Anxiety on Rails.

Oumaima Azzat
5 min readDec 22, 2020
Photo by Fernando @cferdo on Unsplash

So, you’re thinking about enrolling in a bootcamp? You have the brains, the work ethic, the attitude, the inspiration — what more else could you need? Oh that's right, a sprinkle of anixety.

Im currently five weeks into my Software Engineering course at Flatiron School and lets just say the ambitious and hungry girl that I was five weeks ago has slowly started to go back into her shell. CAUTION: this blog is not meant to be gloomy or depressive, but more so a helping hand for anyone that feels like their anxiety has reached new heights during their bootcamp course.

I have come to learn that a lot of the emotions I am feeling and experiencing are apparently “normal”. Lets set the scene — you’re in a bootcamp where 1. Information is being thrown at you constantly at ground breaking speed 2. LABS (need I say more?) 3. Code challenges and the fear of not passing them (that deserves a whole blog on its own) and 4. Your incredibly talented and abled brain telling you you cant do it — cue the crippling anxiety.

No one said this was going to be easy, I certainly did not think it would be. But lets be honest…. holy **** this is hard. If you suffer from anxiety, a bootcamp will truthfully only heighten the “regular” anxiety that you experience. I should also highlight the fact that there is absolutley nothing shameful about experiencing anxiety. Once I became vulnerable to my cohort, the amount of love and support I recieved from my peers was astounding. I can guarantee you, you are not alone!! There is a high probability that there are other people in your course who feel the exact same way! So here is my guide to keeping anxiety low during these stressful times:

Nourish your body

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You’re probably thinking “Oumaima… we’ve heard that a million times”. No really, make it a priority to truly nourish your body . There is no limit to how exactly one nourishes their body. Sleep is such a vital component to not only performing well but also keeping anxiety low. The National Sleep Foundation guidelines advise that healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. I know, 7 to 9 hours seems incredibly unattainable. I myself have such a hard time making sure I get the appropriate amount of sleep. There have been times where I’ve forced myself to stay up and retain all the days information before I “deserved” sleep. It goes without saying that the nights I stayed up wayyy too late staring at my screen, I inevitably performed poorly the following day. So, GET THAT SLEEP!

Studies show that diet can play a huge role in keeping anxiety levels throughout your day. This may sound crazy…. but I forget to eat sometimes. On my most anxious days, I can go all day without a meal. Once I made it a priority to have all major meals throughout my day, I saw a vast difference in levels of anxiousness. Try starting out the morning with a protein filled breakfast, keeping your meals healthy and well-balanced. Sadly, studies show that keeping caffeine at a low intake is for the best. Goodbye to my loving cappuccinos. They can make you feel jittery and nervous and can interfere with sleep. As always, drink plenty of water!!

On a side note, cold showers are my go to rescue when Im having major anxiety. They genuinely feel like hard resets for my mind.

Visualize your Success

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One thing that helps me the most when Im panicking during lecture or lab hours is to visualize my success. Why get so strung up on all the negatives when I can choose to redirect my thoughts to a more positive view. Easier said than done, yes I know. Think about it though, just like how you’re training your brain to learn such a complex field of study — why cant you train your brain to be more nicer to you for the long run? think about where you can and will be in six months from now. A graduate with advanced skills and knowledge with the entire world at their fingertips. That may sound a bit dramatic, but if there is one thing I learned in such a dreary year we call 2020 it is to romanticize your life. Visualize a successful and happy life, remind yourself that this is all temporary and you will make it through. Make yourself feel special, because you are special.

Tune into yourself

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Theres one last point that I want to make when anxiety decides to swoop in and take control. Tune into yourself. Seriously, millions of people swear by yoga and its not because its a trendy cool thing to do. These simple yoga moves are proven to be good for anxious feelings. Take 5 min. and look away from your screen. Find some space and try the following poses: Butterfly Pose, Extended Triangle Pose, Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose, and my favorite Childs Pose. In no way am I a certified yoga expert (I wish) but this sequence of yoga poses absolutely gets me right. The cherry on top for me is the breathing exercise I do right after my little yoga session. Deep breathes, inhale for 10 seconds, hold for 5 and release slowly. This method of breathing does wonders when my nerves take control and I lose all focus during my bootcamp. Et voilà, anxiety be gone!

Lets be honest, anxiety isn’t something that just disappears after drinking enough water or doing some random yoga poses. However, these practices are what I have found to help keep my anxiety levels low and under control during my Software Engineering Program at Flatiron. Remember, there is nothing shameful or embarrassing about all the feelings you’re experiencing. You are in control of your body and mind, dont let it over take you. You are capable and more than qualified for an experience like this. CODE ON!

Photo by Joshua Reddekopp on Unsplash

“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” — Kahlil Gibran



Oumaima Azzat

Full Stack Software Engineering Student at Flatiron School