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This is for Anyone Feeling Anxious

Even though these dark times have been looking up — especially with the world opening up —it's natural to have anxiety in this new and changing situation. Here are some tips for anyone feeling anxious with our evolving landscape. As always, if these feelings of anxiety are getting serious or if you feel like they are harming your quality of life, please reach out to a professional.

#1. Having a routine can reduce feelings of nervousness. Get back into a school schedule or try do the same thing every day. Remember, although variety is the spice of life, eating breakfast at the same time, doing a similar exercise or stretching routine, or journaling every night are all helpful guidelines that we can fall on when we get anxious.

#2. Start reaching out and establishing a social relationship. It’s nobody’s fault but we haven’t had the opportunity to have face-to-face interactions. It's true that we have been mostly communicating through Zoom. With a lot of us being vaccinated, if possible, having those physical interactions can be very beneficial to reducing anxiety. In a school setting, it is also helpful to understand that teachers have been going through the same emotions; even those doing the tutelage are struggling to make do without physical interaction.

#3. Advocacy is so important. If you’re needing help, you should ask for it. Most schools have social workers or school counselors. If the issues lie at school or at home, there are a myriad of people who are willing and able to help you. Asking is never seen as a negative. They want to help you and that is what they are there for. Advocating for yourself and taking action when a problem occurs is such a good step toward being happy and successful.

#4. Know that everybody is here with you. The pandemic, although we all have different situations, was not a unique situation for any of us. I promise you that whatever issues you are coping with, someone else has been through the same thing — and they will likely have the tools and wisdom to help you through it. Like above, ask for help!

#5. Self-care is a word that has been repeated over and over, tirelessly it seems. However, maybe self-care isn't exactly what we think. Self-care does not always mean taking that bath or doing that face mask we feel like we should. Self-care is perhaps doing the laundry that we know is know is lying on our chair in our bedroom because we know we will feel better after having done it. Additionally, it's important to take frequent breaks. These breaks don't have to be long (2-3 minutes), but nevertheless, the human mind is not set up to function for super long.

#6. Having empathy means being understanding, accepting, and respectful. Believing that we’re in this together and we need to support each other is essential to this idea of positivity. Thinking positive thoughts has a huge effect on how we feel. In psychology, a lot of academics are taught to think of it like a bridge. The thoughts affect your feelings, and your feelings affect how you behave. If you have positive thoughts, it might help you feel more confident, which will lead you to taking action towards the things you want.

#7. Practice. Anxiety and panic attacks are real more than ever. If someone is going to experience a panic attack, what can you do to calm down? Just practicing can keep feelings of nervousness and worry away. By practicing a healthy coping mechanism, such as going into another room that is quiet to re-ground or taking deep breaths while closing your eyes, can help you calm down. With more practice, it becomes second nature.

#8. Starve the negative thoughts by thinking about it like a plant. Don’t allow your mind to water those negative thoughts — without negative thoughts, that plant will die. Instead, try to celebrate the small things. You got out of bed? Congratulations, that's a success! You ate breakfast? You rockstar! You took a shower? You super star, now you smell amazing!

#9. Make a list. If you’re feeling stressed, sometimes it might not be enough to simply do tasks out of motivation. Make a short list of things to do and what you want to accomplish that day and cross them off as you go. Break down large tasks into easily doable ones so even if you did not do everything you wanted, you know you at least did something with your day.

#10. Be nice to yourself. Cut yourself some slack. Yeah, we all make mistakes, but beating ourselves up over it will only make that anxiety worse. Try not to be overly critical or overly judgmental of yourself. In the end, nobody lives our lives except ourselves. Pleasing others should not be our priority and though we might not always be in the place we want, we should still celebrate ourselves! Remember, all bad things will eventually come to an end.

- Kaitlyn Majkoski

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