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Take Care of Yourself

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More stories from Becca Malachowski '20

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Anxiety is a mental illness that affects a great number of college students. It can be heard of all over campus. I know people that have struggled with it, and I’ve struggled with it. Anxiety and other mental illnesses affect up to 40 million adults in the United States (attn.com). It can be difficult to manage, but I’ve put together a compilation of tips and information that can make your life a little less stressful and anxiety a little more manageable.

Anxiety and Mental Illness Facts: 75% of Americans experience anxiety before they are twenty-two (attn.com). Even though that statistic is high, only 11% of college student reported their anxiety or mental illness. When mental illness comes into play, college centers have been reporting a serious spike in their student visits. Csc.edu also reported that almost 73% of students living with a mental health condition experienced a mental health crisis on campus.  Although these statistics are frightening, there are numerous ways to attempt to deal with stress, anxiety, and mental illness.

Get Support: There are support systems on any college campus. Here at Le Moyne, we have the Wellness Center located in Seton Hall on the other side of the baseball field. You can also ask your friends for help. Just talking to somebody and having a shoulder to cry on with no judgement can be mood changing. Getting to know your professors can be paramount as well. If you have a good repertoire with your professor, it can make the class a lot better. You’ll feel more comfortable asking for help, which will in turn help reduce your stress and anxiety about the class.

Tricks to Reduce Stress and Anxiety: Laughter really is the best medicine. Laughing can reduce pain and stress and boost your immune system. Taking deep breaths as most people know can reduce one’s anxiety. One of the most effective ways to use this breathing technique is to take a deep breath and hold it for five seconds before letting it all out at once. Visualizing where you want to be can also be an outstanding tool that I use all the time. Pick something relaxing or where you want to be in five or ten years and just find a comfortable place to chill. I swear when you’re super stressed, there is nothing better (uhs.umich.edu). Listening to music can also be an effective tool for reducing stress and relaxing your brain. Music can reduce depression and chronic pain (Psycentral.com). A slower tempo can quiet the mind and relax the muscles (unr.edu). Music can even improve sleep and help you feel more in control (nami.org).

Join a Club or Group: Joining at least one club or group on campus can have a great impact on your social life. You’ll be in contact with people with similar interests and keep busy, which helps people who tend to isolate themselves. It would be an obligation that you have to go to whenever you can and in turn, you’ll make friends, which as most people know, is a huge key to destressing.

Take a Break: If you ever need to take a break, and most people do, find a nice comfortable place to sit. If you can find a chair with armrests that would be a good position for taking a breather.  If you need to go back to your dorm, lie down, and pop in headphones, that would be a great way to take a break. There are also places around campus that I find are good places to chill, like the Den or the library lobby. Just find a place that’s comfy for you.

Get Sleep: Lack of sleep can cause deprivation, depression, and anxiety (adaa.org). 54% of adults say that stress and anxiety has affected their sleep. Of that same study, 47% say it affected their ability to remain focused the next day. A good trick is to make sure your room is dark, cool, and quiet for bedtime. I know it can be hard to get a good night’s sleep in college, and increasingly difficult as the semester goes on, but this is something important to think about.

Value Yourself: All in all, just love yourself. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you treat yourself kindly and try to avoid self-criticism, you will feel a lot better. If you need help with this, the Wellness Center has very qualified counselors standing by.

I hope my tools of the trade were helpful to you and everybody else that chooses to read this paper. I care about everybody and I hope everybody has reduced anxiety and stress, better sleep, and just simply values themselves.

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Take Care of Yourself