anx·i·ety \aŋ-ˈzī-ə-tē\ noun
an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs, by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self doubt about one's capacity to cope with it.
anxiety is really hard to study with because small tasks seem big and big tasks seem impossible. we end up catastrophizing, panicking, and avoiding. so, with the help of past experiences, research, and advice from friends and counsellors, i have a list of tips to help if you're feeling too anxious to study.
- therapy/counsellor -
most schools/universities have a counsellor; utilize that! they are trained and can give you professional advice on dealing with your situation. if therapy hasn't worked for you in the past, maybe research different techniques and therapists, and try to find one that best suits you.
- break down tasks -
starting one huge task with no plan can be really daunting and make anxiety worse. what i find really helpful is to break down one big task to small, do-able tasks in order. then, exactly what i need to do is much clearer, and i can tackle each small task one at a time.
i break down my tasks into extremely easy tasks, because i personally like ticking off a lot of boxes! for some people, longer lists may make it worse. i would suggest trying it out once, and see how it works for you!
e x a m p l e : how i would break down an essay
□ break down the question into more easily understandable sections
□ create an essay structure with bullet points
□ research needed information
□ create a first draft
□ proofread after waiting for a fresh mind and edit in suggestion mode
□ create a second draft
□ proofread one more time and change any last mistakes
□ fix the structure of the essay
- talk with someone -
if breaking things down don't help and you still find yourself overthinking and catastrophizing, talk it out with a friend. usually, trying to rationalize on your own can be tough because you have no one to confirm. find a buddy that will listen and help you out. then you can get back on track!
- make realistic goals -
it's easy to get carried away with what you want to accomplish, but when that becomes too much to finish, it often makes the anxiety worse. i would suggest setting goals for yourself that you know you can accomplish. giving yourself too much time also helps; you're doing the same amount of work, but it feels like you're ahead of schedule
- early deadlines -
whatever the actual deadline for an assignment is, set an earlier one in your planner. for example, if you have a month to complete an essay, put down three weeks. then you have a week to work on other things or relax! this really helped me because it also forced me to plan my time better. also, since i overthink everything, i like to read over my essays at least one more time before handing it in, and this always gives me a couple days in between to re-read it with a fresh mind.
- take days off! -
days of can be really therapeutic! take a day to work on a hobby, meet up with friends, read a book, watch a nostalgic tv show. make it a self care day.
be careful, though! with anxiety, tasks seem really daunting, we get anxious, and put it off, only to go through the cycle again. self care days are important, but can become an excuse. if you find yourself in this cycle, breaking down your tasks can be really helpful! it's much less scary seeing a list of small things than one big assignment.
related: studying with depression
- use a planner -
keeping a planner of some sort really helps organize your thoughts. anxiety tends to make us catastrophize things because everything gets jumbled up in our brains. don't try to remember everything, write it down! i use a muji notebook for my bullet journal, and i keep everything from my daily to-do lists to my life goals in it and i find that really helps me. if you're not the bullet journal type, there are some really nice agendas you can try- have a look through some StudyGrams or Studyblrs to see what they recommend.
- stay hydrated -
i always keep a water bottle near me to remember to drink something. staying hydrated is super important!
dehydration can actually trigger a panic attack because it can set your heart racing and make you feel light-headed, which are symptoms of panic attacks.