If you’re anything like me, your mind is spinning 24/7. Not only when I’m conscious, but when I’m unconscious as well.

The stress of being a student finishing my Bachelor’s degree, to the overwhelming feeling of where I’m headed after graduation, to things as simple as just time management. Most of the time I felt as if I couldn’t breathe and the world was ending. (Dramatic, I know)

But for some one who has and still currently deals with anxiety on a daily basis, this is something that affected me greatly. I felt out of control. I had no way to make my mind stop jumping from thought to thought… School projects were left half done. I began calling off work because there simply wasn’t enough time or because I had made myself physically ill. Shortly after I stopped attending classes. My entire life was suffering.

Due to other health complications, as well as my problem with anxiety, I found myself seeing a therapist. After numerous sessions, I had established quite a comfortable relationship with my therapist. (If you’re in your twenties I highly suggest seeking a therapist! Even if you have no “problem” that you know of, it’s great for insight and self-realization.) She felt more like a friend I had known for years, rather than a stranger that had just been assigned my case. Every coping skill I learned during my time in therapy I still use on a day to day basis. You may think “Wow, I knew all of this stuff already.” But it’s not just about knowing the steps, it’s about implementing them. Through these following coping skills I have managed to take control of my life. Anxiety is no longer in charge. I feel like I’ve gotten my life back, and I hope they too can help you through a rough day.

Take a break, and breathe

Step away from whatever current project you’re working on. Listen to music. Take a brief walk. Or even practice some yoga. Most importantly, take deep breaths that engage your entire diaphragm. This is extremely calming.

Make sure you’re eating well-balanced meals

As someone with a busy schedule I know how hard it can be to eat healthy. Especially when it’s so much easier to just drop in to your local café and grab a coffee and pastry (yumm). But it’s incredible how much what we consume can affect how we feel throughout the day. Make the time to ensure you’re eating balanced meals, and just watch how it changes your energy levels. Because remember, you are worth it.

Limit alcohol and caffeine

Two of the most common drinks among young adults can cause anxiety and trigger panic attacks. I went from being a sorority girl who drank alcohol and coffee more than suggested to a girl who has a casual drink with friends maybe three times a month. And coffee? Rarely. Instead I take advantage of all the unique teas cafes have. (The newest one I’ve fallen in love with is Vanilla Berry Truffle, so rich and creamy, and caffeine free!)

Get enough sleep!

When you’re stressed, your body needs more sleep! So don’t beat yourself up for taking the occasional nap. I used to be so hard on myself about naps. Clearly, I’m an adult not a toddler. I shouldn’t be taking naps anymore. But you know what? Some of my best ideas have come to me right after a nap. Try it!

The last and final tip I leave you with is in my opinion the most important one.

Accept that you cannot control everything.

The only thing you are in complete control of is yourself. Nothing else. You are responsible for you. As much as we’d like for things to go our way all the time, it doesn’t happen like that. Letting the weight of the world fall from your shoulders is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself.

how to reduce anxiety as a college student

Do you struggle with anxiety? What works for you? Leave additional tips in the comments below and let’s start a conversation.