Surviving the semester: resources and tips on how to manage anxiety and stress


School can be rough.

It doesn’t matter what the topic of studying is — the human body, engineering, history or communications — it’s a trial for many students. If this semester has brought on some stress or anxiety, never fear, Utah State’s campus offers many forms of assistance to help dominate and overcome those feelings.

Brian Merrill is the interim director of the USU Health and Wellness Center, also serving as a physician D.O. in psychiatry.

“If students need counseling, we have four clinical counselors on staff,” Merrill said.

To make an appointment with a counselor, contact the Health and Wellness Center at (435) 797-1660. They are open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and are located behind Maverik Stadium.

Even if counseling is unnecessary, a simple check-up could be useful.

Brooke Parker, a dietitian at the Wellness Center, said the way students manage their food intake and meals has a huge effect on their mental health.

Parker has some tips for anxious students.

“Eat every three to four hours to maintain even blood sugar levels promoting better mental focus and mood control,” Parker said. “No one can beat anxiety when they don’t have enough brain fuel.”

Studying or attending class can distract students from getting something to eat.

There are many places on campus where students can find snacks or full meals. Snacks can be found at the Pit Stop in the Taggart Student Center and Emma’s Nook in the Education Building. Meals. Lunches to-go can be found at Luke’s Cafe on the Quad in the Agricultural Sciences building, The Hub in the TSC, the Quadside Cafe in the Merrill-Cazier Library and more.  

“Incorporate a self-care activity each day even if it is only 5 minutes,” Parker said. “This allows some of the pressure of the day to be released which often diminishes the need to use food to cope with intensifying negative emotions. Self-care possibilities include anything from physical activities, music, arts and crafts, pampering, reading, writing, mind games, social activities, and more.”

Parker said her personal escape from anxiety and stress is puzzles or adult coloring books, which can be found at stores like Wal-Mart and Smith’s Marketplace.

Leann Larsen is a pre-physical therapy major, which includes rigorous classes. She is currently enrolled in Anatomy, which she considers one of the most difficult classes at Utah State.

Prioritizing her mental health along with her school work becomes hard, Larsen said, but she has learned several tips that have helped her conquer the stress and anxiety she faces.

“My escape is a simple, hot bath,” Larsen said. “I even put some lavender epsom salts or bubble bath to create some relaxing aromatherapy.”

For those who don’t have a tub, Larson has other tricks she has learned that help her  prioritize self-care.

“I have a playlist of my favorite calming songs. I’ll walk to Adams Park, or turn off all the lights in my room and just listen,” Larsen said. “That is something every (student) can do. The beauty is, it only takes a few minutes.”





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