10 Things I Do to Manage my Stress and Anxiety
One of the things I’ve struggled with for a long time is anxiety. That electrical feeling that leaves you restless, stressed, and worried with no rational reason. A lot of articles suggest similar ways to cope and manage anxiety, but most don’t work for me or I am unable to do them with my anxiety.
Below are 10 ways I manage my anxiety. Comment below some things that help you with anxiety.
Ironic, because the word “exercise” gives me anxiety! But the good news is this doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym or a yoga class and hold a plank position for 90 seconds while stressing about accidentally flatulating. I personally love to find some tunes and dance around for 30 to 60 minutes in the privacy of my home. Exercise can mean whatever it means to YOU. Maybe walking to market instead of driving or even cleaning your house. Just keep it moving! It’s that simple.
Embrace “NO!”… but communicate.
“No” has a bad reputation, but it is one of the best things for my anxiety. Whether it is saying “no” to meeting up with friends, an event, picking up an extra shift or answering phone calls/e-mails, etc. However, one of the worst habits I’ve had is “ghosting” because of my anxiety. You must communicate! Let people know you will get back to them in a few days, or that your phone will be on ‘do not disturb’ mode, or that you need a mental health day, etc. Most people will respect your mental health needs if you respect the effect you have on them.
My anxiety is most intense in the morning. My heart is racing, my thoughts are going 100 mph, and I feel the need to be moving constantly. One of the things that can help calm me down and get me focused in the morning is a cup of “sleepy time” chamomile tea. It sounds counterproductive, but when I am that wired it brings me back down to a normal state.
Sleep is essential for everyone’s mental health. It is important to figure out the right amount for YOU, and schedule around sleep. If you have a work shift or meeting scheduled too close to each, request that you be moved back a couple of hours. Not only will you get the rest your body needs, but you also feel better, look better, and be more productive. Listen to your body; naps are underrated but can make all the difference for me. I have never had a TV in my bedroom or sleeping space, and I highly recommend it. I suggest a dark, cool room with white noise. And when I am anxious, a weighted blanket is a game changer!
Music has always been a calming agent for my nerves, but you must pick the right music for your anxiety. Often when my anxiety is acting up, I can’t remember what songs calm me down and can find searching for them an impossible task. I have a playlist on my Spotify that is curated specifically for anxiety, so I know exactly where to look, hit play, and relax.
What is self-care? Self-care to me is whatever it means to ME, and that should be the same for YOU! It doesn’t have to be an expensive face mask, yoga, meditation, or anything that social media tells you it is. It could be throwing paint on a canvas, it could be taking a break, or having a massive scoop of ice cream. To me, self-care is doing what will make your spirit happy in that moment and time… if it’s not hurting yourself or anybody else.
Focus on Achievements
A large trigger to my anxiety is focusing on what I haven’t achieved or how long it is taking me to achieve certain goals. I have had to start focusing on what I have achieved. I struggled with major depression and anxiety, and sometimes it was hard for me to even get out of bed. If the only thing I could do that day was take out the trash, instead of seeing that as an achievement I was stressing about everything else I didn’t get done. I had to change my mindset! Every step forward is an achievement. If your anxiety is keeping you from getting certain things done at all or as quickly as you thought you should, flip it around; even if it was just brushing your teeth, that’s still a step in the right direction! Go you! You awesome cavity crushing, plaque brushing bombshell baddy!
I still have a hard time with this one, but I get anxiety from projects or things with a deadline. I will stress about it and wait until the last minute to complete them. Once I get it done, my anxiety goes away and, in my head, I’m saying “is that all I had to do? I could have done this a month ago and not been stressed this whole time.” It’s that simple, just get it done! I highly suggest reading the book “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy.
Your Anxiety is Unique to YOU!
Everyone’s anxiety is unique to them. Do not compare your manifestation of anxiety to anybody else’s.
Spend Time With People Who Accept You!
People don’t quite understand why you can be the way that you are sometimes. They try to tell you how you should be acting, judge you, or say things like “well, I still get this done and I have anxiety”. Surround yourself with people that accept you when you are going through an episode of anxiety or a rough couple of days. I find that when I’m isolated with anxiety it makes it worse, so having the right company around tends to make me feel better and help distract me from it.