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Mental Health

How to Cope with Anxiety in Our World Today

We live in a fast-paced world. Everyone is on the go, and sometimes we may feel the need to keep up with…well…life. I’m sure many of you have, at some point in your life, experienced being stressed; whether it’s because of your busy professional life or hardships in your personal life. Stress and anxiety are extremely common issues among many of us today and sometimes can also be tough to cope with. 

 To remind myself and help you, I have decided to compile some of my favourite ways to de-stress and get back on track with life. I would highly recommend trying at least some of these methods because most of them have worked for me in the past, and hopefully will work for you guys too! 

1. Talk to Someone 

This may sound really cliché, but finding that one person you can talk to about your stresses in life can really help! For me, it’s generally people I can relate to. At this point in my life, those people are my roommates. All of us are in the same program and facing similar difficulties. It’s really just nice to talk and share our thoughts. I feel talking to someone who just gets it can be really helpful because you can give each other tips and tricks to deal with problems. Also, it doesn’t make you feel like you’re the only one with having the problem. Sometimes it’s also nice to text a friend. Texting may help you formulate your own thoughts better and sometimes it’s just nice to rant through text. In fact, I may find solutions to my own problems as I begin to text a friend because the thoughts come out in a more organized fashion. 

2. Put energy into creativity

I know this may seem kinda weird, because most of us may find ourselves having very little time throughout the day. But, it’s important to save maybe, 10-15 minutes at the end of each day and do something creative. This could be, writing, drawing, colouring and if you have more time, baking or cooking. I know that when I come home from a tiring day, I like to put on some music and whip up a quick and creative meal with the ingredients I have at hand. This may only take me 20-30 minutes, but I feel so much more refreshed after! By the end of it, I’ve gained enough motivation to start on some homework or complete an assignment. In fact, I feel like I get more of my work done when I have these periodic breaks to do something creative. Creativity lets your mind rest, but still keeps it active so you feel motivated and energized in the end. 

3. Exercise

This tip is very common and I find that it can help most of the time! Having an internally healthy body can really help create a healthy mind. I believe that everything is connected in some way. So to put it simply, a healthy body can channel a healthy mind and vice versa. For many, it can become very hard to squeeze in time for a workout. Sometimes, just the sound of the word workout can be intimidating. Many may feel that they have to give up an hour to two hours of their time, but this isn’t true! Ten to fifteen minutes a day can be just enough to create a positive mindset. Exercise can also be something fun. My roommate and I will often put on a pilates video on Youtube and follow that to some music. We only spend around 20 minutes doing this, but by the end of it we have an overflow of positive energy and have the determination to work even harder and complete assignments. 

4. Sleep 

This is the most neglected out of everything above. When people think of healthy living, they think of eating well or working out. Many of us put sleep at the back end of our “to do” list. But this year I realized how much of an impact sleep can have on wellbeing. I remember earlier this month, I would finish assignments and sleep after midnight, and wake up around six thirty. At first, this really didn’t impact me. I felt like I had more time in the day because of this new habit. Waking up early gave me the opportunity to finish assignments, study, clean and I also managed to squeeze time in to watch my favourite TV shows. But, as the days went by, and this habit started to stick, I realized I became grumpier throughout the day. Not only that, but I began to feel tired while sitting through my lectures and had trouble focussing. Overall, it turned into that vicious snow ball effect I was talking about earlier. I know it may seem hard at times to adjust your sleep habits and I’m still struggling with that to this day, but my strategy is to sleep ten minutes earlier each day. And that seems to be working fairly well for me. I find myself waking up less tired, and more motivated to tackle the day. In fact, I also feel that I’ve become a little more productive because of this. I’m able to complete my assignments earlier and usually have some time left over to relax before I actually sleep. Now, this may not be the strategy for everyone, but it’s definitely worth a try! That being said, if you feel you work better during the night and have a flexible day time schedule, maybe try sleeping in for longer. The key is to get enough sleep so you can have a productive day, yet still feel happy. The strategy differs for everyone and it may take a few weeks to figure out what works for you. 

5. Get organized! 

My final tip on how to beat stress is to clean up your life. So what exactly does this mean? Well sometimes we can become stressed because of all the clutter build up in life. For example, I go to class one morning, but suddenly forget my binder. So I run back home, hoping to pick up my binder and reach class on time. But when I reach home, my room is a mess and finding that one binder becomes a mission and therefore, I end up being late and missing half of my lecture. Which then leads to adding on another task in my day – catch up on the first half of my lecture. Overall, this can mess up my entire schedule for that day and if I’m already stressed, it can build onto that stress. Again, going back to that vicious snowball effect. In simple words, clutter can just add onto previous stress. Or maybe if you’re already stressed, you create more clutter in your life. So it’s just that matter of tidying up your life. Maybe give an hour of your day to create a schedule. It can be for the day, but I also suggest creating one for the entire week to get an idea of how busy the week will be and what tasks need more importance. Take baby steps! Organization doesn’t come easily. My suggestion is to try out something different each week. For instance, for one week I made it a habit to make my bed before I left my condo. Another week, I started to make a weekly schedule of what I’m going to do each day of the week and how much time I’m going to spend on each task. I found that this didn’t work for me because I need flexibility in my day. So then I opted to simply create a weekly list of things to do and rate them on a scale of 1-5 how important they are to finish. So far, this seems to be working for me and I guess I’ll stick to this plan for the time being. All in all, organizational methods are different for everyone! So give it time and try different things until you find one that works best! 

I hope these tips help you out in whichever way you’re struggling. Give these tricks a try and be patient because it may take time to truly figure out what works best for you. However, if you find that these tips don’t do the trick at all, I really advise seeking help from a professional! 

 

Ara Kirtikar

Guelph '21

Living life to the fullest <3
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