6 Ways to Manage Anxiety in University Students

Anxiety in university students is very common. However, it can become problematic when it starts interfering with your life. 

Between balancing academic responsibilities, participating in social events, and preparing for the future, university can sometimes feel overwhelming. Anxiety in university students is very common. However, it can become problematic when it starts interfering with your life. 

If left untreated, anxiety can affect your academic success and mental and physical well-being. Here are six strategies to help you manage your anxiety in university.

Managing Academic Anxiety In University Students

1. Identify Your Triggers

The first step towards managing your anxiety is identifying potential triggers. Think about what situations tend to overwhelm you. If you constantly feel stressed about completing assignments on time, this might be a sign of academic anxiety. If you’re fearful of exams or class discussions, this could be related to performance anxiety in school. If you tense up at the thought of chatting with classmates or joining a club, you may be experiencing social anxiety.

Try to be conscious of your feelings and emotions throughout your days and weeks. This can help you better understand what sorts of situations are triggering your anxiety so you can develop specific coping strategies.

2. Face Your Stressors

When you’re dealing with university stress, it can be tempting to simply avoid situations that make you anxious. But avoidance can make your anxiety worse. Facing your fears will help you better adjust to stress-inducing situations and reduce your anxiety in the long run. 

Take small steps when approaching stressful situations. For example, if you’re struggling in a course, try attending office hours or forming a study group. In some situations, you may have to develop new skills to tackle situations that scare you, but this will ultimately better prepare you for the future. Remember that facing your stressors will get easier over time as you gain confidence.

3. Plan Ahead

If you struggle to meet deadlines, it can be helpful to create a plan early on in your semester. Create a calendar that lists the dates for every one of your assignments and exams. This will give you insight into which weeks will be particularly busy. 

Avoid leaving things to the last minute, especially if you have academic anxiety or performance anxiety. Make a schedule that gives you plenty of time to complete assignments or study for exams. Try breaking tasks into more manageable chunks so you can feel in control of your workload.

In some cases, you may need to scale back on your course load or extracurricular activities. Be realistic about your commitments, and don’t forget to add in time to rest.

4. Practice Self-Care

When life gets busy, we often neglect taking care of ourselves mentally and physically. Rest, physical activity, nutrition, and self-care are key to staying healthy. Self-care looks different for everyone. Engage in activities and hobbies that you find enjoyable and calming. This may be:

  • Taking a walk around campus
  • Listening to music or watching TV
  • Writing, colouring, painting, or other ways to channel your creativity
  • Going to the movies with friends
  • Joining a campus club or intramural team
  • Volunteering at a local organization
  • Practicing mindfulness through meditation, yoga, or journaling 

It may also be helpful to develop a daily routine so you can allocate time for all your tasks and activities, including self-care. Remember to be kind to yourself and take breaks so that your mind and body can reset. 

5. Build a Support Network 

Chances are most of your classmates are also dealing with university stress. One study of Canadian university students reported that more than 80% of respondents felt overwhelming anxiety. Friends and peers are a great source of support because they can likely relate to how you are feeling. 

If you are looking to build a support network, try joining different clubs, organizations, or events. This can help you meet people with similar interests and values. Having a supportive community to lean on during tough times can make a huge difference.

Remember to also continue to connect with your existing support systems, even if they’re not nearby. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your family and friends back home and ask for help when you need it.

6. Seek Professional Support

When feelings of anxiety are prolonged or prevent you from functioning day to day, it may be time to seek professional help. Many universities have resources on how to help students with performance anxiety at school. Look into what mental health support and resources are located on your campus. This may include counselling services, academic advising, peer counselling, support groups, and workshops/seminars. 

A counsellor or therapist can help you understand your symptoms, process underlying issues that may be contributing to your anxiety, and develop coping strategies to move forward.

Manage Academic Anxiety with Phare Counselling

Phare Counselling is here to help you on your mental well-being journey. Our team includes specialized clinical counsellors who know how to help students with anxiety.

We offer online and in-person sessions with sliding scale rates to help university students manage anxiety, and we accept many student healthcare plans. We’ll help you find the right counsellor who fits your needs and budget. Get started with Phare Counselling.

Author Bio:

Wendy Chan is a writer and editor who is passionate about health, wellness, and self-care. She has worked in marketing and communications for nearly a decade, creating educational content for brands and companies across Canada. Since 2020, she has been a writer and researcher for Phare Counselling.

Wendy specializes in authoring informative and accessible content on mental health, wellbeing, higher education, and technology. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. You can find her in Vancouver or Toronto, depending on the weather.

Our blog
Latest blog posts
Check Out Our Recent Blog Updates!
View all posts
Arrivals Legacy Project and Phare

Arrivals Legacy Project will explore clinical, therapeutic, and spiritual healing practices in an upcoming webinar moderated by Phare Counselling co-founder Dr. Ray Hsu.

Read More
Phare Counselling
Trauma Bonding Withdrawal Symptoms and How to Manage Them

It’s important to understand the nature of trauma bond relationships, learn how to break a trauma bond and recognize and manage withdrawal symptoms.

Read More
Phare Counselling
How to Heal and Self-Soothe Anxious Attachment

The relationships we form with others are essential to our well-being. For people with an anxious attachment style, the fear of rejection and abandonment can make it challenging to form healthy relationships.

Read More
Phare Counselling
Online Vs. In-Person Therapy

With online counselling growing in popularity and availability, you may be curious about the differences between online vs. in-person therapy.

Read More
Phare Counselling
How Much Does Therapy Cost in Canada

Therapy has many benefits, from enhancing your mental and physical well-being to supporting your personal growth.

Read More
Phare Counselling
How Social Media Affects Your Mental Health

Have you ever started feeling anxious when you see social media posts about luxurious holidays, fun social events, or major life milestones?

Read More
Phare Counselling
Is Therapy Worth It?

Do you ever feel too overwhelmed to deal with your problems? If so, you’re not alone. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, in any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental illness.

Read More
Phare Counselling
Set Boundaries, Find Peace: Therapeutic Book Club (March 14–May 9)

Join us March 14 to May 9, 2024, to learn simple yet powerful ways to set healthy boundaries in all aspects of your life!

Read More
Phare Counselling
What Type of Therapy Is Best for You?

Whether you're seeking support for anxiety, depression, trauma, ADHD, or relationship issues, understanding your options is the first step towards finding the right path to healing and personal growth.

Read More
Phare Counselling
What is Sliding Scale Therapy and How Does It Work?

Sliding scale therapy is a flexible payment model used by mental health professionals to make their services more accessible and affordable to individuals who may have financial constraints.

Read More
Phare Counselling
ADHD Paralysis and 7 Tips to Overcome It

Discover how to combat ADHD paralysis with seven tailored tips. Learn effective ways to regain focus and productivity today!

Read More
Phare Counselling
Coaching vs. Counselling: what's the difference?

Coach Emma Goult talks to Ray about the difference between counselling and coaching: how do you know which one's right for you?

Read More
Phare Counselling
5 Tips for managing ADHD symptoms in daily life

In this video, we'll be sharing 5 practical tips for managing ADHD symptoms in your daily life. Whether you've recently been diagnosed with ADHD or have been living with it for years, these tips can help you improve your focus, organization, and productivity. At Phare Counselling, we specialize in helping clients with ADHD through therapy and counseling sessions. If you're interested in learning more about our services, visit our website or book a session today.

Read More
Phare Counselling
ADHD life hacks: Creating a Daily Routine

Are you struggling to manage your ADHD symptoms? In this video series, we'll share practical tips and tricks to help you stay focused, organized, and on track. From creating a daily routine to managing distractions, these ADHD life hacks will help you take control of your life and thrive.

Read More
Phare Counselling

Meet Phare the Counsellors

Our therapists specialize in a wide array of areas, including LGBTQ2+ concerns, anxiety, depression, OCD, trauma, and beyond. With their extensive experience and empathetic approach, our team members are equipped to guide you through your unique mental health journey.

Through years of experience, our registered counsellors have honed their skills and developed an empathetic approach that goes beyond traditional therapy. They understand that mental health challenges are deeply personal and unique to each individual. With a deep sense of empathy, they provide a safe space for you to express your feelings, thoughts, and concerns openly.

Discover our amazing team and find the clinical counsellor that is right for you.

Questions? Let’s talk.
We’re here to help
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.