Going to PA school is a challenging and time-consuming endeavor. There are deadlines to meet, exams to pass, and papers to write, not to mention any other important responsibilities in your life. All of the pressure can build up, and, before you know it, your stress and anxiety levels are through the roof. However, there are ways to prevent or reduce anxiety so that it doesn’t negatively affect your academic and professional goals. Here are four strategies to help with your anxiety while attending PA school.
Keep the Juices Flowing
A big portion of your time studying will be spent in a seated position. Sitting for long periods of time can cause stiffness, pain, and inflammation in your joints, lowering your flexibility and range of motion. In addition, focusing intensely on one topic for extended periods of time can make your mind sluggish.
Regular exercise will keep your brain and body systems oxygenated and working to their maximum potential, as well as trigger endorphins that have both an invigorating and calming effect on the brain. In addition, being proactive about your health by exercising is a good example to portray and share with your future patients.
It’s when we sleep that our bodies perform essential restorative processes that prepare us to face another potentially productive day with plenty of energy. Quality sleep and mental health are also intertwined, in that each affects the other. In addition, one study showed that sleep loss can cause a surge in cortisol, a stress hormone that is necessary for survival in the face of real danger, but elevated levels can increase your stress and anxiety levels.
You can prioritize sleep in many ways, like developing a 20 to 30-minute wind-down routine each evening that can include a warm bath, stretching, or meditation. It also helps to create a sleep sanctuary out of your bedroom space. Choose soothing colors for your bedding and walls and forego having a television in your bedroom. Technology screens are more draining than they are relaxing.
Take Plenty of Breaks
In addition to your scheduled workout sessions, it’s important to take several breaks during your study sessions to fit in a quick walk or climb some stairs to kickstart your next study round. You can also find a quiet spot to meditate for 10 or 15 minutes to bring yourself back into the moment and clear your mind of overwhelming thoughts or negative self-talk.
Organize and Reduce Clutter
Nothing makes studying more daunting than a cluttered workspace. It not only makes it hard to find items you need, but research has shown that a physically cluttered space contributes to mental clutter than makes it hard to organize your thoughts effectively for studying. If you’re hitting brick walls in your studying efforts due to clutter, make it a priority to reorganize your workspace regularly.
There is no way to avoid the challenges that going to PA school presents. Like anything else worth achieving, it will take a lot of diligence and commitment to your mental health to complete the PA program successfully. However, these are some effective ways to set yourself up for less stress and productivity in PA school.