It’s completely normal to have anxiety during nursing school. Whether it's a big test, a lab when your fellow students are watching or finding yourself faced with memorizing near-endless drug facts, worries and fears can creep in and take hold.
There's no doubt that stresses outside of class in your day-to-day life can also contribute to anxiety you may feel while in school. Issues that involve work or family are among the most common causes of stress.
It’s important to recognize the times when you feel anxious and understand that there are steps you can take to help manage your anxiety.
Many of these steps are simple actions you can do during your daily routine. You can choose to incorporate some or all of these ideas, depending on what works for you.
Take a time-out
Step back from your problems to decompress. Listen to music, practice yoga, get a massage or do some other activity which will take your mind off of the cause of your anxiety. This approach may help you return to your challenges with a different perspective.
Limit alcohol and caffeine
Though often seen as helpful in their respective ways (alcohol to relax you from stress and caffeine to help focus you), both of these substances can actually have adverse effects and may aggravate anxiety or even trigger panic attacks.
Get enough sleep
When you’re stressed, your body needs additional rest. This may seem like a catch-22, as school and other sources of anxiety in your life may require you to stay up late or get up early, but it’s important get a good night's sleep so your body is prepared to help you overcome stress in the end.
Take deep breaths
Inhale through your nose slowly for ten seconds. Take a moment to hold your breath, and then exhale slowly through your mouth for ten seconds. This will help you regulate your body’s physical reactions to anxiety when you feel stressed.
Accept that you cannot control everything
Sometimes stress is caused by factors outside your control. In these cases, shift your focus towards what you can control, such as how you react to these situations.
Learn your triggers
Some events can serve as triggers for more significant reactions. Are you more stressed by school, work or family? Think about your sources of exceptional anxiety and come up with a couple tactics to help you respond and by some ways to better prepare yourself to handle these challenges before they happen.
Talk to someone
Initially, just venting to your friends or family can make a big difference. They can listen, and maybe offer help and guidance. If your anxiety persists, talking to a professional can offer additional support.
Chamberlain's ASPIRE program provides all enrolled students direct and confidential access to counseling professionals who can help you stay focused on your goals during tough times. This complimentary service is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help address any issues of a personal, family, financial or legal nature affecting our students. You can find out more about ASPIRE on the Student Portal.
For additional information on managing anxiety, visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America or Anxiety Disorder Centers.
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