, both of which have repercussions in other areas of life.
9. Carve Out Time for Entertainment
What do you like to do for fun? It can be something as low-key as finding a show to binge on Netflix, a book to read or listen to from your local library, or simply pursuing pastimes of your choosing.
Whatever it is, make time for it. You’re not wasting a moment of your life if you’re engaging with something that you enjoy. At least, you’re not so long as you’re keeping other obligations in check.
Entertainment allows you to recharge your mental, emotional, and physical batteries. As a result, you’re able to better interact with others and tend to the obligations that you face each day. Otherwise, it would be impossible to keep from getting burned out.
10. Stay Productive
Being productive comes much easier when you’re learning to manage anxiety. It also proves to be one of the greatest tools for managing itself. That’s because the demands on your time and energy never get the chance to pile up and make you feel as if you’re missing something important.
Along the way, you should be finding ways to work smarter and not harder. Use technology to your advantage. Reach out to actual human resources. Capitalize on the wealth of other tools available from your local library or bookstore.
Incorporate applications or your own handwritten system for managing to-do lists. The more effort you put into staying productive, the more time you’re going to have for relaxation and the other edifying things of life.
These Tips to Manage Anxiety Will Make Your Semester a Success
There is no right way to manage anxiety, but it helps to start with what is familiar and comfortable to you. Many of the suggestions on this list will be just the catalyst that you need to find your own methods of coping to the best of your abilities.
You don’t have to do one, all, or any of them to see results. As long as you’re getting in touch with yourself and paying attention to stress as it arises, you can find a path that works best.
Now it’s your turn, readers. What are some helpful tips that you would like to share about how you’ve been able to manage anxiety? Sound off in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Pixabay Creative Commons License]