5 Tips To Help Manage Anxiety In College: From A PR Student

Pink sunset clouds.

By Jessica Delgado

College students deal with so much during the four years they are in college. Some students take on financial independence, life obstacles, challenging circumstances, and toxic relationships throughout their college years. 

Anxiety can take over your entire day, running plans and obligations you made prior to being triggered. Most college students don’t know they are experiencing anxiety because they know little about it or how to handle it. 

In public relations, the amount of work and time you have to dedicate to strategy briefs, meetings, reports and collaborative work can be very overwhelming. 

Although I am not a licensed doctor and have no degree in psychology, I am a college student, and here are some of my self-help tricks to help with anxiety.

1. Allow yourself to take a step back  

I have experienced the saying, “I bite off more than I can chew,” when it comes to workload. I never want to miss any opportunity for growth in my school and personal life. But there really isn’t enough time in a day to do everything. I know we have all been in a position where we sit down to work on tasks and become completely overwhelmed with what is required from us. I have learned over the years that your mind cannot remember everything. Writing down tasks and their due date can help prevent you from missing deadlines. Planners are a helpful tool in organizing when a task is due. Staying organized with a planner allows you to meet deadlines, takes the stress of forgetting away, and helps prevent getting overloaded with things to remember. 

2. Be in the environment where you feel the safest 

I have always considered “my space” to be the safest. Sometimes if you are in an environment where there are a ton of people or in an unknown area, it can be overwhelming for your mind. Loud noises and chaos can spike one’s heart rate. Being able to go to “your space” to decompress can really help with lowering your anxiety. Whether your space is the TGC office, library, bedroom, kitchen, living room, or car – find a space where you feel comfortable and safe! 

3. Free write your emotions 

Before I found comfort in opening up to people I trusted, I found a lot of comfort in writing down what I feel. Sometimes, we don’t feel comfortable opening up to others, and that is completely okay! Once you begin writing, it can feel like a weight is being lifted off of you. Find something that releases negative emotions and feelings that benefits your mind, whether it is free writing or taking a walk outside. Our minds are very powerful and creative in thoughts. Find something that works for you! 

"You are stronger than what is making you anxious." -Jessica Delgado

4. Talk to a friend or loved one

Find comfort in a friend or loved one when you are experiencing anxiety. I know not everyone feels comfortable or has someone they can go to when they are experiencing anxiety. However, opening up and letting someone know what is going on with you can help. Taking a break to laugh and talk about things like what’s going on with the Kardashians, reality TV, or sports can really help your mind not be in “work mode.”  

5. Leaning on your peers in class 

I know here at TGC, everyone is willing to pick up the slack if help is needed. Having open communication about needing help on a brief or creative project you are working on can help you and your team. Everyone has good and bad days. Relying on your team and letting them know you need to be “saved” can prevent missed deadlines and upset clients. 

Managing anxiety is achievable. Take it day by day by finding what helps you in conquering it! You are loved and you are strong! 

Dealing With Anxiety

Photo credit: jessicahtam, Creative Commons, original photo
Photo credit: jessicahtam, Creative Commons, original photo

College is a stressful time, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or superhuman.

Chico State does its best to provide students with resources to help them deal with the day-to-day stress that classes, work, internships and socializing bring.

But then there are those of us who suffer beyond the average student.

Students with anxiety and panic disorders have the added pressure of dealing with abnormal neurotransmitter levels which manifest in increased heart rate, uncontrollable feelings of dread and other unpleasant side effects.

While the general tips and tricks on how to deal with stress may be helpful in some situations, here are some tips for when your symptoms feel overwhelming.

1. Don’t be afraid of mental health days

If you’re having one of those days where your symptoms are out of control, you’re not doing anyone any favors by forcing yourself to work on that in-class project while trying to ignore the fact that your heart is beating a million time a minute and you’re sweating like a sinner in church.

Take a day to yourself to sit on the couch, read a book, cuddle your pet and get yourself together.

2. Trust people to have your back

People are usually more understanding than you think they will be.

If you need to step out of class to get your panic under control or if you need to leave work early because your anxiety is making it impossible to focus, don’t be afraid to let you professor or supervisor know what’s going on.

More often than not they will be more concerned than upset and they will appreciate your honesty.

3. Don’t go cold turkey

Just because you’ve been feeling better doesn’t mean you should stop taking your medication or going to therapy.

The fact that you are able to keep your symptoms under control and function correctly means that the treatment is doing its job. If you feel that you don’t need to be on medication anymore or want to lower your dosage, get off of it slowly.

Taper yourself off over the course of a couple weeks or months and see how you feel before you take the plunge and stop altogether.

Nothing is worse than going through withdrawal on top of your regular symptoms.

4. Know your limits

When I say know your limits, I don’t in any way mean limit yourself.

Push yourself to do things that may exacerbate your anxiety but only to the extent that you know you will be able to move past it.

If you discover that you aren’t able to balance all of your activities, don’t be afraid to take a step back. Step away from some activities and come back to them when you are better able to deal with them.

5. Create a positive environment

This is a key aspect of treatment that is often overlooked.

People are influenced by who they surround themselves with and if you find yourself hanging out with unmotivated, negative people, I can almost guarantee that your motivation and general affect will take a nose dive.

While oftentimes the last thing you want to do when you have anxiety is to go out and meet new people, sometimes a change in your environment and peers is exactly what you need to stay motivated and in control.