Anxiety. The seven letter word that bounces around my head on a weekly basis. I don’t know when it got here, but it’s definitely here to stay. Some days my anxiety takes a vacation and it’s no where in sight. Other days anxiety curls up next to me in bed and squeezes its arms tightly around me.
You know the feeling. Chest tightening, heart racing, stomach squeezing. Your mind is running on a hamster wheel which is only making the above symptoms worse.
I know my triggers now. I just get careless. I see task after task falling down like Tetris blocks into place. Eventually, all of the blocks reach the top and it’s game over. Cue all of the dreaded anxiety symptoms.
There are a few things I’ve found that have helped me manage stress and in turn manage my anxiety.
- Seeing a therapist. A fairy therapist godmother taught me a few essential tools to decompress and manage the anxiety I was having. Here is one of them. Sit in a chair. Close your eyes. Start with your toes. Squeeze your toes extremely tight and count to five. Now release. Now move onto your feet. Squeeze your feet tight for five seconds. Now release. Move to your calves, the upper parts of your legs, your stomach, hands, arms, face, head. The act of focusing on tightening and releasing these parts of the body naturally decompresses you and helps! If you haven’t thought about seeing a therapist I highly recommend it. If you feel like you don’t have time – you can always find one remotely here. There are differences between psychologists and therapists, so find the right one for you. If you want more information on the differences between both – check out this article at BetterHelp.
- Practicing Yoga. Some people find yoga dreadful. They have different reasons. It’s not active enough. It’s too slow. They don’t get anything out of it. I never understood those people. I don’t go into yoga thinking I am going to burn the calories I would during a marathon. I go to yoga to shut my phone off for 60 minutes. Have a dedicated space in a room on my mat where no one bothers me. I sit. I breathe. I stretch. I close my eyes. I take 60 minutes out of my day to only think about me, my body and to top it all off – I get to lay down at the end of stretching for 30 seconds and close my eyes. Giving myself permission to rest. How often do you give yourself permission to rest? PLUS there is data that has proven the benefits of yoga. “According to a randomized controlled trial at Johns Hopkins, 2 groups of participants were assigned to a wait list or to twice-a-week yoga and an at-home yoga practice. After 8 weeks, the yoga group showed a significant reduction in pain as well as better moods, improved physical functions, and increased energy levels.” you can check out that article here.
- Writing. Don’t worry about how good it sounds. What you’re saying. If it seems scattered and sporadic. Writing is therapeutic. You are putting those thoughts and feelings out into the universe in a tangible form. You are releasing that pent up shit from your body on to a page – now the page owns your pent up emotions. It doesn’t need to be published. It doesn’t need to even mean anything. Hell you could burn it right after you write it. The act of writing itself – it will help you. I promise.
Anxiety isn’t fun, but it can be managed. I think the majority of women experience anxiety on a regular basis and by talking about it – we dispel any negative stigma that might be associated with anxiety. I would love to hear about any ways you manage your anxiety or any practices you’ve found helpful.
Ashley Rector, Founder of Harness Magazine
BetterHelp helped sponsor this post. I encourage you to check out their mission. By providing counseling any time anywhere they are creating a more accessible environment to receive the mental health care we all need!