Mental Health and Anxiety edition

Bee Chaudhury

Staff Writer

     Hi Everyone, I’m Bee! I like whales and veggie chips, and I love you! Personally. I also like warm tea and roasted almonds, it’s a nice combination if you can eat almonds. A Lot of these things are the things I’ve figured out for myself over the years. I am not a mental health professional though, these are just my experiences. Remember a lot of these things are not “one size fits all,” just like your clothes! It takes time to find out what’s good for you, but it’s not impossible, I promise.

     “What should I do once I finish my work on the weekends, since I feel bad not doing anything?”

     I know exactly what you mean, as sometimes taking down-time for yourself feels counter-productive and almost like you should be doing some sort of work. I like to do what I call “productive hobbies”, which are basically hobbies that I can sort-of use as a replacement for work. For example, I like to paint, which allows me to sort of replace the process of finishing my assignments with the painting I finished that day. Personally, I like to tell my family when I finish assignments, so when I finish a painting I tell them the same way, to sort-of fill in that empty space. If you don’t normally tell other people though, you can always just do what you normally do once you finish homework. You might find that doing this still doesn’t work, and that’s ok! These sort-of things are definitely a trial-and-error type of deal, and you shouldn’t rush to find out what works for you to help you feel better!

     “If I’m not motivated in doing schoolwork but it’s important that I complete it, what should I do and what should I do to help with distractions?”

    I don’t know if this will work for you, but I like to pretend I’m in a teen movie and it’s the part of the movie where there’s a montage of me studying with the rock music playing in the background. I like to sort-of romanticize the process of me doing homework, and usually once I start doing assignments, I get into this cycle of working and it becomes easier. You can also alter your work space to make it easier for you to work. For example, the desk I work at has small cute decorations and fidget toys on it so I always have access to those when I need it, and I keep a blanket on my chair to make it much more comfortable. I also drink tea or chew some gum while I work to keep me focused rather than wanting a snack or drink and possibly messing up the flow of work. 

     Online school might be a different story, as it can be hard to pay attention, but I like to use a scheduled “do not disturb” time on my phone during school hours, so the notifications don’t pop up until after school. If it’s really noisy in your house, you might want to get noise-cancelling headphones, which I personally find work really well. Those headphones are a little pricey. If you don’t have access to them, you can always try just listening to music as long as it’s not too distracting, or even getting earplugs for when you work. Of course these exact things might not help you, but that’s ok! As long as you do what you need to do, the way you get there is up to you.

     “What should I do when I’m feeling anxious and overwhelmed?”

     I’ve found that it’s generally good practice to step away from something once it becomes overwhelming. This is especially good if you’re frustrated, as being upset is going to tire you faster and you won’t do your best work. You can always come back to something later, and if an assignment is a bit late because you were frustrated with it it’s okay. It might be upsetting but it’s not the end of the world, and you’ll be okay, I promise. If you’re anxious, I recommend trying to ground yourself, either through deep breathing or a distraction. I personally like taking a little Netflix break, and once you feel better you can create a comfortable environment for you to work in.

     It might also be helpful to look through what you need to do and maybe moving a couple assignments to do at another time. Sometimes we think we can finish a bunch of things in an afternoon, but things happen and not everything can be done in a day. If there are assignments that are due later, it’s going to be a lot better for you if you don’t stress about doing them all in one day. 

     It’s also important to be confident in yourself in order to do your best. By confidence I mean just knowing you have the ability to complete what you need to, not total self-confidence so don’t worry. It’s less overwhelming to complete assignments when you know you can complete it, but if you become frustrated with it you shouldn’t use this against yourself. Yes, when you start an assignment you might feel really confident and then get angry when you get stuck, but you shouldn’t be angry at yourself for getting stuck. It happens, and it’s a good idea at that point to either take a break from work entirely or do a smaller assignment, to kind of give yourself a small victory. 

     “What do you recommend I do to help with panic attacks?”

      For panic attacks specifically, it’s extremely important that you ground yourself. Grounding yourself has a lot to do with your senses, which helps bring you back to reality. This is very much a trial-and-error thing, as not everything works for everyone. Of course, deep breathing and distractions are a good way to help, but I’ve found that doesn’t work for me. I really like eating ice-cubes, as it’s a relatively easy to find thing that has an intense sensation, so it helps bring me back to reality. You can always try other things like lemons or a hot chilli if you have those in your house, or anything with a strong flavor or sensation you can eat. These types of things need practice, however, as panic attacks can be scary and of course you’re panicking. If you practice what you would do for a panic attack even when you’re just mildly upset, when you do have a panic attack you don’t hesitate and know how to help yourself. You also shouldn’t beat yourself up for having a panic attack, they aren’t something people can control and they happen a lot for no reason. I had one in the middle of 5th period recently and it was really weird because I wasn’t anxious, but I took care of myself and it went away fairly quickly. Please take care of yourself when you have a panic attack, and don’t beat yourself up for it.

     “How do I deal with deadlines and time management?”

     I find it’s much easier to manage my time when I write things down. I like to write down all my assignments so I can sort of reorganize them based off of what I can do when. If some assignments are due later, I try to not force myself to do it on a day I have a lot of work. Of course, some days you’re going to naturally have more work than others, which is 100% okay. It’s just more about figuring out what you can do when based off of what you’re comfortable with. Of course I like to use a planner so I can schedule things out, but if you like to use your phone to schedule things you can do that too. For time management specifically, I like to set alarms to do certain things so that way I’m reminded, but I know some people prefer to set reminders rather than alarms. Of course, these things might work or you might figure out something else that works for you, and that’s valid!

     Please remember when these are being answered it’s out of personal experience! If something doesn’t work for you there are many other ways to do something, this is just my experience with these situations! 

     Also, you are thinking about hurting yourself or others, please seek professional help! You aren’t a burden or a bad person, but that situation is very serious and something that this won’t help you with. If you need, the national suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255, and the text line if you are unable to call is 741-741. Please stay safe and I love you; you are doing an amazing job.

     Please keep in mind that although these are tips and tricks that do work, if you follow these you might have to tweak some things so they work for you, as everyone’s a little different and needs different things! Have a really good rest of your day and I love you!

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