How to manage anxiety this semester

Luci Schwarz 

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Disclaimer: The advice and opinions expressed by Schwarz are her own; she is not a certified mental health professional. Contact a medical professional if you are struggling with mental health.  

     As UCCS students transition back to in-person learning, mixed emotions are in the air.  

     For some, there is anticipation and excitement, especially for returning sophomores who never actually got to experience student life on campus. However, despite this hopeful feeling, anxiety tickles at the back of students’ brains.  

     Stress is often present in the life of a college student, but that does not mean it should go untreated. This is true for those who are nervous about coming back to campus.  

     Freshmen might be feeling uneasy as they start their first year of university, as incoming freshmen are beginning a whole new chapter in their lives with new friends, a new home and a new routine.  

     Whatever it is that you may be feeling anxious about, consider the following tips to combat stress and anxiety. Your mental health should always be your priority.  

1. Socialize 

     In the past year, many of us have been isolated at home, doing our best to stave off a global pandemic. Now, suddenly the doors to campus have been reopened, and we are back to an in-person setting, which may seem a little bit daunting 

     Do I even remember how to do that? What if I say something silly? These thoughts might come to your head, as they have to mine, but I urge you to pay them no mind. Everyone else is thinking the same thing.  

     If you are trying your best, then that will be enough. You can never do more than your best, and some things are out of your control.  

     In addition, I encourage people to get back into clubs, activities and sports, which you can find on the UCCS website. It is a great place to reconnect with or make new friends while still following campus safety requirements.  

     We have spent the last year speaking to one another through video calls with our cameras off. But in-person interaction is irreplaceable and almost all of your best college memories will be made from physically being among friends and peers. Take it from me. 

2. Treat yourself with kindness 

     This might seem obvious, but it is often an afterthought in a busy schedule of work, classes, relationships and extracurricular activities. Going into this term is already difficult enough, and you should be proud of yourself for returning to school and persevering.  

     Allow yourself the time you need to be productive and happy. This means allotting yourself enough time to get a healthy amount of sleep each night, rather than staying up into the early hours of the morning. I am guilty of this, especially when the pandemic allowed me to sleep in until noon. Now, however, your body will need rest to perform well.  

     Also, do your best to eat balanced meals. Three times a day is the goal, but I also understand that on a budget and with limited time, this is not always possible. Still, packing yourself snacks and bringing water to campus is a good start to treating yourself with kindness. Do not purposefully skip meals, if you can. 

3. Track your thoughts 

     This tip is much less self-explanatory than the others but it is just as important. In order to maintain a healthy state of mind, being aware of our thoughts is vital.  

     Journaling is a great way for people to get things off of their chests and onto paper, though this is not everyone’s style. Others may choose to speak to their family or close friends on subjects that can feel overwhelming.  

     On top of this, UCCS offers mental health services in the Gallogly Recreation and Wellness Center, which you can visit in-person or speak with someone anonymously.  

     Whichever path you choose, if not both, feel no shame in speaking to others about your problems. Recognize that you are important and deserve to speak your truth.  

     Ultimately, it is clear that this fall term will bring unforeseen obstacles and a variety of changes to everyone’s lives. As long as you are always putting in your best effort, then despite whatever else happens, you have done enough.  

     Stay strong, Mountain Lions, and have a great semester back on campus. 

Stock photo courtesy of Uday Mittal /