Anxious? How You Can Avoid A Full-Blown Freak-Out.
Posted: Apr 18 2020
College life is the good life. It’s about making lifelong friends, creating lasting memories, growing as a person and, yes, having fun and laughs along the way. But with having to keep a schedule, getting your studies done and preparing for finals, campus life can also be demanding.
Add a coronavirus outbreak to the mix and it’s enough to throw anyone into full-blown freak-out mode. Well, breathe easy. If you’re searching for some simple steps to help you manage your anxiety, we at BSC have some surprising ways to help you find calm and take the panic out of the pandemic.
Face It And Embrace it.
Recognize the reality of this sudden disruption of campus life. When waves of coronavirus anxiety surface, notice and describe the experience to yourself or others without judgment. Facing the anxiety in the moment actually leads to less anxiety over time. Don’t ignore your anxious feelings or try to repress them.
Experts also say it’s helpful to write down how you feel. (Don’t panic! It’s not more homework.) Writing down and expressing your fears and anxieties is a way to let go of them. It gives them less power and helps calm your emotions. Another tip is to write down your fearful thoughts just before going to bed so they are out of your mind when you hit the sack.
Still another useful practice: block out fifteen minutes each day of just thinking about whatever is troubling you. Having this designated time as your “worry time” helps you set a limit on your restless mind rambling. It’s a way to free up the rest of the day to focus on schoolwork, feeling a sense of gratitude and listing off all the positive things in your head that make your life great.
Most importantly, stay connected. The coronavirus outbreak is an isolating experience for all students. While reaching out to others through texting and social media is great, try having phone or video chats with friends. It’s a more personal way to get through this nerve-wracking time together that makes you feel less alone.
Revert To The Normal.
The big switch from in-person classes to learning online means you’ve lost much of your campus routine. That’s why it’s important to maintain some sense of structure to help you cope with the dramatic changes in your campus life.
As best as you can, get in the habit of getting enough sleep (naps are good!), get proper nutrition, exercise regularly and spend time in nature. Taking a walk outside with friends (with six feet of social distancing, of course) is energizing. You’ll get to enjoy some fresh air along with uplifting chats with your BFFs. There are ways to celebrate the great indoors too by journaling (it doesn’t have to be about your anxiety) practicing a musical instrument if you’re musically inclined or doing a little cooking.
Thinking of ways to reset your life with a different but more normal-feeling routine is particularly important—especially when the options for what you can do and where you can go are limited. Creating a sense of normalcy helps you adjust to uncertainty and improve your overall health and well-being.
Go Easy On The News.
The pandemic is feeding the non-stop newsfeeds with fear around the clock. Most of it is alarming, confusing and anxiety-inducing. It’s important to stay informed but also mindful of what the media coverage is doing to your mind (so you don’t lose your mind!).
Here’s the headline: Turn off and tune out from the madness. Make a point to take a break from the breaking news of the day. You don’t have to ignore everything that’s going on. Just don’t get pulled into the ceaseless chatter and chaos blaring out all around at you.
Retreat from scary stories by treating yourself with compassion. Practice self-care by taking in a (non-disaster) movie, relaxing with a good book (non-gothic novel – unless gothic novels calm you) or taking up meditation. There are tons of helpful and soothing meditation apps to choose from. It’s good to give yourself a mental break from the non-stop stream of distressing updates.
You’re More Resilient Than You Think.
It’s normal to feel fear. It’s an instinct hard-wired into all human beings to respond to a threat. And with a virus that’s spreading around the globe it’s easy to imagine it showing up where you live. After all, the human mind is good of focusing on the worst-case scenario.
But we humans have a tendency to overestimate how badly we’ll be affected by negative events and underestimate how we’ll be able to handle difficult situations. (One study even showed that 95% of the things that we worry about will never happen.) The thing to remember is that you are more resilient than you think. By taking the time to practice ways of coping, you can lessen anxiety’s grip on your life.
Help us help you.
If you’re prone to anxiety and it’s taking over your life, don’t try to tough it out. Get help and take back control. There are campus-based resources you can reach out to for the counseling you need. While in-person guidance is no longer possible in this new world of social distancing, the Mystic Advising and Counseling Center (MACC) offers support by telephone, email and with virtual appointments.
To make an appointment, call MACC during normal business hours from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 pm. The number is 701-224-5752. Feel free to leave a message or you can get transferred to a BSC staff member with the MACC. If you’d like to make a phone or virtual appointment, call and we’ll schedule you with the appropriate counselor or advisor based on your personal needs.
You can also email us using these links:
Lastly, check out the links below to learn more about the Covid-19 outbreak and learn coping strategies to help set you free from your worries. There is a way out of the freak outs. Who knew.