As September approaches its end, midterm season is soon to follow in October. This time of year often encroaches on the time students utilize to unwind and seek solace away from the stress of their studies. In addition to the prior stressors of COVID-19 and the demands of courses, the approaching season of midterms may lead to students experiencing increased levels of anxiety.
Although the objective of calming anxiety may seem like an uphill journey, implementing small lifestyle changes in your daily routine can make the greatest difference. Here are five ways to reduce anxiety at home and kickstart your journey to better mental health.
“Moderate physical activity such as walking for 60 minutes, four days per week, can be nearly as effective as medication for reducing anxiety,” wrote Dawn Jonas, a resident physician, with the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.
The implementation of daily exercise stabilizes both the state of physical and mental health. This is because exercising serves as an outlet for stress and reduces symptoms of anxiety while improving fluctuations in mood.
For this reason, it is essential to take time for yourself to take a break from online courses, stand up from your chair and get your body moving.
Eat nutritious food
According to Annette McDermott, from Healthline, “Low blood sugar levels, dehydration, or chemicals in processed foods such as artificial flavorings, artificial colorings, and preservatives may cause mood changes in some people.”
This means that heavily processed foods collectively take a negative toll on the body and mind.
“Research has found that a diet high in fat, sugar, and refined carbohydrates can increase risk for anxiety by 25%,” according to Kelly Burch from Insider.
In other words, eating foods that are rich in nutrients, such as fruits and vegetables, lower the risk of anxiety and prevent the occurrence of mood alterations that result from foods with a high sugar content.
The choice of eating a diet full of nutrients will provide the energy you need to tackle the day.
Get plenty of sleep
An adequate amount of sleep is vital to maintain all functions of the human body. According to Jonas, “Inadequate sleep increases the production of stress hormones that can exacerbate anxiety.”
This means that sleep deprivation increases the severity of anxiety and ultimately harms the overall health of the body.
Health professionals recommend that individuals reach the goal of seven to nine hours of sleep each night. This goal can be achieved by going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day.
In turn, a healthy sleep schedule will allow the body to fully recharge from the previous day and reduce the severities of anxiety.
Biofeedback is a method that allows individuals to gain control of body functions by noting the moments in which physical reactions occur.
For instance, you might notice that your body shakes when you are feeling anxious. The method of biofeedback would be applied by taking deep breaths as you observe the way your shaking stops when using this technique.
Practicing biofeedback allows one to identify when physical reactions of the body occur and watch them closely to manage them.
The practice of biofeedback will keep you in tune with your body and decrease levels of anxiety as a result.
Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques
According to Burch, “A 2019 scientific review of 10 studies found that mindfulness-based interventions were more effective than cognitive behavioral therapy for reducing distress associated with anxiety.”
In the comfort of your own home, anxiety can be efficiently reduced by practicing techniques such as deep breathing and meditation without the use of cognitive therapy. These relaxation techniques can be used daily, in coordination with biofeedback, to aid in reducing anxiety.
These are only some of the various methods that can be utilized to reduce anxiety at home. Regardless of the time in the school year, it is crucial to seek activities and techniques that aid in reducing levels of anxiety.
In doing so, you will find yourself with a lighter heart and the strength to face those midterms with full force.