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Handling 'war anxiety' as a student: a thread

Worrying news about war in neighboring Ukraine, images of destruction and the newly introduced "state of emergency" in Hungary from May 25 have taken its toll on everyone’s mental health. We hear about war every day and the more information we consume, the more it influences us. Even short exposure to such content can significantly impact stress levels and anxiety.

Even though Hungary is a safe place, the proximity to the current events compounds the feeling of danger. In times like this, it is really important to take good care of your mental health. While it can be quite difficult to manage your mood and psychological state overall due to the omnipresent uncertainty, there are some tips on how to handle war anxiety.

Corvinus cares about you and understands you – let us help when times get tough.

Don’t try to run away from what you feel. None of us knows what is going to happen next. Nevertheless, trying to convince yourself that you don’t have any feelings towards the situation, or that your pain and fear are not valid will not help in any way. On the contrary, it is going to make everything even worse.

Before you work through your anxiety, you have to accept it. What you feel is normal, and any way of coping with it will be the correct one. You can feel worried for yourself, for your friends and family, for the people of Ukraine – all of these feelings are completely valid and shouldn’t be dismissed.

Spill it out. In any form you like. Talk about your feelings with people you trust, write it out in poetry, prose or just a mix of words, dance about it, sign about it. Express your feelings in whichever way you are most comfortable with just to let them go. Even though most of the time we try to distract ourselves, the negativity we receive still gets stored somewhere in the back of our minds. Speaking about your anxiety and fears may reduce stress levels and overall influence your mood in a good way. It is already a success just to know that you have an outlet for those heavy feelings we are going through. You are not a wardrobe to store things, feel free to spill it out. Maybe, somebody feels the same way and you will help each other out.

Help if you can. For some people it is important to take action and know that they do something to help. Since the war has started, multiple charity organizations have been looking for donations, humanitarian aids, etc. Corvinus doesn’t stand aside, as we organized a huge fundraiser in cooperation with the Hungarian Interchurch Aid. Also, there is a volunteer centre in Budapest, where anybody can go and help pack and form humanitarian aid that is being sent to Ukraine. If you don’t feel like helping, it is fine as well. Not everybody has the physical or mental capacity in this challenging time. Just be aware that, if you want, you can help. Every small thing is important.

Take mental health walks. This is not just a TikTok trend, it is a really good way to cope with anxiety. Go out into the city every now and then, breathe in the spring air, enjoy the sun. While it may seem like something unimportant, frequent walks can help you feel better, as well as strengthen your physical health. Even a 20-minute stroll around the neighborhood will make you think away from your negative thoughts. Turning on your favorite music helps too. Enjoy the beauty of Budapest. Trust us, it does help.

Limit your time reading the news. We live in 2022, and everything is everywhere. The fact that a full-scale war started in Europe is in itself crazy, but with the help of media it has gone on a whole new level. Protect yourself by not reading too much. Don’t just doom scroll. Read only credible resources – that is extremely important! There is too much information now, so you need to understand when it is enough for you. Try to limit the flow of news by leaving only a couple of resources that you trust and check them every once in a while. There is no point in scrolling the feed mindlessly for the sake of it.

Give yourself time. Last, but definitely not least, take it slow. Nobody knows how to act in a situation like this, so we all are just trying to keep calm and believe in the best. It is incredibly hard, yes, but it is necessary to do in order not to go mad. You know what you like – do that! Read, sleep, study, go to the cinema, meet up with your friends, or just spend time with yourself. Life still goes on. That doesn’t mean that you have no right to feel bad, you have all the rights to do so, just don’t let yourself slide into depression.

Also, don’t be embarrassed to ask for professional help. Corvinus provides students with free appointments with a psychologist every academic year. To know more, visit our website. The time we live in is incredibly challenging, but we still have to live on, no matter what. We hope that these tips will help you go through it and care more about your mental health.

Stay safe and don’t hesitate to ask for help – we are here.

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  - Emily Brontë


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