For as long as I can remember, anxiety has been a constant in my life. With the anxiety has come depression, which has always come with a wide range of emotions. With each wave of emotion that would wash over me, it was like a piece of my soul would escape my body and then stand in front of me and ask why I’m like this.
Why am I like this?
There was a point that I asked myself this question daily. I would withdraw from so many things. I missed countless opportunities, events, relationships, and experiences because I grew to hate myself. I still have many struggles, but I’ve found some ways that I’ve been able to function and do enjoyable things without wanting to go back to the lonely corner.
These are the ways that I function with anxiety:
I get out of my head. This is very difficult to do sometimes but it’s the biggest factor in dealing. The mind is the most powerful thing. We can really talk ourselves in or out of anything.
I tell myself that it's okay to say no. This too can be very difficult. Especially when you’re trying to please someone. I tend to over-commit on a daily and weekly basis. This goes in hand with “getting out of my head.” I have to remind myself that its okay to say no.
I make sure I have enough time for me. My go-to self care is playing guitar. I find it extremely relaxing and it can instantly put me in a better place mentally. Sometimes I will take 20 minutes and just lay down in silence. Whatever I need to get through the moment of anxiety. If I’m at work, I’ll go for a walk or find somewhere to sit down and breathe.
I exercise anxiety in public. This is risky but must be done because it can hit at the worst possible time and I like to prepare myself. I have anxiety the most when I’m in restaurants, at the mall, and driving so I force myself do these things as often as I can.
I remember it's okay to ask for help. Sometimes talking it out with someone can be really helpful because everyone has different ideas for dealing with situations, even if they don’t suffer from anxiety. It can be refreshing to hear another side to things.
I remind myself I’m not alone. Theres lots of online communities where you can vent and share your struggle and usually will find theres a few who struggle just the same.
While writing this, I took a few breaks. The in-between of number six and now was about five hours which included two decently-scaled attacks. The first one, I was at the spray park with my boyfriend and his son. Kids running everywhere. Kids screaming everywhere. And parents screaming at their kids everywhere. But guess whose idea it was to go to the spray park was? You guessed it! Mine!
The way I coped with all of it was by bringing my laptop and with us and setting up in a shady spot with my boyfriend. There, I wrote numbers two through number six! That’s tip number seven. If you have to zone out and have an hour in your alternate universe of technology, just do it. Your boyfriend probably wants to take a nap anyways!
The second, not-so-intense attack was about four hours after the first. I had a garage sale yesterday. It was pretty decent, apart from the fact that I couldn’t wait for people to stop coming so I could go inside. I made eighty dollars, so I’d say it went pretty well. Of course now that its coming to the end of the weekend, I know that I have to start boxing up the items that need to be donated, but I also need to meal prep for the night. I still need to do another load of laundry, I need to take a shower and I need to finish this informative blog to hand to our editor tonight! Especially when I committed about ten hours ago to handing it in by ten tonight. She did say it was okay to ask for an extension. I want to ask for an extension but I don’t want to be that person. So I remind myself its okay, I get out of my head, I vent to my amazing boyfriend, make a list of what needs to be done and get going! That was my tip number eight. Lists!
9. If I need to stress eat, I stress eat. If I get anxious and start obsessing over something, I will usually grab a snack. I know they say that stress eating is bad, but if it gets you through an anxiety attack, just do it! No one can tell us or judge us on what makes us feel better.
10. This is life. This is life. This is life. Mantra! I learned this one pretty recently. I love it because I’m in my head but in a good way. My mantra is usually a positive saying that is the opposite of how I’m feeling, or it's an “is what it is” saying, like “this is life.” If I repeat it a few times, the attack can sometimes subside slightly and I can move some of the other tips I mentioned here.
I feel like one can ever completely remove their anxiety or always stop an attack but these are the few things I’ve used daily to get myself through life. I hope that some of my ideas can help you or you can help someone you know with these tips to their anxiety.
Post by: Cassidy Mann