Oooh yes… anxiety is the best. I am well-versed in the art of being anxious. It’s wonderful. Anxiety is a daily part of my life, so I’m excited to chat about it with you today :)
Anxiety is really annoying because it happens even when there’s nothing to worry about. You can be absolutely in the zone, totally relaxing and chilling out, and yet you just feel anxious. It’s... not ideal. For me, it often feels like anxiety is the default mode, so it’s weird to not feel anxious. But of course, you can have anxiety about specific things, and that happens to me all the time, too. Whatever it happens to be, sometimes it’s hard to let it go, even if you know that you don’t have to worry about it, even if you’re trying to relax, sometimes it’s just super hard to let it go and just relax.
The thing is, though, relaxation it is so vital for your health. Relaxation is like broccoli… if you get it just right, it can be super yummy and effective. Okay, I’m guessing that wasn’t the best metaphor you’ve ever heard, but here's the idea: relaxation is essential for your health.
There are a lot of things that you can do for anxiety, and there are so many tips out there. But I’ve come up with some that are daily habits that you can add to your life every day. I use these tips pretty much every day because, quite simply, they work. When you have a problem that you deal with on a daily basis, you usually can come up with some sort of solution, something that could make it a little bit better. These are some of the things that are like that to me, some of the things that you can trying implementing if anxiety is a big struggle for you. They’re simple, accessible, and cheap (mostly free).
Here it goes.
1. Go outside
There are quite a few reasons why I like to go outside every day. One of the biggest is that the sun is one of the most natural, most effective ways (in my humble opinion) to feel better fast. Another wonderful thing about going outside it the fresh air, which, although you’ve probably heard it about a million times from your parents, is good for you. It’s easier to feel better and less anxious when you’re outside in the sunshine and fresh air with the natural environment all around you, with the vibrant colors and the anxiety-soothing effects of nature.
Sooo… what are some ways that you can get outside every day? There are tons and tons and tons and tons and tons, but some of the simplest, best ways are…
And how long should you go outside? Completely up to you. Whatever works, whatever you find is the most effective, most reasonable, most sustainable approach for you. I find that a minimum of about thirty minutes is best for me, but even five minutes is better than none.
When you’re feeling anxious, going outside and just enjoying the fresh air and sunshine in the natural environment is an effective way to make things a little bit better.
2. Essential oils
Lemme just start by saying that essential oils are by no means a cure-all (although it would be great if they actually were). Essential oils can be helpful, but in my experience they don’t make everything better, they just help a little bit, which is sometimes all you need. Smelling something good takes advantage of the sense of smell, which is something that I think we overlooking sometimes. But when you’re feeling anxious, who wouldn’t want to smell something delightful?
One of my favorite essential oils for anxiety is lavender. However, I also have a nighttime blend that’s perfect for right before bed, and when I’m tired I go for the peppermint, which is really strong, and even though it’s certainly not a cup of coffee, it does a pretty good job of putting a little pep in my step.
3. Write it down
Anxiety’s tough, but I’m gonna be honest: 95% of the things I worry about are things with a 0.2% chance of happening. That doesn’t change the fact that these things seem big and scary in the moment, though, and that 0.2% feels like it’s more like 107%. But in the moment, one of the most important things that you can do is acknowledge that it’s your anxiety kicking in because then you can draw on past experiences and realize that it’s probably not as likely as you think it is that somehow the stove is on in the middle of the night and even after you checked it seven times it still might be on. It’s hard for me to think about what the actual realistic probability of something happening is, but sometimes if I write down what I’m thinking, it doesn’t seem so big and scary and nasty and probable. Looking at my thoughts helps me to see them a little more rationally sometimes.
4. Getting a good night’s sleep (or at least trying)
Sleep is one of those pretty much non-negotiable things that is a major priority for me. On pretty much any given night, I am at least trying to go to sleep by ten o’clock. However, telling someone with anxiety to just sleep is unhelpful to say the least, counterproductive at worst. When you try to get a good night’s sleep, it never seems to work. And yet when you don’t try, sometimes you end up getting a good night’s sleep. That’s what sucks… because I always try. Sometimes, though, everything works out and I get a good night’s sleep. A lot of factors go into that, but I’ve found that there are two things that are pretty helpful: getting to bed early and not relaxing before bed.
5. Leave it for later.
Sometimes, the best option for you is to just leave it for later. Read a book, listen to some music, and then come back to it later when you have some perspective. When a scary thought comes into my head, I find that one of my initial instincts is to believe it… and as nice as it would be to only have honest, truthful thoughts pop into your head and be able to believe every single one of them, it just doesn’t happen. That’s not the way it works. Too often, the thoughts that pop into your head are ridiculous thoughts that aren’t helpful for you at all. When you have anxiety, it can be hard to filter out these thoughts and make sense of what’s real and what’s not. Although it can be tricky, I find that when I take a break from thinking about and agonizing over something and then come back to it later, I have a fresher perspective on the issue.
Anxiety sucks, but there are ways to manage it! I’ve been dealing with it for a little while and have picked up some tips and tricks along the way. When you find something that helps you, remember what it is! Having a nice long list of things that you can do to manage your anxiety is really helpful so that you have lots of options for what to do when you’re feeling anxious. Try these things, and if they work for you, you can add them to your list! They’re fairly easy and accessible options, which is one thing that is so great about them. Hopefully they will help you with your anxiety in a simple, easy way.
Do you have anxiety? What helps you to manage it? Comment below!