Today we’re talking mental health. In particular, we’re talking that feeling that can easily creep up on you and then is difficult to shake. Today we’re talking ANXIETY, and I’m sharing 5 practices for how to deal with it. Because there’s always going to be things that come up in your life that make you anxious. But the important thing is dealing with anxiety healthily so you can come out on the other side stronger than you were before.
I know that this is not really “nutrition” related. But anxiety IS health related. So that’s why we’re talking about it today. Also, I’m a firm believer that mental health is more important than physical health…if your mind is not in a good place, then it doesn’t matter how healthy you are physically, your body will suffer!
Why does anxiety slip into our lives? Of course there’s many factors that can cause anxiety, family tension, financial burdens, job requirements, overall dissatisfaction with life. Some people are able to push through these stressful times better than others. Some require very little stress before becoming overwhelmed. Others bottle everything up before finally exploding into an anxious mess (that’s me!). Before we move on, ask yourself this…”How do I handle stressful situations when they come up?”
I never considered myself a super anxious person in the past. I felt like I dealt with things pretty well for the most part. But for some reason, as I’ve gotten older, the anxious thoughts more easily seem to take my mind captive. And by “take my mind captive” I mean anxiety that you just can’t seem to shake.
Dealing with anxiety is tricky, so I’ve experienced, and maybe you have as well. Oftentimes you can be anxious and not even know why. And when you try to explain it to someone, you feel that the thing you’re anxious about is really no big deal. But it doesn’t matter…you’re still anxious and plagued by your thoughts.
It’s for this reason, that mental health is equally if not more important than physical health, that I wanted to share with you a few things you can do when dealing with anxiety to help get through it and feel strong on the other end. Because everyone gets anxious at times, some more often and greater than others. But we all could use some peace from an anxious mind. Here’s a few practices that I’ve begun to put in place for myself when dealing with anxiety, and I hope you’re able to benefit from these as well!
1. Rest Assured, No One’s Perfect (Or Has A Perfect Life)!
No one’s perfect. Even the most disciplined and “put together” person has their downfalls. And though that “Insta Star” you follow seems to have it all figured out, no one’s life is perfect either. On the outside it may seem that those you come in contact with don’t suffer, but oftentimes we only see a small slice of people’s lives, even our friends! It’s easy to get into a comparison game with those in your life (or those influencing your life; i.e. social media), but comparison never leads to happiness. And it can hinder you from developing deep friendships that are essential to health, as well as growing confident in your own abilities. So, the next time you begin to feel anxious about where your life is, or where it’s not, remind yourself that even your imperfections are a beautiful piece to the story that is you!
2. Find a Routine that Helps Your Anxiety In The Moment
When you’re in that moment of anxiety, it’s oftentimes helpful to go through a routine to calm your thoughts. Some things you may try could be drinking a warm cup of herbal tea, taking a warm shower or bath with some lavender essential oil, or taking a walk. Having a routine will prompt your mind to begin to calm down, and will make it easier to distract from what’s causing the anxiety.
3. Breathe Deeply
When anxiety hits, breaths become shallow. Our mind becomes distracted from breathing to focus on the anxious thoughts. Doing some deep breathing practices will force the mind to focus on the breaths instead of the anxiety, and will promote an instant calm throughout the body. You can do your practices sitting down, laying down, or even just as you continue throughout what you were doing. Just take a few moments to truly breathe from your abdomen and then releasing back all the way down. This is one of my favorite practices!
4. Tend To Your Body’s Basic Needs
When dealing with anxiety, some people are tempted to neglect their body’s basic needs like eating, sleeping, moving, etc. I want to especially highlight continuing to eat well (meaning getting in enough nourishing calories during the day) because appetite is something that is easily diminished and neglected when anxious. But even if you’re not feeling your hunger cues, it is still so important to eat balanced meals. Even if you’re not really craving anything and food doesn’t sound interesting, by putting together a complete meal and eating your basic meals, you’re taking care of your body’s need for food even if it’s not appealing. Eating regular meals will also help to cope with your anxiety without using food as the primary coping mechanism and keep your mind level around eating. So practically, even if your anxiety is causing you to want to skip meals, try to eat at least every couple of hours despite lack of appetite to keep your body and mind functioning the best that it can.
5. Talk It Out With Someone You Trust
Sometimes, the best thing for your anxiety is to be open and honest with someone about what you’re going through. Talking through your emotions can oftentimes bring clarity to your anxiety and give you the strength to work through the exact fears you’re having. Sometimes this person may be a close friend or family member, and other times it’s beneficial to speak to a professional. But whoever you decide is best for you to console in, make sure that you’re able to trust them and be completely open with them. So much peace can be found when we share our struggles.
I encourage you to read through these 5 Practices a couple times and come up with your “game plan” for the next time you are dealing with anxiety. Or, maybe you’re struggling now. Rest assured that you’re not alone, that no one’s perfect, everyone has struggles. Find your routine for these moments to help with calming your mind. Take some deep breathes. Tend to your basic needs and don’t neglect to feed your body. And talk out what you’re going through with someone you trust.
Again, I want you to know that this topic of anxiety is near and dear to my heart, and I felt very necessary to speak on and give you practical tips for pushing through it, because oftentimes our fear of food and poor body image can be exacerbated when anxious. Know that tending to your mental health is as important, or more important, to your overall wellbeing.
How do you best deal with anxiety?
Do you already have a routine that you go through or practices that work well for you?