It is no secret that I suffer from anxiety since I share about it quite frequently. Last week I dropped a pretty big bomb on the world about a really huge personal issue that I have been dealing with this past year (click here to read about it in case you missed it). A big part of that issue was my anxiety while going through a divorce. Truth is, anxiety is always something I have dealt with. I have tried pretty much everything to “get rid of it”. I was on medication for a while with little success. I learned very quickly that it was not something that was going away. What I want you to know is that there are going to be good days and bad days. Some days you will struggle harder than others and that is okay. Anxiety doesn’t define who you are. For a long time, I believed it did. Through a lot of trial and error I have figured out how to manage it to the best of my ability. After last weeks blog post I got a bunch of sweet messages from clients and other people that follow my journey about anxiety and how I am not alone. That is what prompted me to want to share the things that I do to help manage it, in case it helps you too.
1.) Know my triggers. At first I did not have a clue what my triggers were. The anxiety and panic attacks seemed sporadic. I started keeping a journal and that helped me start to narrow down what triggered it. One of my biggest triggers is when things don’t go according to plan. I keep a pretty intense calendar with everything going on for both businesses, my social life (ha), my daughters school schedule along with all her extracurricular activities. When things get messed up, I get really anxious. I like being on a schedule and everything going according to plan. I feel prepared that way and I HATE not feeling prepared.
2.) NAP. Seriously. A few of you will probably laugh when read that. I would too. Now don’t get me wrong – this does not in any way shape or form fix the trigger BUT when I am feeling extra anxious and am on the verge of a panic attack this is really helpful. It pretty much shuts everything down. Once I get up from a nap I can attack whatever it is head on with a fresh mind.
3.) Deep Breathing. When I start to get anxious or am on the verge of a panic attack my vision can sometimes get fuzzy and my breathing can be erratic. One thing that helps combat that is deep breathing. It gives me something to focus on and helps regulate my heartbeat so I don’t pass out or go into a full on panic attack.
4.) Protect my energy. Over the past year I have learned that certain people cause my anxiety to increase. It is not that I do not love these people but I have to maintain a healthy boundary with them to keep my mental health in tact. There is NOTHING wrong with distancing yourself from the people that cause you nothing but stress. At the end of the day you need to do what is best for you and if that means stepping back from certain relationships then you owe it yourself to put your mental health first.
Of course Anxiety is not cut and dry. Those with anxiety all deal with it differently. This barely touches the surface of my issue with anxiety and how I go about managing it. Social situations are a huge factor in my anxiety as well. That is a whole different beast that I am working at getting better with every day. It’s very uncomfortable for me but…like I always tell my clients – nothing worth while comes from comfort zones. The best growth happens outside of them.