Going to University is arguably one of the most crucial phases of a student’s life. The transition from school to university not only opens the door for several new opportunities but also comes with its own set of challenges. Not all students are the same, some get through this phase with a breeze whereas others succumb to the pressure and find it difficult to pursue their degree. If you are a graduate student who feels anxious and depressed, then you are not alone. A recent article from online journal Nature highlights that the mental health of current PhD researchers is in need of urgent attention. The signs of anxiety and depression are quite common among graduate students. However, with proper intervention and care, students can do their best to control these issues and work towards a brighter future. Here are some tips to help you try and overcome anxiety and depression.
Understand the symptoms
The most common symptoms of anxiety and depression include restlessness, stress, panic attacks, increased heart rate, trembling, sweating, weakness, fatigue, sleep disorders and difficulty concentrating. If you ever experience any of these symptoms, then try to seek help. Anxiety and depression might get worse over time. Hence, to get rid of it early, get early help and intervention. Similarly, once you are aware of the symptoms, you can try to identify certain aspects of your life that seem to cause them. For example, if you notice that certain situations bring on panic attacks or restlessness, then you can try to tackle those situations to make a change.
Don’t be ashamed of your feelings
Never consider anxiety or depression as a weakness. Consider it simply as a medical condition which can be identified and treated. The more you feel embarrassed about your feelings, the more you will struggle to overcome it, and may even try to hide it instead of dealing with it. Instead, share your feelings with supportive people or people who will understand your situation and will guide you towards a better path.
Make self-care a priority
One of the most important things which graduate students often tend to neglect is self-care. For students experiencing anxiety and depression, indulging in some sort of self-care can be greatly beneficial. Depending on your preferences you can choose between a number of options of self-care. Regularly participating in some physical activity such as walking, cycling or swimming or practising yoga and meditation can be quite helpful. If you crave a piece of cake or a need a massage, then do not hesitate to treat yourself occasionally.
Make a plan and stick to it
As a university student, you will need proper time management skills to meet your personal and academic goals. Apart from increasing your productivity, time management will also help you in reducing stress and anxiety. Make a comprehensive plan for achieving your short-term and long-term goals. Prioritise your tasks by keeping a calendar and making to-do lists.
To flesh out those priorities, build a to-do list and plan a schedule around it. Having a good plan is a valuable way to ensure productivity, especially when your schedule is more flexible, such as when writing your thesis. But don’t fall into planning paralysis! It should not be a means for procrastination.
Don't be too hard on yourself
Do not compare your performance or achievements with other students. Try to take things easy. Continuously motivate yourself and remove all the negative thoughts from your mind. If you are passionate about something like singing or dancing, then spend some time on your hobbies. Feeling positive will help you overcome anxiety and depression easily.