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As someone that has anxiety, I think it’s important to speak out about what it’s like and ways to help it. So many people struggle with mental health and don’t have good coping strategies. For me, I’m constantly overthinking things and always worrying about anything that I can add to my plate. Sometimes I’m so nervous I can’t focus in class or on homework. It can be a heavy weight on my shoulders and it doesn’t help when my thoughts are constantly in a huge knot and I don’t untangle them. As I’ve gotten older, I am working on not letting anxiety define me but rather, I find ways to cope with my stress levels and to be able to live my life without it taking over. I would like to offer you some suggestions to help with anxiety that have helped me.

Working Out

Working out is a great way to improve your confidence in yourself. You see yourself change over time and it allows you to have goals and get the reward of accomplishing them. You can do this a few times a week but you shouldn’t overdo it.

After a long stressful day, I need to just go into my own world so working out allows me to do that. Depending on how I’m feeling, I do cardio or I focus on a certain muscle group. For cardio, I enjoy running because I daydream and forget about everything for a bit. I recommend running on the track or outside instead of a treadmill because it can be boring if you don’t feel you are actually going anywhere. I love running because I enjoy seeing the progress of being able to run for longer distances. Again, it’s a great way to clear your mind and you can listen to music. Sometimes, I like to take the time to reflect on how my day went or I’ll sprint out my frustrations.

One type of workout that is more laidback is yoga. Some people might not think it’s difficult or that it doesn’t seem like a good workout, but it actually is. Depending on how confident you are with it, yoga takes a lot of body strength to hold certain poses. It’s also a perfect time to check up on yourself and see how your mind and body are feeling. We don’t always feel the stress and tense muscles that are hurting us. You can use this time to loosen up and relax. During yoga, you also work on breathing. Again, this time is for you to reflect on your needs and to help your body be prepared for the tasks that are coming up. If you are stressed and tense, you won’t be able to focus.

Another favorite workout or physical activity is dance. Dance is something I go to when I’m down or need to find a way to let out emotions. Dancing is a great workout if cardio or lifting weights sounds not so appealing. There are so many types of dance and many YouTube channels dedicated to teaching dance. I’ve learned Latino dances, contemporary-and hip-hop from videos. It can be really fun and a great way to learn new skills without the pressure of feeling like you will make mistakes in front of others. I find dance to be a great way to loosen up and just listen to your favorite songs. Even just having a dance party and singing along to your favorite music is just as great.

I find dance to be the best way to help me cope with stress or anxiety because I know I’ll get distracted by the beat of the music and it helps me calm myself down. Listening to music can help you ease your mind and prevent yourself from possibly having an attack.

Meditation

If yoga sounds like too much for you, there is meditation. This is solely working on breathing and your mindset. You can listen to someone speak and they will tell you when to breathe and what things you should think about. For example, they might say to think of a few things that have been going well for you, and then some things that you can do to make sure that those positive things continue. If you can’t find anything positive, then they might ask what is causing those things and what things you can do to change that. They also will tell you to simply clear your mind and focus on different parts of your body to have you figure out which parts of you need more healing or help to loosen up.

Another thing you can do is listen to what is considered “white noise.” This could be sounds like rain, nature, instruments without any lyrics, ASMR’s or literally silence. You can go at your own pace and choose how long you want to work on different breathing exercises. I tend to get a little distracted when I do these because my mind wanders quite often, so I tend to need to follow along with someone. These don’t have to be long sessions or anything. They can be five to ten minutes. You can always go longer if you wish to. At least for me, I can’t do more than maybe ten minutes where I’m fully focused, otherwise I find myself wondering about the things I need to do.

Skin Care

I like to use face masks to wrap up my night and to have some time to myself. School days are extremely stressful when I do homework and study for about five to seven hours a day. As I’m currently writing this, I’ve been sitting at the library for the last four hours doing homework. Ending my day with washing my face and having some type of routine really helps me relax and remind myself that I need to take care of myself. I have mentioned in another article the benefits of sheet masks but I believe that they can help reduce stress. The time you have while you leave it on can be time where you literally do nothing or go on your phone. It also leaves your skin feeling great and looking amazing. When you are stressed or have high levels of anxiety, you tend to break out more. This will help ease some of the breakouts and just give your skin the extra love it needs.

Shopping in person or Online

I know that might sound like a bad idea, but sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself to a little something. I enjoy going to target and setting a little goal of finding something five dollars or less that is cute or that I know will make me happy. If I order something online, it just makes me excited that I have something to look forward to. You deserve a gift sometimes because you earned it. Plus, who doesn’t like adding a stuffed animal to their collection! If you go with someone, it will be a fun memory and I find it enjoyable to look at the different stuff stores have. I love going and trying on clothes or looking at the video games. I don’t think you should do this constantly but once in awhile doesn’t hurt.

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Kaia Wolfe

Bradley U '25

Hello, My name is Kaia Wolfe! I'm currently a freshman and majoring in Special Education at Bradley University. This is my first year at Her Campus and I'm extremely excited to be writing for them. In my free time, I enjoy reading outside or in the library. I love going to coffee shops and trying out new foods or drinks. I did theatre for most of high school, including being the actress, directing my own one act, lights, sound, and I even worked with costumes a tad. For me, writing allows me to be expressive and as creative as I want. It's one of my favorite hobbies and I'm so glad to be able to share my pieces with you!
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