What? It’s Tuesday?? I’m posting a day late?!
Yup… it’s been one of those weekends… but this week is already going good, and I won’t let anything keep me down! Not only did I work all weekend- and be the only one behind the counter- but I also had some family over after a long and stressful day. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family a lot, I’m just the type of person that needs to have time to myself to recharge.
I’ve had depression/anxiety for pretty much as long as I can remember, though it became extremely bad when I was around 13-14 years old, and has just kind of stuck around since then, like those cringe-inducing photos of your teen years that tends to pop up on facebook every so often. Thankfully, it’s a lot more manageable now, and I want to share my top 5 ways that I handle my anxiety, whether it’s just in general or after a panic attack.
Let me start by saying that I am by no means a medical professional, whether for mental health or physical. These things are what help me personally, but everyone is different so your needs may vary. I feel I should also mention I attend therapy fairly often and have also taken anti-depressants, so if those are things that might help you, you should speak to your doctor.
So anyways here is, in no particular order, my top 5 ways to handle anxiety!
#1 Do a Physical Activity
Wow, I could have sworn I just heard everyone groan. I know that people seemed to be obsessed with working out and staying fit, whether they’re talking about how much they love it, or how much they hate it.
I started working out at a gym about 2 or 3 years ago, back when my husband was in basic training. I wasn’t really doing it to “surprise” him when he got home; I wanted to start taking better care of my health, get more muscle strength, and yes, try to get rid of this little belly I’ve had for years, but it was all for me. Since then, we moved to our first Air Force Base, and I went quite a while where the only “fitness” I did was the occasional walk with our dog, and it really effected me mentally. I found another gym to go to in February of this year, and I’ve gone quite a bit since then; they have a super fun Zumba class and Spin, and I also have a trainer I workout with.
Even though I still have a few bad days, I’ve notice that since I’ve been doing physical activities again I’ve had fewer of them. My husband said once he noticed too, and that really gave me a boost! I’m not gonna lie- working out can really suck sometimes. So even if you’re just able to walk around your neighborhood, or maybe dance to your favorite song in the kitchen, just get that body moving!
#2 Have a Cup of Tea (or a Snack!)
What is it about tea that makes it such a cozy, refreshing drink? Hot cocoa included, especially with those mini marshmallows, mmm…
Ahem, moving on, a hot or warm drink can really help you relax. Sometimes when I’m feeling very nervous and wound-up, I’ll make myself some tea- I have quite a few of the fancy loose-leaf teas that I love- and I’ll put all my focus on the process and really do all that mindfulness-stuff that’s all around these days.
A snack can really help too, sometimes when I’m upset, part of it is just being Hangry. If I’m really tired and not feeling up to cooking, I’ll get something like a few chips or a bowl of cereal- I’m terribly in love with junk food, though I try to limit it- but if I’m not too drained I’ll make me a small meal, like one of my yummy grilled cheese for example.
I will say that the junk food choices is good for a short time, but later on my body feels icky, so if I have something like some fruit and yogurt instead of a handful of candy, then that does help a lot more.
#3 Spend Time with a Friend
One of the things that I do that I can’t stand is that I tend to kind of isolate myself when I’m feeling depressed. I’ll stop talking, not reach out to anyone, and just kind of stay in bed all day if I’m able.
It’s not very fun, so one thing I’ve been working on is really reaching out and connecting with people better. I’m still bad about just texting/calling people out of the blue and carrying on conversations if they live far away, but I’ll like their social media posts and send them funny memes that they’d like, and for the friends I live near I’ll try to plan days to hang out with them. I’m the kind of person that can do pretty much anything with someone and have a great time; I’ve along on errands, and sat around watching movies, and even just doing our own things in the same room.
I’ve realized lately that friendship really is one of the most important things in life, and I love all my friends dearly. It’s gotten harder to try and make new friends as an adult- which I don’t totally see myself as at times, but still- though it’s not totally impossible.
Even if you’re just sitting next to each other on the couch looking at your own phones, go hang out with a friend! Of course it’s more fun to do stuff like see a movie, or maybe do a picnic, or whatever else kind of things you like, just go out and spend time with someone. This counts for family too!
#4 Make Something
This is something I like to do at anytime, though making stuff is a great way to just vent out all your anxiety or frustrations. When I was younger, I’d put on some music and just draw for hours, looking back I have no idea how I even went on that long, but it was really soothing. Even now, if I’m at work and dealing with something- or someone- difficult, I’ll take a pen and just make scribbles on a post-it note.
If you have a creative hobby that you like to do, like drawing, sewing, making collages, or even squishing a ball of clay into a different shaped ball of clay, then do it! Have any of you seen those DIY slime posts on Pinterest? Slime is a super fun and easy craft, and great to play with when you need a distraction, not to mention all those neat glitter-filled calm jars! I have one my therapist actually gave me, and I flip it every time I pass by the kitchen bar where it sits.
Also, it might not technically be considered a “craft” or “creative”, but I love playing video games where I can design characters or houses. Animal Crossing is a super cute and easy-going game, and I’ve spent hours and hours on customizing my home to make it as cute and cozy as possible. I’ve also been playing the Sims 4 recently- I may have done only that yesterday while my internet was out, oops- and I’ve already spent 90% of my play time building houses and decorating them.
So really, anything that you can do or make that’s “creative”, do it! It’s a really good way to get yourself to focus on the task at hand and clear your mind, not to mention, depending on the activity, you’ll have something nice to keep afterward!
#5 Clean the House
Without a doubt, probably the most effective method of getting myself all zen and relaxed, is by cleaning my house.
Now of course doing chores isn’t the most fun thing in the world to do, and sometimes I really have to force myself to even wash a dish or put some clothes in the hamper, but when I get in the zone, stuff gets done.
My favorite method of getting into the Cleaning Zone is to put on some good tunes. The playlist is key; you don’t want something slow-paced, or something where you have to really focus on the lyrics, just something you can sing along to while still focusing on your work. My favorite cleaning playlists are either oldies or showtunes. Have you guys listened to Hamilton yet? Amazing. Disney movie soundtracks are always a good choice as well.
If you’re doing a more stationary task, like washing dishes or folding laundry, then you could put on some Netflix as well. Lately I’ve been watching some different Korean dramas, but since I have to focus on the subtitles I’ll usually switch over to something I’ve seen before so it’s okay if I miss a part.
When my house is all neat and clean, I feel like my mind has become clear as well. I hate coming home when I’m having a bad day and seeing clutter everywhere, it just makes all those troubling thoughts worse. Though when I’m in the zone and getting stuff done, it’s like a fresh cool breeze just blows all that anxiety away.
Aaannnddd that’s all folks! Okay, maybe not all of the things I do, but the ones that have been most effective. I hope this helps some of you, and I hope you enjoyed reading this! I enjoyed writing it and really thinking about the positive changes I’ve made, I just wish I had been able to post this yesterday! Too bad my internet had been out… oh well, better late than never!
Have a good week everyone, til next time!