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Mental Health

How to Manage Anxiety During These Trying Times

Recently, everyone has been on edge. It’s no surprise most of the panic is coming from the rapid spread of this global pandemic. As important as it is to keep track of the spread, we don’t want to have that at the forefront of our minds constantly. As students, we have always had an obligation to manage our stress and anxiety, balancing school work and our social lives, so this added stressor being thrown into the mix isn’t helping.


I’ve personally been dealing with a substantial amount of stress and anxiety within the last few months, and I thought I’d share the ways I’ve tried to deal with these feelings. Some days these methods are successful, others not so much. But I’ve been kind to myself, trying to understand how I’m feeling, and to whoever is reading this; you should do the same. 


Here are some suggestions:


1. Make yourself tea.


Before bed, I like to make myself a cup of chamomile tea with honey. Chamomile tea is infused with herbs and flowers that soothe indigestion—a common symptom of anxiety. They also help you relax, so you get a decent nights sleep. I don’t suggest drinking any caffeinated tea, since caffeine it’s a stimulate and can cause insomnia and irritability. Try Tazo’s Calm Chamomile with a teaspoon of honey. 


2. Focus on your body, especially your breathing.


I know this may seem fairly obvious, but breathing can become rapid and irregular when anxious or having an anxiety attack. By noticing how you’re breathing, your focus is slightly taken off of what is making you anxious. In terms of your body, check in with your toes. Notice how they feel against the soles of your shoes, or the floor beneath you. 


3. Watch an uplifting show, movie, or start reading a book.


I’ve recently started reading Lord of the Flies. Sure, it’s not the calmest of books, but reading is a healthy form of escapism. You focus on the world inside of the book, or the show/movie you’re watching, and it’s a distraction from the bustle around you. And I recommend that you read a book for pleasure, instead of just reading the assigned books for your courses. There’s a different feeling that comes along with reading a book for yourself. 


For uplifting shows, Zumbo’s Just Desserts is a great start. The whole show has a whimsical, happy feel, and you’ll be amazed by the desserts that are created! 


4. Create something.


Whether you’re an ‘artist’ or not is completely subjective. Put a pencil, paintbrush, or pen in your hand, and get it moving! Draw your neighborhood. Quickly sketch the people walking down the street from your window or front porch. Draw a self portrait while looking into a mirror. Do whatever you’d like, as long as you make something. You’ll subconsciously pour your emotions onto the paper or canvas. This is equivalent to writing about what you’re feeling, but not as straightforward.


5. Stay motivated.


Honestly, I’ve been struggling with this one myself. Transitioning from in-person learning to remote learning has been difficult. I didn’t know what to expect—I still don’t. And not hearing back from professors about an updated syllabus doesn’t help. The flexibility is nice, but staying motivated and being surrounded by loved ones can be very distracting when needing to work from home. So, I suggest you try your best to create an environment for yourself where you are able to get work done. That’s really all you can do to stay on top of your studies.


Hopefully some of these suggestions will help. Either way, we’re going get through this together! 

Olivia Mize

Denison '22

Hello! I’m Olivia, a student at Denison University, born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. I'm majoring in Anthropology & Sociology with a Studio Art minor. I enjoy watching movies, painting, and drawing.
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