Stress and anxiety are something everybody experiences at some point in their life. Being a student in college or graduate school can be a trigger for increased stress and anxiety. And while there are many healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety, we recommend engaging in some health resources suggested below. We’ve provided you with these resources to get you started on your own, or as an adjunct to the work you may already be doing with your therapist. You can also come to the Counseling Center on the second floor of the Smithgall (Flag) Building, Suite 238 to be seen by a counselor.
Suggestions for Self Care
Keep in mind these suggestions are not intended to replace treatment for mental health conditions. The suggestions are general, can be tailored to your specific situation, and may work best in combination.
Compiled by Brigid Cahill, Ph.D. at the University of Rochester
- Stick to a routine - get dressed, go to classes, go to meetings. Keeping structure in your day can help things feel less overwhelming.
- Eat regularly and in a healthy way. Skipping meals or overeating can wear down your coping resources.
- Get as much sleep as you need - and avoid sleeping too much. Seven to nine hours are what most people need. To help with sleep, go to bed and get up at the same time every day, avoid napping, and do not study in bed.
- Stay active - walking, running, swimming, working out, playing sports, etc. Moderate physical exercise can help you feel better emotionally. Start small with walks around campus.
- Talk to friends and family who are supportive and positive influences. Isolating yourself can make things feel even worse.
- Try to do at least one fun or enjoyable thing each day.
- Practice relaxation activities, such as progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing, hot baths, massages, and yoga.
- Avoid using alcohol, other drugs, and caffeine for self-medication.
- Keep a journal - write down your thoughts and feelings. Remember, this is just for you - so it doesn't need to be perfectly written. It's an outlet for you to express your feelings.
- Self-soothe using one or more of your five senses - watch the beauty of nature, listen to your favorite relaxing music, wear your favorite perfume, give someone a hug, etc.
- Visualize a pleasant memory, a relaxing place, an image of yourself feeling better. These can be real memories or imagined events and places. Visualize with lots of detail, using each of your senses to create as vivid an image as possible.
- Give yourself permission to not worry about your problems for a while. Save your worries for one 20-minute period each day and only think about them then. Visualize blocking away your worries or sad thoughts - build a wall, bury them, lock them up.
- Use humor - spend time with people who make you laugh, watch a funny movie, read a funny book.
- Challenge negative self-talk - pay attention to negative messages you may give yourself and challenge their validity.
- Distract yourself temporarily from your difficulties - watch a movie, read a book, play a game. Give yourself permission to attend fully to something besides your concerns.
- Attend to your spirituality - go to church/synagogue/mosque - pray, read religious works.
Studies show that consistent exercise can help reduce symptoms of mild depression and anxiety. The important thing is to choose an exercise or activity that you enjoy and will stick with on a regular schedule! The Campus Recreation Center at Georgia Tech offers cardio machines, free weights, weight machines, three swimming pools, water slide, outdoor sports, group exercise classes, sauna and intramural sports: