How to Manage Your Anxiety

Remember how I mentioned wanting to get more into informative posts? Well here's the first one. Not too long ago I talked to a girl friend who battles anxiety, and we had a good talk about how possibly ease the symptoms or even prevent them in your daily life. And since this day and age so many of us have trouble with anxiety, I thought the same tips could be shared in a blog post to maybe help more people. These are things me and people I know well have found to be helpful, but everyone is different and you may have anxiety that needs more care than this. In that case, it's no shame to contact a professional because anxiety can truly prevent you from living if it's severe. 

And of course the mandatory disclaimer here: I'm not a health nor mental health professional, and I'm merely sharing what has been helpful to me. Take everything listed here with a grain of salt and try them out if they sound any good to you. I'll try to back up my claims with reasons or even science that is available to anyone, but I will not say that any of these tips will magically cure anything or that they will be absolutely effective for everyone.

black kitty miro

My tips on managing anxiety

Set yourself a regular sleeping schedule, and try to stick to it

I believe well-rested body is a healthy body. In my knowledge, there are many studies that suggest getting a decent amount of sleep helps not only your body, but also your mind to heal. Therefore, it's one of the most natural ways to relieve anxiety - that is if you can get some sleep. I will be writing about things that make my quality of sleep better than ever in a later post, but even if you have insomnia, try to have a schedule for resting. I personally aim to sleep between 10pm and 6am most days, so that I have the chance for 8 hours of sleep but actually having something between 6 to 7 hours, which for me is sufficient to feel energetic through the day and managing everything. I will touch this on the sleep tips post as well, but when you have a regular bedtime, your body starts to expect to rest at a certain time and you'll fall asleep easier, therefore getting the rest you need to stay healthy.

Regulate the caffeine intake

Now, this might not be a thing for everyone, but at least I had to give up having caffeine after 6pm and not having over 3 cups of caffeine drinks per day when I had peaked anxiety after my breakup. Now, I can be a little more relaxed with it and not get racing heart or insomnia. If you drink caffeine, find out your limit with it. And the same goes with alcohol, if you have anxiety, I wouldn't recommend drinking since alcohol takes a toll on your body as it is, and doesn't really mix well with anxiety.

Don't skip meals, your body needs food

I know that especially us girls lose our appetite when going through rough times. However, just like sleep, nutrition is vital to the body, and especially avoiding good fats (those are vital for the brain to function) doesn't really do you any favors. Skipping meals constantly will possibly also put your body in survival mode, where it doesn't know if and when you'll get nutrition or not, and will cling to the few things you do eat, and you will most likely start to feel sluggish and unproductive. Eating regularly through the day keeps your body and brain happier and you can focus on the reasons behind your anxiety rather than dragging your body down too.

black cat

Drink enough water

This may be super obvious, but - hydration is never bad. I mean unless you drink like four liters per day, that's not good for most of us. This is one I still struggle with some days, I just forgot to hydrate unless I have water constantly next to me. At work, I have a bottle filled the whole day and keep sipping from it a lot, but at home, I don't do as well honestly. Why I think you should drink water? At least for me, being dehydrated triggers my anxiety attacks easier. Since I rather pee a little more often than have my heart rate through the roof, it's a no-brainer to choose water. 

Have some regular exercise, even if it's just casual walks

Regular exercising relieves stress and lowers your resting heart rate, so it's a good way to not only stay healthy, but also keep your head better together. If you're not feeling like a hardcore sweat session, try going on a walk in a park or forest. Nature and especially forests are proven to relieve stress when spending time in them, so you can have 2-in-1 aid for the anxiety.

At this point of the post I should probably address why I keep talking about both stress and anxiety although they're not the same. In my life, they're often related and one can cause another - both ways even, which is the best part - so relieving one usually helps the other one too.

Find a creative outlet you enjoy

Anxiety might give you feelings you can't always find words for, so talking about it might not always do the thing right away. So instead, you can try to create, and even try to find something concrete to do with your hands. If you're musical, sing or play an instrument, if you prefer drawing or painting, do that, if you're like me, you might enjoy crafts and DIYs. This is why I knit a lot, it's a preventative measure for my mental health. It's in my understanding even been studied that knitting can help to manage stress, anxiety, depression and even chronic pain. So even though I find knitting fun, I also do it because it's good for me, and I do believe it relaxes me. Find an outlet that works for you - and who knows, you can even find a new passion that way.

miro the cat

Keep a journal

This is more what a friend of mine does, but I could agree it helps to keep a journal, either for gratitude or to list out stressful things to put them out of your mind. My friend keeps a gratitude journal, and she lists there different things she's felt thankful for each day. Those can be little things, those can be big things, but she firmly believes that acknowledging the things she's thankful for makes the bad days seem better because you can look back on the lists and see all the things to be thankful when it feels like the sky is falling. Seems like a wonderful thing to do. For myself, the better way is the method where you list the things that are stressing you, see if they are things you can do something about (and plan accordingly) or things you can't do anything about and therefore stressing doesn't do anything either. Younger me would've most likely chosen the gratitude journal, but I've become so much of my mother's daughter that the one where I reason myself out of stress is a functioning way to deal.

Focus on self-care in form of skincare, body care etc. 

This will sound vain, but sometimes all you need is a little pampering. For me, boosting my confidence by making myself feel prettier helps me think I can conquer the world. And then I don't feel so swamped with the anxiety. Also, I feel like having a bath, doing a face mask, moisturizing your skin with a beautifully smelling lotion or so on does relax you. And getting yourself to relax does help out to not feel so anxious. I personally do a lot of foot baths with pieces of Lush bath bombs sprinkled in. I get the fanciness of Lush but can multitask while having the bath and don't use as much water so it's a bit more eco-conscious. And since feet have spots for every part of your body, treating them is most likely as good as bathing your whole body.

Accept you're feeling a certain way, and let the feelings run their course

Stressing about your anxiety makes it worse in most cases. At least I'm guilty of having done that, the vicious cycle of panicking about having anxiety. Not a single time did that make me feel better. Now, if I notice getting anxious or even notice the heart rate jump up, I can talk to myself internally and calm down. Which we'll talk in the next point. But the takeaway from this point should be, it's natural to feel anxious and/or stressed some days. It's part of human life. But only a part, so it passes. I promise you that. Don't be ashamed to feel things, we all feel things. Except maybe psychopaths but that's a whole another thing.

Make up phrases to repeat to yourself

When you're caught in a cycle of anxiety, to try to reason yourself out of it a little. Okay I know this sounds a little crazy at first, but hear me out. I think we all have a bit of internal monologue with ourselves daily, but sometimes we don't recognize enough what we actually are saying to ourselves. Personally, I've come up with things to say to myself (inside my head) whenever I feel very anxious or stressed, to help myself snap out of it. For my racing heart, I have the phrase "You've been through this before, and didn't die. What are the odds of dying this time? Not high. Let it race." For thoughts that keep looping to whatever I stress about, I say "But what can you actually do about it now? If the answer is nothing, you should worry about it when you can do something about it. Otherwise you waste your time." For insomnia, I tell myself "That's fine, if you can't sleep, you can't. Just lie in the dark, think nice thoughts and listen to music if you need to. Sleep will come once you calm a little." And mostly, these work wonderfully for me, and I assume the reason is that I feel like someone has my back, even though that someone is me. Don't know if that makes sense to anyone. 

miro the cat

Learn breathing techniques to relax your body

This is especially if you get racing heart from anxiety. Knowing how to breathe deeply is good for you in many ways, but especially good when you need to have ways to calm your body. I have had to learn these years ago, when I had racing heart for hours when my anxiety kicked in. Now, I can use the techniques to stop my attacks in minutes. You can search with the frase "how to calm a racing heart" or something like that and you should come up with helpful articles. But also looking for instructions for yoga breathing exercises should do the thing because the basic technique is fairly similar. You can - and most likely should - consult a professional whenever your symptoms are heart-related though, just to be safe. I have. The other benefits of knowing the "right" kind of breathing is that it can help you fall asleep faster, it can help you breathe out small pains and help you take in more oxygen which is amazing for your brain.

If possible, get massages every once in a while

In my personal experience, muscle tension can kick off your anxiety. Therefore I have to be mindful of how my body and especially neck and shoulders feel, because the tension may make me have an anxiety attack if the head is feeling stressed or overwhelmed. So having someone to sort through my muscles somewhat regularly is kind of mandatory. Not to mention it is quite luxurious when you go to a professional who knows all the ways the body works. The girl I go to is the best, she can heal my soreness like no one else and I'd be so much worse without her. 

Find music, youtubers or movies/series that soothe you

I know I make a big deal about acknowledging your demons and feelings and reasoning with yourself, and so on, but sometimes you just need a good distraction. I enjoy blasting songs from my favorite bands, watching youtubers that make me laugh or inspire me and just scrolling through Netflix and watching series and movies that bring me good memories. I have friends who feel the most calm after watching horror movies, and I myself mostly need fluffier things like Glee or Gossip Girl. But whatever you enjoy, watch or listen to it.

black kitty

Create a self-care routine for the worst days

We all will have days when everything just seems to go wrong, the world feels like a bad place, or you just don't feel right with yourself. And for those days, I recommend having a selfcare routine that more or less without a fail makes you feel better. Personally I enjoy currently making a footbath, washing my face and doing a mask or a scrub, and watching a little bit YouTube or Netflix with tea and knitting and just relaxing. Those really help me to get in a better mood and also distract me from the things that make my mood down or cause anxiety. And on some occasion I might even get a little treat for myself but for obvious reasons I don't teach myself to find comfort from food.

Those are my main tips to managing anxiety and stress as well. Apart from these, I know there are many more scientific ways to help the anxiety and also each of us should work on the things that cause it. For some it might be the relationship you're in, for some it's their family, and each reason can be just as valid. My biggest point for this post was to help anyone reading this to not only be okay admitting there's some stress or anxiety, but to also try to find life skills to manage them. 

Do you have tips to  add to this list? Share them in the comments!

That's it for this post, I'll definitely be enjoying some down time when this post goes up, it's the day after festival adventure and I've been sleeping for 2 hours last night. But as promised, this post is up regardless of how I feel. I really want to be more committed to the blog and that's why I've started planning the content little further than I've done before. I hope that will create content that gives you more than the blog probably has so far. If you have suggestions or wishes about the coming posts, you can share those in the comments so I can consider them! I'll see you in my next post. 

Have a lovely day ♥

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