how I manage my anxiety, and how you can too
Piggy-backing off my last post about my latest struggles with anxiety, I've been pulling out all of my old tricks -- and some new ones -- to push through this temporary obstacle. That's really what this is -- temporary. Although anxiety comes and goes and presents itself in many different ways, this spell is particularly challenging in the sense that it has been going on for over a week now...but I know it won't last forever.
A little back story first: I've been dealing with anxiety for the last eight years or so. I realized something was up and went to the doctor and a therapist, who both concluded I had generalized anxiety disorder and a mild case of depression (at the time). I took some steps to deal with it then, which included a round of therapy and a prescription for Ativan.
Eight years later and I no longer go to therapy, and I no longer rely on medication unless it's an emergency and my go-to tricks aren't effective. Over the last week I've been trying all sorts of things to keep my spirits up and to keep this anxiety under control. Some have worked really well, while others only work for a little. If I can find an hour, or even just a few minutes of relief, I'll gladly take it. If you deal with anxiety, I feel for you and know what you're going through. Here's what I typically do when anxiety rears its ugly head (note: all links included are NOT affiliate links):
Drink lots of water. This is a given. I try to drink as close to a gallon a day as I can, especially when anxiety strikes. I also like to add a little squeeze of a lemon, especially first thing in the morning.
Limit caffeine. I typically drink three cups of coffee every day. When I'm going through an intense bout of anxiety, I really try to limit my coffee intake. I find that if I stick to my usual three cups, it actually makes my anxiety worse.
Limit or completely eliminate alcohol. Consuming alcohol when I'm experiencing heightened anxiety is a nightmare. It might take the edge off for a bit, and even relax me a little, but I find once it wears off -- or when I wake up in the morning (if it's been a night out) -- it spikes my anxiety right back up. Definitely not ideal.
Eat a balanced diet. Sometimes when I'm dealing with intense anxiety I want to eat ALL THE THINGS. Other times, I don't have an appetite at all. Either way, I try to find a balance and make sure I'm still nourishing my body with good, healthy options. That's not to say I don't indulge every once and a while ;)
Diffuse essential oils. I absolutely love my diffuser. I ordered it from Amazon a couple years ago and couldn't be happier. I love that you can choose the color and intensity of light, or opt for no light at all. When I'm feeling anxious, I love Eden's Garden Anxiety Ease blend, but will also reach for lavender, patchouli, sandalwood, or frankincense. Dr. Axe has an incredibly helpful and informative article about the Top 7 Essential Oils for Anxiety. Highly recommend!
Burn incense. This is a new one for me. I've always loved the smell of incense burning when I walk into a yoga studio. When I met with the owner of a massage studio the other day, she had the same scent burning in her space. I asked her about it, and she happily gifted me a box of sandalwood. I ordered an incense burner right away and order more incense sticks. I've been using the sandalwood like crazy lately and I'm officially obsessed. Here is the burner I ordered (it also came with 20 sticks), and the variety pack I ordered, too.
Yoga. I prefer heated Vinyasa yoga at my local studio, but when I can't get to a class (they aren't cheap these days!) there are a few YouTube channels I love to use. Sara Beth Yoga, Yoga by Candace and Yoga With Adriene have been favorites of mine for years. I love this flow specifically for anxiety and panic attacks from Adriene. I also like this one from Sara Beth. Most YouTube yogi channels I've explored have videos for anxiety/depression/stress. Take a look around until you find something that vibes with you, settle into your mat and give it a go.
Get plenty of sleep (or at least try). When my anxiety is intense, I have the HARDEST time falling asleep. However, when I do eventually fall asleep I sleep HARD, and often sleep in. This is where essential oils and meditation apps come in to play.
Meditate. Full disclosure, I suck at meditating. Probably because I'm constantly thinking of a million things. I have a few apps that help me though, and they have actually really worked well in calming my mind and helping me fall asleep. If you need a little extra help, I recommend giving Headspace, Simple Habit, or Calm a try. Some of them require a monthly subscription fee, but you can sign up for the free trial. Just make sure you cancel when your trial is up, or you'll be paying a hefty fee every month. The "sleep anxiety" series from Simple Habit worked wonders for me when I had the trial. There is also a Calm Community you can join on Facebook that is comforting and helpful.
Keep busy. Despite quitting my full-time job back in June, my business and revamping this blog keep me super busy. Keeping up with social media, making products, shipping products, designing ebooks and freebies -- my plate is definitely full. I know at times this certainly contributes to the level of my anxiety, but making bath and body products is actually therapeutic for me. Find something you love to do and do it -- a lot.
Listen to Music. I've always believed music can heal. I've never believed it more than when I started getting anxiety attacks. Trevor Hall has been my go-to guy to calm me down lately. I put my headphones on and let the music drown out everything around me.
Read. If I have a good book that I can really immerse myself in, I find it really helps. Sometimes I'm a little too distracted by my own thoughts to read, but even a few pages can help take my mind off things. I have a giant stack of books I'm working through right now, but most are business related. I don't have any specific books about anxiety to recommend, so if you have any suggestions, let me know!
Spend time with loved ones. This can be difficult when all you want to do is curl up in a ball because you feel like your skin is crawling, but trust me. A little time away from your cave will help lift your spirits, even for just a little while.
I also try to watch a good movie, look for motivational videos on YouTube (love Jay Shetty lately), or just some of my favorite YouTubers. Background noise really helps, especially if I'm trying to get work done.
I feel like there are a few more things I could add to this list, but I hope what I shared will be helpful to someone. If you have any recommendations for coping with anxiety, I would LOVE to hear your tips! Sending positive vibes to you all xx