For this month's Wellness topic, I'm teaming up with my friend, Grace Hamlin to talk about how we cope with anxiety. I've dealt with anxiety for my entire life, but it really escalated when I became a mom. I suffered from Postpartum Anxiety with Caroline, but didn't find out until she was over a year old after finally going to a therapist. Through therapy, I started to feel like myself again and built up strategies to help me cope with the challenges of everyday life. I think a big part of when my anxiety escalates is when I am not taking care of myself.
Let's pause and fast forward though to a year of COVID and also losing my Dad a few months ago. My anxiety was starting to go through the roof, which makes sense. For awhile, I felt like my body/mind were constantly in fight or flight mode. I really had to dig deep and not just by myself, with my therapist, Troster and even my friends/family. What could I do to help myself not feel the way I was feeling? I didn't want to feel this way. Here are some of the things I started doing and it mostly comes down to taking care of myself. (Anxiety is different for everyone, so what might work for me, might not for someone else).
Go back to the gym. Working out is a major way of how I relieve anxiety. It clears my head. Some of my favorite workouts that give me instant relief are spin and interval training.
Sleep 7-8 hours a night. This meant going to bed early, no later than 10:30. I drink peppermint tea every night before bed, read a book, and use a weighted blanket to help me wind down.
Eat well-balanced meals and drink a lot of water. When I eat right, I feel good. It immensely helps how I feel. I strive to eat foods that are rich in nutrients.
Limit my caffeine. That means one latte a day for me. When I have too much, I feel even more anxious and just run down.
Meditation. I try to start each morning with meditating for 5-10 minutes after I read my devotional. This gets my thoughts on the right track for the day.
Therapy. I can't stress enough how much going to therapy and talking to someone who is not a friend or a family member has helped me. One thing that I learned recently to say myself when I feel like I'm on a hamster wheel is "First Things First." Everything else can wait, but first I need to take care of me. That's of course, easier said than done. For instance, if I'm running late one morning, instead of making the beds, I need to eat.
Gardening. I know not surprising coming from me, but being outside in the fresh air and digging in the dirt has does wonders for my mood
Medication. I have no shame in taking something when I really need it. Right now, the strategies above are working, but when they aren't enough, I know that it's okay to get extra help.
Anxiety is always going to be something that I'm working on. I always tell myself, everyone has something, this is my "something," and that's okay.