Picking up your momentum for university after all the shameful gluttony and sloth of the Christmas holidays can be a bit of a struggle. I know it was for me.
When I was in final year (this time last year, I’m not that old), second semester was tough. I was on top of things in my first semester until the sudden illness of a family member halfway through set me back. I’ll never forget that feeling of dread when I came back after Christmas. Panicking and desperate to make up for lost time, I ran myself into the ground in my second semester. I got through it, but not in the healthiest of ways to say the least.
We at Debut don’t want that for you. So here are some lessons on dealing with anxiety before a new term I wish I’d known.
Take advantage of your last day at home
Familiarity and relaxation is a big part of helping coping with anxiety. It’s natural to want to spend your last day or two of freedom frantically cramming for the deadlines ahead. But think about all the calming home comforts you won’t be able to take advantage of once you get back to the grind!
If you want our advice, you might wanna think about doing a long day of study two days before you go back so you spend you last precious hours eating home-cooked food, loving your parents and watching TV you don’t have to pay for. A little bit of planning goes a long, long way.
Give yourself credit for what you did do
You know what we said about New Year’s Resolutions? Same applies here. Try making an anti to-do list with all your achievements from last semester on it and suddenly this semester won’t seem so insurmountable. It’s easy to beat yourself up over what you didn’t do. Take time out and dwell on the things you did well.
Stop thinking about the time you don’t have
You wouldn’t be any kind of real student if you didn’t freak out about having one semester of teaching left before exam season starts. But look at it another way. One semester is 11 weeks and a lot of hours. The key is to make the most of that and not fret about the time that’s gone. Which brings us to our next point…
Plan your work out before you do it
Seems obvious but no-one told us. Scheming out all the work you have to do and when you have to do will help you stay on top of things. Break it all down into manageable sessions of a few hours at a time.
Then, when you next worry about workload, just remember that as long as you stick to your schedule, you’re gonna be fine. If you aren’t sure, there are a whole bunch of apps out there that can help you.
Face your fears
You ought to put the same emphasis on dealing with your emotions as you do on your academics. Each are equally important. (Need advice? Check out these great tips from Students Against Depression.)
As above, make an actionable plan to do things but with your anxious feelings rather than your workload. Make a list of your fears and tackle them one by one, starting with the most manageable to the most unwieldy. until you’ve beaten them all.
Channel your nervous energy
Sometimes at uni, I would get the feeling like I should be doing something productive but I’d rather do literally anything other than what I’m supposed to be doing.
If you can’t face doing any more work but you can’t face the guilty feeling of not doing it either, find a new worthwhile activity to put that energy into. Play a sport. Do some volunteering. Hell, put some tunes on and dance around your room. We won’t tell!
There’s really no substitute for this right here. Everyone has their own personal fixes for their anxiety. But the best weapon we have against mental illness is talking about it. If you’re struggling, don’t keep it to yourselves. You’ve got access to friends, family members and professionals for a reason. Keep them in the loop and your new semester will be off to a flyer in no time.