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Stressed out in suburbia

By ANDREW OLIVER - April 12 2022

Dear Elcee,

I am in my second year of college and am doing a hybrid of online and in person classes.  I love what I am studying but am having a difficult time focussing on my studies.  I try not to watch the news but, I will admit, I spend more time than ever worrying and I am having problems sleeping. My friends say it is normal but I am not sure.  Do you have any advice for me. I don’t want this to interfere with my education.

Stressed out in suburbia.


Dear Stressed,

I agree with your friends. Periods of stress and anxiety are perfectly normal responses to these chaotic times. While it is normal to have some anxiety, if you find yourself feeling anxious on a daily basis, you will likely end up with other issues, both physical and emotional. That being said, there are some ways to assist you with coping with stress and anxiety. Some of the recommendations from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) include; 

Ensure you are eating healthy.  There is evidence to show that eating healthily and staying well hydrated can have a direct effect upon your mood.

Exercise. Try and take time out each day for fresh air and exercise. Even taking a short walk can be a mood enhancer.  Even better!  Walking a dog (borrow one if you must!), doing chores for neighbours or gardening are some great options. 

Take time out to relax. Yes, I know. Taking time out in our super busy lives can seem like a luxury. Try blocking some time to read a book, take a bubble bath or listen to some music.

Be mindful. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. Are there things that are triggering you? Are you trying to do too much? Dare I say it? We do not need to have showroom clean houses all the time!

Get some restful sleep. Please put away your devices at least an hour before you go to bed. Blue light can affect your sleep patterns.  Establish a routine you enjoy. If you do find yourself awake in the middle of the night its ok to get up until you feel sleepy again.  

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Having bad days is a universal experience. When your inner being starts finding faults try being your own best friend! Take time to appreciate yourself.  

Finally, if you find that these tips are not making a difference in your level of anxiety do not hesitate to seek professional help.  The website has numerous articles and resources for Canadians. Good luck.  I appreciate you reaching out and can assure you that you are not alone. We care.

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