We all have a certain level of anxiety. Some of which is totally normal. However, when anxiety begins to affect your life, it is time to do something about it! During my maternity leave and over the past several months, anxiety and depression were something I dealt with daily. In all honesty, it is something I still deal with and sometimes there are daily stretches. However, I have made significant changes in my life through this opportunity. Below are the following opportunities you have to take a step toward healing and a more intentional, purposeful life!
Yes, I am sure you have heard it before. Exercise lowers stress levels. Now, I know what you are saying to yourself. I do not have time or I do not have the money to get a membership. Yes, I hear you and I understand. There are options that are affordable and do not need to take much time.
- Take a walk
- Download a free app
- Purchase some equipment, such as free weights for your home
- Purchase a DVD
- Get a gym membership – Planet Fitness is great for a simple, inexpensive membership.
- YMCA – They have daycare and are reasonably priced.
Rest is truly one of the top ways to feel more in control and better equipped to handle what life throws you. Yes, I know it is challenging to get enough sleep. Take a nap, if you need it or go to sleep early. You may need to leave the dishes one night or not fold the laundry. It will be there in the morning. You will be more productive and more relaxed with rest. My favorite tricks to help you wind down.
Again, I know easier said than done. You can purchase healthy food items, such as fruits, veggies, or granola. Below are some of my favorite options – recipes to follow.
- Overnight oats
- Trail mix
- Raw veggies
- Avacado toast
- Baked Snap Peas with garlic salt and butter
- Raw fruits
Your environment greatly impacts your mental health. Everyone has a different threshold for what they can handle and different needs in their environment. I personally need a fairly neat space, with limited clutter, and pretty things. Yes. Not lofty goals at all. But important to me. For my husband, he likes a little bit of clutter. He actually has a song about. He does not necessarily care about the decor. BUT this is our home. Our children need a place for their toys and their imagination to grow.
Take a moment and sit down with your family to determine what is important to you. Than make small steps to create that environment. Have a cleaning schedule and strategy.
Meditation is hard. In all honesty, the first several, hundred times it was suggested for me to meditate, I scoffed at the idea. I mean anyone that knows me, knows that I cannot be quiet for very long. My brain is always moving. I have a thousand ideas per second. How can I make my mind be quiet? Should I make my mind be quiet?
Well, it has been a year in to a regular meditation routine and it helps. Being quiet with myself is wonderful. It is SOOO challenging, but it is important. It helps me be in the moment and really understand my thoughts.
There are great apps, YouTube videos, and more for guided meditations. There are different kinds of meditation. I think something for everyone. So, just try it. Be consistent. See if it helps.
A Morning Routine
The way you start your day impacts the rest of the day. Seriously, think about it. If you get up late, rush around, maybe throw some yelling in, and searching for stuff – your day will likely continue with more anxiety. Your day may feel like you are always behind and you are in a place of agitation.
Plan out your day the night before. Make as many decisions as you can the night before or at the beginning of the week. Pick out the clothes, meal prep, etc. This will help reduce decision fatigue and stress.
Take time for you. Start your day with meditation, hot coffee, yoga, a run, whatever makes you happy. It your routine. Create it, gift it to you, and consistently make it happen.
Throughout your day, you will find yourself triggered, anxious, and struggling. You may feel like you need something or want something. You may feel yourself spiraling. Our energy level fluctuate and change. Our anxiety levels range. Check in with yourself. Ask yourself how you are feeling and what you need.
If you need a few minutes or a few seconds, give it to yourself. Go take a walk, use the rest room, or close your eyes. Just check out for a short time. Breath in positive energy and breath out the anxiety. This is something you can do in a meeting or at work. You can and should give yourself a break.
Example: I started my day late. Normally, I would have flown out of bed, ran around, yelled, and acted like a crazy town person. This would have set the stage for my day. But I checked in with myself. I needed to sit down, wake up, and drink some coffee. It was 10 minutes worth of time, but my morning went better. Everyone’s morning went better. Honestly – we got out the door at the same time.
Get in touch with a coach, a counselor, someone. Someone that can help support you walk through this. You are not alone, but it is so hard to do one your own. There is nothing wrong with therapy. It is something the most “normal,” seemingly not anxious person should do. It is does not mean you are crazy. It means that you are taking care of yourself and you are choosing not to suffer in silence.
Journal/Talk about it
For some, journaling can be really helpful. Sometimes writing out your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings. However, for others, verbally processing their feelings helps. I am a combination of both, but lean more toward verbal processing. Talk to yourself, to your therapist, to your spouse, or to your friend.
Journal for more than 20 minutes. Write whatever comes to you. Or choose a guided journal with questions. This can help you work toward change.
Challenge your thoughts
I made a mindset change at the beginning of this chapter in my book. I decided to see my anxiety/depression as an opportunity for growth. When I am anxious, it is often because I am letting my thoughts run me. I am letting them swirl around and dictate my actions. When I take control and make change, I feel better. If you are feeling anxious about something ask yourself why? I am anxious because I have so much to do. Okay, do you have to do it? Ummm. Yes. Do you really need to do it all today? In the next hour? Write down all of the things and declutter it. Give yourself permission to table it, to delegate it, or stop obsessing about it.
Intentional Living Tip:
I think many people carry some level of anxiety with them. Different ranges of anxiety. But so much of your schedule, your thoughts, or time can be controlled by you. Although it feels outside of your control, but it is in your control. Take some time to take care of you and determine what you need. Then do it.
You are worth everything you need. You have control and you can work through this. There will be challenging days, but you can do this.