Written by: Desiray Henry-Smalling (Guelph-Humber Ambassador)
I’m a person that can get anxious quickly, and when this anxiety continues for too long, it can take over my current functioning and get in the way of whatever I am trying to accomplish in that moment. Whether I’m sleeping in my bed or grabbing something from the fridge to eat, these anxious thoughts and feelings (ex. “I’m afraid to start this assignment”, my heart beating quickly) are very present, and distract me from what I am trying to accomplish in the moment. After observing myself over these past few years, being mindful of what causes me to get really anxious, and learning what things help ease my anxiety, I created a plan; something I can refer to to ease my anxiety whenever I am feeling anxious and overwhelmed during school. I have shared this plan below for anyone looking for tips on what they can do when they are feeling really anxious.
I am currently in school and I like knowing that there are resources on campus (or online through the campus) that I can connect with and speak to about my problems. The resources, such as the counsellors, can offer a listening ear as I tell them about what is giving me anxiety. They can also give me advice on how I can move forward in a way that will calm my anxiety down. Sometimes I choose to speak to a trusted family member or friend, as I find that they can offer emotional support, as well as advice on how I should handle the issues I am experiencing. You never know, the advice that someone has could really improve your situation, so it never hurts to reach out to someone you trust
There are certain times of the day where I don’t normally work, because my mind isn’t at it’s best functioning (ex. too early in the morning or too late at night). So when I am anxious, I do my best to limit my work hours to the times where I am the fittest to do so. As I will be mentioning later, if I overextend myself or work during hours where my mind isn’t at its best, this can cause me to have a lower performance on the task (which can increase my anxiety even more). I also know that when I overextend myself, I get very tired, causing me to not perform well either. Once again, this raises my anxiety levels, as I’m not effectively accomplishing what I need to.
When I’m feeling really anxious, those anxious feelings and thoughts can really take a toll on my body. If I do not get the rest that I need, those anxious feelings can be increased, making it hard for me to focus on the task at hand. When I’m really anxious, I try to sleep in or set my alarm for a later time (ex. 1hr-1.5hrs later), so that I can get the rest that I need and so that my anxiety symptoms do not increase and I can function better once I am awake.
Eating healthy foods make me feel better because I know the nutrients inside of the food is going to do my body good; something I couldn't say about eating an unhealthy meal or snack. Knowing this makes me feel better about myself and in turn, puts me in a good mood before going into the task that I am about to do. This allows me to just focus on the task without having too many anxious feelings. Some healthy foods/snacks I like to eat are: sliced apples with peanut butter or honey overtop, chickpeas with red peppers, or red grapes.
I hope my plan for what I do for when I feel anxious and overwhelmed has been helpful, and can be something that can be implemented anytime you are feeling anxious with school, work, or any area of life that can cause anxiety. 😊