Dealing with Anxiety

 

I have wanted to share my tips and tricks on dealing with anxiety for a while now, but always stop myself.  I’m just a weird, red headed, makeup fanatic typing on a keyboard who shares probably too much of her private life on the internet.  I am not a medical professional or psychologist.  Although I was a CNA for a short time (that’s a story for another day).  So who am I to act like I have the answers?  

While I may not be able to give you sound medical advice, I CAN share the things that have helped me when I’m struggling.  Let’s pretend we are two friends at a coffee shop discussing how we cope with anxiety!  Actually, I really hope you read all of my posts that way.   

Avoid Social Media First Thing in the Morning:  

We have all been there. The alarm on our phone wakes us up, and as we groggily turn it off, we are suddenly distracted by notifications. Instead of completing our morning routine, we are staring at what appears to be someone’s perfect life. That one girl who seems to be on a permanent vacation, and posts pictures of eating croissants in France… while still rocking perfectly toned abs.  You know exactly who I’m talking about.  Or we read about the latest mass shooting, politics, etc… That’s not something you need in your mental space when you first wake up. Yes, you should be informed, and aware of current events. But taking thirty minutes to yourself will not change what is happening in the world. If I look at social media or the news at the start of my morning, I am asking for a bad day.  Try to make the first thing you do something pleasant. Stretch, make your bed, drink water, hug your significant other, take a shower, drink coffee on your patio.  Whatever you enjoy!  Everyone’s routine will be different, but avoiding social media in the morning will give you a more peaceful beginning.  

Establish a Good Nighttime Routine :

Something that has really helped me with keeping anxiety at bay is maintaining a nighttime routine. I am guilty of staying up way too late, and paying the price for it in the morning.  When I am on my A game, I stop using electronics around 9-10pm. Realistically, there’s no reason to be looking at your phone that late.  If someone desperately needs my attention, they can call me.  Otherwise, it can wait until morning.  The evenings are for me and my husband to have dinner, talk about our day, and enjoy family time.  

*Confession… We have recently been playing video games together, and that is definitely breaking my no technology rule.  He plays Skip-Bo with me, and at least pretends to be interested when I rant about new makeup releases.  It’s the least I can do!  After all, relationships are about compromise. Even though I have no idea what I’m doing, we enjoy the time together. Our little, guilty technology pleasure doesn’t happen every night, but I wanted to be transparent!

The evenings are the time when I get to decompress, relax and plan for the following day.  When I put on a face mask, make a cup of tea, read a book, and avoid my phone, I thrive the following morning.  The down time in the evening is sacred to me, and I notice a huge difference in my overall well being when I stick to a regimen.

Bottom line: Routines are crucial for your mental health

Time Management:

As someone who was raised by a family of control freaks and planners, you would think that I would be better at managing my time.  NOPE. I get easily overwhelmed, and end up saying yes to a million different things at once.  I hate letting others down, and would rather run myself ragged than risk disappointing them.  Where are my fellow people pleasers?  Raise your hand!  It has been an uphill battle, but in the last couple of years, I have learned the power of saying NO.  Saying no doesn’t make you evil or selfish, and it most certainly doesn’t make you a bad friend, daughter, sister or wife.  That two letter word can be the difference of inner peace or a panic attack. How can you take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself?

The more I say NO, the more I am able to give the best version of myself to the moments when I do say YES.    

Enjoy Your Pets:  

I know, I know. I’m a crazy cat and dog lady. You’re probably sick of me talking about them, but it works!  If I have had a stressful day and feel on the edge of a breakdown, stealing a cat hug from Daryl or Loki instantly puts a smile on my face.  There is nothing better than watching a movie (most likely something Marvel), and Penelope sitting on my lap.  She can usually tell if I am having a tough time, and is glued to my side.  We really don’t deserve dogs do we?  If you don’t have a pet and you’re in need of a forced cat hug or slobbery kisses, ask a friend/family member to babysit their fur child for the day!  When my childhood dog passed away, I loved spending time at my local shelter.  Or I would tag along when one of my friends brought their four legged companion to the dog park.  

Let It Out:

When I say “let it out”, I’m not telling you to scream, and flip off the person who cut you off.  I’m talking about HEALTHY ways of coping.  Journaling, cardio, rocking out to your favorite song, venting to a close friend or therapist… Attempting to bottle your emotions will only make you more stressed.  If you need a good, long cry, do it.  I have noticed that if I just let myself cry, I end up feeling a million times better.  The harder I try to hold it all in is what creates a snowball effect.  When I allow myself to let it all go, I have a MUCH clearer headspace afterwards. Crying does not make you weak!  If crying isn’t what I need, sometimes I can jump on a bike and cycle my anxiety away. Endorphins are there to save you!  Also, do not underestimate the power of sharing your feelings with a good friend.  Sometimes all I need is someone to listen.  Your friend will more than likely not have the answers, but just knowing that you’re not alone is enough.  

There are so many options to help you cope, but it is your responsibility to figure out what YOUR mind needs.  

Focus on Five Things:

There are many versions of this technique, and it will look different for each person. Some involve naming five things in the room that have the same color or five things in the room that start with the same letter. The one that works best for me is focusing on five, favorite memories or funny moments. As soon as you realize you’re having an anxiety attack, try to recall five of your favorite memories. For example, a couple years ago, we had a HUGE lightning storm right by our home. The clouds were purple, and it was like the world stopped. We moved our couch right by the living room window, snuggled under a blanket, and watched the storm. It was so beautiful, and is still one of my most cherished memories.

Now do that FIVE times. I can guarantee that once you have finished meditating on your most treasured moments, you will more than likely be feeling better.

This tactic isn’t foolproof, but I recommend giving it a go next time you need it!

Breathe:  

This is incredibly cheesy, but there was a reason I wanted to pose with baby’s-breath. I warned you! Cheesy. 😛

When all else fails, take big, deep breaths.  In and out.  Sounds simple, right?  But when you’re in the middle of an episode, it will be a difficult task. If I am really worked up, I almost always notice that I haven’t been breathing properly.  Slowing down, and focusing on my breath is a sure fire way to tame my emotions.    

Like I said previously, I am not a professional. I’m just the girl next door who also battles with anxiety, and I wanted to share my thoroughly tested regimens. If being vulnerable only helps one person, I have done my job, and it’s all worth it.

I also wanted to mention that seeking counseling from a therapist does not mean there is something wrong with you. Realistically, we should all be in counseling. Life is crazy, unpredictable, and overwhelming!

One of my goals for 2019 was to find a therapist that vibes with my personality and beliefs (and one that my insurance will cover). I used to view therapy as weakness, but there are a lot of things I’m going through that require professional advice. There is no shame in that, and me coming to that conclusion, is a huge step in the right direction.

If my stubborn, Italian self can accept help, you can too.

What are some of your tips and tricks for dealing with anxiety?

All my love,

16 thoughts on “Dealing with Anxiety

  1. Love this post! I have been on and off in therapy for 2 years and I’m finally doing my best to help myself with my anxiety but nothing I was doing was helping so I’ve started trying medication. The first medication created severe stomach pain and other side effects, now I’m trying a new medication.

  2. To be clear, I can get very anxious/nervous, but I do not have anxiety constantly, so I cannot particularly relate on that level. This being said, here are some things I do to cope and help clear my mind and relax my soul:

    Running. Or, honestly, exercise in general. I start my day that way! It wakes me up, clears my mind, and gives me a boost of endorphins. Long runs provide me with time to focus on my goals (be them running or life), tasks for the day, and to just think unanswered things through a bit. It is time to focus on me.

    I attempt yoga, but if I am stressed, it doesn’t help. I only get deeper into my thoughts. BUT, it is always worth a shot! Toning/strengthening yoga helps better than ones focused more on relaxation. Endorphins are my friends!

    Also, tea. Ginger tea specifically (helps the stomach and nerves), with a dash of honey if life is tough.

    And, as a Christian, I do read the Bible. I remember one time in particular I was really stressing with not finding work post-college graduation. I thought I would have to give up my dreams (which I have had since being about eight-years-old) and settle at 22/23-years-old and that thought absolutley broke my heart. Then, I reread the book of Job (in a reading plan I am following) and I saw how MUCH he struggled. I couldn’t imagine the pain and hardships he endured; yet, he did not curse God when everyone said he should. If he could survive, and even sing praises, during all those years and losing everything, then I can make it through my own struggles and challenges.

    1. You have better pointers than me! haha I agree with everything 110%, and I need to try the ginger tea idea. 😀 I have the Yogi one in my pantry, but I don’t really care for ginger. One of these days, I’ll give it another try. Also, what you said about Job is so true. If he survived all of that, and kept a smile on his face, I have no excuse!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. I have dealt with anxiety since my late teens but for a long time did not know what it was. People just didn’t talk about it as much as they do now. I think it’s such a good thing that we are able to reach out on these types of platforms and not feel so alone. I was recently set up with someone to talk to, here is what is scary though after talking to my doctor about needing to see someone it took me 2 months to get in and then once I did get in it was going to be another two and a half months till I could get another appointment. There definitely needs to be more done in the healthcare system for mental health. That said thank you for this post and the amazing tips.

    1. Healthcare is ridiculous regarding mental health, right? It makes me so frustrated. Over four months is unacceptable… I’m kind of going through the same thing with trying to find someone within my insurance. It’s a pain in the buttocks! haha

  4. I try the grounding method as well (5 things dealing with the 5 senses.) For anyone reading the comments I’ve found a “life hack” on pinterest that’s helped me ever since it’s a song on YouTube called “Marconi Union Weightless (Official 10 Hour Version)” it doesn’t work for everyone but I am however, very thankful it works for me (sometimes.) This is a very powerful read! *A little side note* when I finally agreed to go to the doctor and was “officially” diagnosed with anxiety my mom said “I knew it, I knew there was always something wrong with you, this explains everything.” In that moment I felt crushed, belittled, and I just wanted to run to my bed and curl up in a ball. She made me feel like I had something seriously messed up with me. My mom forced me to take pills everyday, they made me feel dead inside. I no longer had a personality of any kind … Just know, if you have anxiety you’re not alone. Anxiety doesn’t mean you are messed up, don’t let others make you feel that way. If your prescribed medication makes you feel dead get it adjusted or you can find ways to help cope without anxiety medication, and for me that’s a song, watching a funny show, holding my husky, or cuddling my boyfriend. My inbox is always open if you need a friend! (I’m not good with words or feelings so I’m sorry if this was a little all over the place)

    1. You weren’t all over the place! Thank you so much for sharing!! ♡ I sorry your mom reacted that way. Some people will never fully understand, and that’s why it is so important to surround ourselves with people that DO understand. 🙂

  5. Such a great post!! The 5 things tip is a super good idea. Once in high school during a lockdown the girl next to me started to have a panic attack, and another girl told her to list off 5 things she could smell, hear, taste, etc…which helped her calm back down! It’s such a good tip and I’m glad I now know it to help anyone I can, should the moment arise.

    Miles of smiles,
    Grace

    Gracefulrags.com

  6. Thank you for sharing all of these tips and experiences. Sometimes I find the people going through this give better advice than professionals. I battle anxiety and depression and find everything you have mentioned to be incredibly helpful IF I stick to it. That’s the big trouble for me is staying with the rountines that work. I’m doing my best to reestablish proper goals and take better care of myself. I wish all of us that struggle a great helping of strength to find what works for ya. Take care lovely.

  7. I tend to get anxious in crowds but its not that bad. Luckily my husband always helps me to get through any situations where I am feeling anxious. I also try to go sit by the water daily just to refresh and recharge my constantly racing mind. I think that is why i always wanted to live on the water. i knew some how some way I needed it for my inner sanity. XO

  8. I’d listed pretty much everyway I cope with anxiety on the IG post, but reading this gave me so many more ideas. I wish we lived closer to each other so we could go on biking adventures together! I miss riding bikes, so I may try taking that up as an outlet for not only anxiety, but stress too! ❤️

  9. These are great tips! You’re pics are beautiful!!! 🙌🏻🔥 I agree good routines are very important for your mental health – at least for me! If I stick to a routine I feel a lot calmer than when I don’t and feel like things are out of control! I love that you and your husband play video games together once in a while, which means he listens to your makeup rants’ 🥰 I love video games! They actually help calm me when I feel anxious…well most of the time! There are times I’m playing an online multiplayer game and someone does something that irritates me and gets me annoyed 🙈 but for the most part they calm me or at least help me get my mind of things making me anxious and stressing me out!

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