How to Manage Anxiety in Nursing School

Hello and welcome, or welcome back, to my blog! Today is another nursing school-related post. I’m going to be talking about how to manage anxiety in nursing school. I am no stranger to anxiety. While a little bit of anxiety can be good, I have WAY too much, which is why it is important that I manage it, especially during school. My first quarter was probably the worst in terms of anxiety, but it’s a lot better now than it used to be.  I know I am not the only nursing student with anxiety. I feel like the vast majority of us have some sort of anxiety. Nursing school can be scary! We are testing new skills on patients, taking tests, and trying to remember so many little details. We are in charge of patient lives.

For some background, if you’re new here, I am in an ADN (2-year) nursing program at a community college. I am set to graduate in June 2022. After that, I plan on attending the RN to BSN program at a university while working. Due to COVID, I didn’t get to go to clinical until this last spring quarter. Up until then, it was virtual simulations for clinical. Every quarter so far I’ve posted a recap of how it went, which you can check out below:

Other pre-nursing and nursing school posts that are up on my blog can also be found below:

Ok, let’s get into how to manage anxiety in nursing school!

How to Manage Anxiety in Nursing School

1. Take Medication

If you’re in nursing school, you’re no stranger to medication. There are definitely some pros and cons to taking medication for anxiety and it’s a very personal choice. Personally, I do not take daily anxiety medication. I have in the past and the SSRI I was taking was not a good fit. I don’t want to go through the process of finding a medication with the right fit because it can be a long one. You have to acclimate to the medication by slowly upping your dosage with your provider. There can also be some unpleasant side effects. While I might consider it in the future, it’s a personal choice that only you can decide on.

Another option is a PRN anxiety medication. Beta-blockers can alleviate symptoms, but do not target the source of anxiety. If you have really bad anxiety and haven’t tried a medication to help in the past, it could be a good option for you.

2. Learn Your Triggers

Learn what makes you anxious and avoid it if you can. Obviously, this isn’t always possible. If you have test anxiety, you can’t avoid the tests. However, if you know that’s the kind of anxiety that you have, reach out to the student success advisor. Once you know what triggers your anxiety (if there is a source), work on reducing that stress.

Another example is anxiety due to impending deadlines. If you know you are going to get a ton of anxiety around the time your assignments are due, make sure you do them ahead of time. Have good time management (which is good for most anxieties) and try not to procrastinate.

3. Take Care of Yourself

Not taking care of yourself can exacerbate anxiety. Make sure you are eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and working out or staying active. Don’t spend every second of your time over your computer. Instead, take breaks to go for a walk or do something for yourself and decompress.

4. Find Something that Calms You

Maybe you’re in the peak of anxiety, or a panic attack. Find something that can help you lower the amount of stress and anxiety that you are feeling. It’s different for everyone. Maybe for you, it’s meditation, counting backward, taking deep breaths, or writing down everything on your mind. For me, it’s writing down everything that I am anxious about at that moment and it feels like it lessens the burden on me. Or, I look back and what I wrote and realize that I don’t need to stress out about the things on the list. Think positive and reassuring thoughts rather than all the ways you feel inadequate, and do something that will calm you instead.

5. Talk to Someone

It doesn’t have to be a professional, you can vent to either a friend or a family member. If you don’t feel like you have someone in your life that you can talk to, try going to therapy. Talking to someone can give you a new perspective, calm you, or just help you get it out of your system.

6. Create Routine or Structure

I have found that having a routine or a set structure, to my day, has helped with my anxiety. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything that you need to do all the time, try making a routine.

7. Keep Moving Forward!

Anxiety in nursing school is 1000% normal, even if you don’t have anxiety disorders or stress easily. Push through and know that just because you worry, have anxiety, or get stressed, doesn’t mean that you’re going to be a bad nurse.

These tips on how to manage anxiety in nursing school aren’t necessarily going to cure your anxiety. These are just ways that I help manage mine. At times, the anxiety will be worse than others. Just take a moment to gain some perspective and realize that it will pass!

If you have any tips on how you manage your anxiety in nursing school, I would love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments below, or send me a DM on Instagram @maddie_deer, or an email to [email protected] I hope this has been helpful! Thanks for reading & good luck in school! 🙂

P.S. I wrote a post on anxiety a couple of months ago, too. If you want to check it out, the link is below!

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