Feeling anxious? Here’s a list of extremely unoriginal things that I like to do when anxiety is being a real shithead.
- Get you some essential oils and douse yourself in the lavender one. I like to rub it in my hands, stick my face in my hands, and take a big slow deep breath. Do this a few times.
- Weighty Blankey! My husband bought me one for my birthday last year and it has been a game changer. It’s a blanket with sand in it to make it heavy–I think mine’s 15 pounds. The weight of the blanket is super comforting, because science, and it puts me right to sleep.
- Exercise. There’s a reason mom’s let their toddler’s just run around wherever the fuck they want—they’re going to eventually get tired and crash, thus allowing mom to love the toddler again. They’re so cute when they’re sleeping! My anxiety is my toddler. Gotta exercise the demon.
- Watch silly TV shows to induce giggling. My faves:
- The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
- The Office
- Jane the Virgin
This can also act as a method of communication for when you don’t feel like talking about your anxiety to whomever you live with.
*If my husband came home and Kimmy Schmidt was on repeat, he knew I had a rough day
- Meditate. UGH I know. My therapist sent me recordings specific to people who have Panic Disorder, because they don’t talk about breathing as much as the stupid apps do. Instead of saying unhelpful things like, “take a big deep breath in and hold it” to which I would respond, “That’s the whole fucking problem Headspace man! I CAN’T!” they say things like, “you’re probably having trouble breathing right now, it’s okay. This is normal. Because this recording was created by an actual doctor, not some bullshit startup company. You are going to be okay, we’re going to ride it out together.” I like to do this before I go to sleep, so I don’t wake up gasping for air. Which has happened. Because Nocturnal Panic Attacks are a thing! LOL fun.
- Write. Write out exactly how you’re feeling, so it’s not just festering inside of you. Don’t show anybody. It’s your adult diary.
- Vocalize. B said that when I’m feeling really anxious, I need to vocalize the way my body feels and the crazy thoughts I’m having. I thought this was really stupid at first until I started doing it, and it really helps. B nailed it again! By saying your thoughts out loud, you gain a little bit of your control back, and you hear how ridiculous anxiety is making you. You have to start with, “I’m having a thought….” I’ve stopped a panic attack from peaking by doing this. My husband is more afraid of me than ever, but hey, it helps me chill the fuck out so he can take one for the team.
- Just do stuff. Go for a walk, clean something, dance around, call a friend, just do something. The least helpful thing you can do is just sit around and think about how anxious you are.
- Surround yourself with people who get it. I’m lucky enough to have a couple of friends who have anxiety disorders. Not that I’m happy about this, but it gives me someone to talk to who really gets it. Nothing is funnier than two extremely anxious people comparing therapy techniques and anxiety symptoms over a beer. And if you don’t know anyone with anxiety…now you do! 🙂
- LAUGH. Mental illness of any kind is no joke. It’s real, and it’s not fun. But laughter makes shitty situations a little less shitty. Here’s some memes.
The most important thing that I’ve learned is that it will pass. When I was fighting and resisting all of the anxiety I felt, I was having panic attacks daily, Wreck it Ralph style. I finally just had to let it happen. I had experienced enough to know I was going to survive yet another one. It sucks, it’s still scary and uncomfortable. But IT WILL PASS. It won’t be like this forever.
You got this.