***Trigger warning: Today’s post is about anxiety. If that is something you have trouble discussing, please come back next week for a new post.***
There are so many things that affect anxiety, and there always seems to be the same typical suggestions to help. Things like eat wholesome foods or stay active are usually what I hear. Unfortunately, sometimes those don’t always help. So I wanted to make a list of small things that help me so that maybe someone else can use them.
- Keep Lists
Lists help me remember all the things I would usually forget. How many times do we get to Sunday and we are trying to remember the errands we need to run for the week or the chores we need to do to be prepared for the upcoming days? Make a list! Things as obvious as a grocery list or a to do list is life changing. So many times we assume we will remember those little things like schedule that vet check up or pick up those cupcakes for little Jimmy’s party, but when the time comes, we are totally lost. I typically use the notes app on my phone and the to do list in my Emily Ley Planner.
And that brings me to my next point…
2. Use a planner
As I said above, the Emily Ley Academic Planner is my go to. It has a full page per day and hour by hour planning. It keeps me completely sane. One thing that contributes to my anxiety is lack of order or control. My planner keeps me in control of my week and aware of what to expect.
3. Do small chores daily
This one is HUGE for me. I try to do at least a single load of laundry a day. That’s wash, dry, and fold. I can honestly say I am horrible with getting clean clothes out of the basket, but I’m working on it. Also, things like doing all dishes before bed has helped. If I wake up in the morning to a sink of dishes, I feel like my day starts off on the wrong foot immediately. Also things like having certain days that I vacuum and mop help keeps the house up until a full cleaning day on the weekend.
4. Take active breaks
Throughout the day I notice I have certain times where I get really overwhelmed or anxious. If I get up and have a brisk walk, I notice that it eases the anxiety a lot. Now that I am taking summer classes, I am sitting in class for almost 6 hours straight. I get so jittery and anxious where I feel like I could just explode. Luckily we are able to take a quick break every so often. Many people just sit at their desk and play on their phone, but I have to get up and move around. I also noticed this was necessary when I was working a desk job. Even if it was a walk out to the warehouse, I needed that time to reset.
Sometimes I think people assume meditation is some kind of cross legged, humming, eyes closed, connection to higher power. Although some people do use meditation for many things, there are also more simple ways of meditation. It could be a way to bring you back to center and remember that whatever it is you’re worrying about is conquerable and you are able. Lately I have been using the app called Headspace. The free 10-day trial includes 10-10 minute sessions, and sometimes that’s really all you need. It helps you focus on your breaths and not letting your thoughts hold you captive. I always have my headphones with me, and if I have a moment where I feel like I’m losing control, I popped my headphones in and take a moment to listen to a session.
6. Lay out your outfit
Maybe it’s just me but the morning can be the most hectic time of the day. If my day doesn’t start right, the rest is doomed. If I lay my outfit out the night before, it is one less thing to worry about. I lay everything out from underwear to socks to any kind of jewelry I might wear. That way I can just mindlessly get ready and be in the car with plenty of time to get where I need to be.
7. Don’t get over caffeinated
Growing up, caffeine didn’t affect me. I could drink a soda or coffee and go right to sleep. Now, if I consume too much, I get antsy and irritable. It’s almost like feeling tipsy where I can feel my grip on reality starting to slip. I have to be very careful because if I get this way during class, I usually have to step out and take a lap round the building.
8. Drink plenty of water
To tie in to the one above, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. I notice that if I don’t drink enough water, I usually get a headache and fatigued. Those things usually trigger anxiety because I feel like I am not able to preform tasks that are necessary for the day. I also notice a change in my skin and my hair if I continuously go days without drinking enough water. *TMI* I also have trouble going to the bathroom regularly if I am dehydrated. And who wants to be stopped up?!
9. Be aware of your triggers
We all have different things that influence our moods and anxiety. Pay attention to the things that bring about attacks and take note. If you are able to target these things and prepare prior to encountering them, it makes things so much easier down the road. One example for me would be large crowds. We are going to Ikea this weekend and usually by the time we make our way through the endless maze, I am ready to lose it. Luckily, I am aware that is a trigger for me and I can take necessary precautions. I can step away from the crowd and take a breather. I can be sure I had plenty of sleep and I ate before going in (two thing that usually affect my anxiety.) Also, I am usually with someone like my husband who knows certain things affect me, and he usually can spot when I am on the verge. Make sure you have someone you trust with you in those situations.
10. Have a cry day
About once a month I have a good cry. Not just a quick one, but a good solid hour long cry. I prefer to end my cry in the shower because then I can wash makeup off after and start fresh. It is almost as if I am washing away the negative and beginning anew. My cries are rarely ever because I am sad. It usually is a way to release the tension of the past month or so. I don’t schedule them and they usually happen organically and are instigated by some really sweet or tug on your heartstrings video. However, I do know that some people like Kristin from the Bert Show here in Atlanta keeps certain videos for the exact purpose of a cry day. We all have our different things, but try it out and see how it works for you.
Unfortunately many people suffer from anxiety. I hope we can all be more open with our struggles and encourage each other with pointers and help. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone. Please get help if you are suffering from any kind of mental health issues.
Do you have any things that help with your anxiety?