Sharing time: I used to think I was a very calm person because my emotions were pretty even-keeled. I thought I didn’t even know what anxiety was. But in the last year it has been brought to my attention (by a mental health professional) that anxiety is my baseline. I am pretty much always anxious, and have been my entire life. So my emotions might be even-keeled, but not necessarily in a good way.
Most of us struggle with anxiety — if not all the time, at least once in a while. Life can be stressful, and that’s why it is important to know how to take care of yourself.
Here are some easy ways to show your anxiety who’s boss.
Watch TV. Work out.
Both of these activities take your mind off your worries and force you to pay attention to something else. Whether it’s Mary’s gorgeous wardrobe on REIGN or feeling the burn while trying not to drop free weights on your toes, giving your brain a break for an hour or two will make you feel like a new person.
Take a hot bubble bath.
A hot bath relaxes your muscles, which in turn relaxes you. If you have trouble sleeping at night, soak in the tub before bed to calm down. Epsom salts and scented bubbles are always a good idea, but if you don’t have any the hot water will do you good on its own.
Clean your apartment and light scented candles.
I’m not suggesting a deep clean of every nook and cranny (unless you’re in the mood for that), but never underestimate the power of a quick tidy-up. Take five or ten minutes to put things away, wipe down tables and counters, maybe sweep or vacuum. Then light some candles. This is a great thing to do for your mental health because you are actively taking control of your environment and creating a positive change that you can enjoy immediately. It’s so much easier to relax when your place looks and smells pleasant.
Say what’s on your mind.
Literally, state your worry out loud to yourself. It helps you focus instead of freaking out, and puts your fear in perspective. Sometimes I find it hard to pinpoint exactly what I’m anxious about, so just the act of trying to form it into a sentence helps me realize I’m anxious about… well, nothing.
Now say the worst that could happen if your fear comes true.
For example, “if I don’t accomplish ___ then ___ might happen.” Often your next thought will be, “in which case I would…” and it helps you see that even if things get really bad it won’t be the end of the world.
It sounds cheesy, but it helps. I find that when I am anxious or stressed I tend to hold my breath. Taking some long deep breaths can help you relax instantly. Next time you’re anxious, take a deep breath for 10 seconds and then let it out slowly.
Do you have any tips on dealing with anxiety? How do you relax?