Even though I have not been one to suffer with severe anxiety or depression, I have my share of boughs of anxious feelings or overthinking. Almost a year ago I experienced my first anxiety attack, or what I think might have been close to one. (I’ll link that story here.)
After moving to California, I have had more moments of being extremely anxious, which I think comes from changing everything about my life all at once. Sometimes I felt short of breath or couldn’t fall asleep. Sometimes I felt like crying is the only way to let this feeling out of me. Other times I laminate over the choices I have made in my life and wonder if I am doing everything “right.” These moments were particularly difficult, and not beneficial to me or my overall health. I could usually link these episodes to lack of sleep, as when I am really tired, I can’t function mentally at all.
As this feeling become more frequent, I started focusing on ways to calm myself and allow these feelings to pass. Here is what helps me when I am feeling particularly sad, out of control or afraid.
Closing my eyes and feeling the air fill my lungs always calms me down. By taking this moment to tune out everything around me, I can focus on my physical body instead of the thoughts whirling around my mind. I take note to relax my facial muscles, my hands, my feet, my shoulders….and breathe. I channel the peace I wish to receive by relaxing my body and feeling the effects of this relaxation.
Drink Herbal Tea
Herbs, like most medicines, make changes in the body’s chemistry. According to LivingHerbalTea.com,
When we ingest herbs through capsules, tinctures, or teas we are allowing their benefits to come into our systems so that positive changes can be made. In the modern day, one of the greatest changes we can receive from healing plants is the removal of stress.
I love green tea, however, when I’m feeling anxious I like to drink chamomile. Chamomile tea actually relaxes the muscles and the whole nervous system. It can relieve nausea or digestive issues as well. There is something extremely comforting about drinking a hot cup of tea.
Since writing is a channel for my emotions that I feel the most comfortable with, this is my go-to task when I am feeling anxious. I find this particularly helpful when I don’t know the exact reason I am even feeling anxious or sad. By marking up a piece of paper with a stream of my own consciences and then reading it back, I find that I can make sense of what is going on in my head a little more clearly. I usually feel relieved. I also love writing down quotes that calm me or fill me with hope.
Make a List
If I am stressed or overwhelmed in anyway, I make a list. I draw hollow boxes next to each bullet point and look forward to the moment I can fill them with a check marks. I am a visual person who needs to see everything that is floating around in my brain, in one solitary spot. I can look at the list and know that it’s never as bad as my mind was making it out to me, or I can take it on as a challenge.
Read a Book
I am obsessed with books, as I have probably mentioned. Reading is my ultimate comfort and, according to my mom, it has been since I was a little girl. Getting lost in someone else’s words, feelings or story takes me out of my world and into another, one that I can understand because it is written out in front of me. I usually accompany a novel with hot cup of green tea. It honestly can’t get any better for me. 🙂
Take Time to Myself
I am quite introverted at times and some days I would rather stay in the house alone and read, write or watch “The X Files.” If I don’t get this time to myself, I can easily feel overwhelmed or anxious. When I have a day off, I try to relax and do some of the things that are important to me or things that make me feel good about myself. Even if that is just reading a book. I also really enjoy taking the time to pamper myself by taking an extra long shower, applying a coconut oil hair mask, clay face mask or maybe doing my nails. When I feel clean and good in my skin, I feel better overall.
Whether you believe in a higher power, or the universe, I find it comforting to know that there is someone or something out there that has more control than I do. Offering up my tribulations or stresses and believing that everything will work out, is extremely helpful to me. I like knowing I’m not alone with my anxiety.
The best thing for me to do when I feel this way, is think about what I am grateful for. I write it down in my journal and list as many things as I can. My health, my eye sight, my strong body, my home, my boyfriend, my family, the clean water that I drink and the fresh fruit and vegetables that I eat. There are so many aspects of my life that I am grateful for and making a conscience effort to remember and recite them, often time takes away the anxious feeling I am experiencing. I have the ability to see the good in my life, or focus on the bad. My anxiety or sadness comes when I focus on the latter.
Gratitude trumps discontentment, worry and fear, every time.
I hope you found this list helpful! Please comment below with anything you do to holistically help and sooth your own anxiety and depression. I would love to learn more 🙂