Beating the (Anxiety) Monster

Written by: Tiffany Chu, 4th Year Med Sci

Photo by: Uday Mittal on Unsplash

I’d like to invite everyone to have a quick guess at what my following description is. It’s a time when I feel stiff and rigid, as if someone is clenching onto my chest and just wouldn’t let go. It’s a time where I feel like I deserve a rest, but sleep just won’t fix it. It’s a time where I feel the need to do something but am overwhelmed with all the errands and tasks I have at hand. It’s a feeling of not doing enough but being too exhausted to do anything at the same time. That is what anxiety feels like to me.           

Everyone feels anxiety differently; some of you may feel like you have trouble breathing, while others feel like there’s a heavy weight on your shoulders. Despite the differences, we can all agree that anxiety is hard to put into words and even harder to overcome.  

Having to balance academics, extra-curriculars, social interactions, and personal time is difficult, and very often, it takes people a few years to understand what self-care means to them. Over time, I’ve noticed what a big role self-acceptance and social connections played in maintaining my mental and emotional health. Having a thorough understanding of myself made me realize my strengths and weaknesses. I learned where my flaws lied, and I embraced them, while I worked towards improvement. Similarly, I also discovered my own strengths, and became more confident in myself. As I learned more about myself, I stopped comparing myself to others and became more comfortable with who I am and what I want to do. I realized that while I may not be as social or out-going as my friends were, I am a great listener and am empathetic which are equally important qualities. As I learned more about myself, it became more clear what my next steps should be and it put my mind at ease.  

Although alone time is crucial, it is also important to have some social interactions with supporting friends and family. People who understand you and help you achieve your goals are encouraging factors that help keep you going and prevent burnout. Being able to encourage each other and support one another through hard times also strengthens friendships and deepens bonds. Simply going out for dinner or having a game night once in a while can make a huge difference. It gives you the opportunity to forget about all the deadlines and truly enjoy being with people you love. 

Self-care can sound intimidating, almost like it’s another block of time you have to slip into your already filled-up schedule. But self-care can be easy, and simple too. Any activity you like and enjoy doing can be a moment of peace. So as we start a new semester, I hope we can all find a way to relax and understand that while anxiety can be a challenge to deal with, we can overcome this together. 

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