Anxiety is an Asshole

Anxiety is an Asshole

Can we all just agree on this? It’s uncomfortable, unwanted and unasked for. Has anyone in the history of ever actually uttered the words “I REALLY enjoy my anxiety.”?? NOPE. It’s like that cousin that always voices their opinion on something they have no experience in while chewing with their mouth open. Hard pass mmk?

I would really like to say I remember a time when I wasn’t experiencing some form of anxiety but… I can’t! My mom has always said that I’ve had anxiety since coming out of the womb… she’s not wrong. Anxiety has been one of those things that’s just there. Some seasons are fairly easy while other seasons downright suck. Over the years I’ve become an expert at learning how to manage MY anxiety through all of them.

Before I continue, it’s important to remember that anxiety looks different on everyone. What works for me might not work for you, your mother or your aunt Betsy. Especially since anxiety can come in all forms. Heart palpitations, tight chest, shortness in breath, raised blood pressure, tunnel vision, extreme concern over something that wouldn’t normally concern you…. the list could go on forever.

Sometimes anxiety doesn’t look like the above traits at all! This past week I experienced an extreme bought of mom guilt brought on by self-imposed pressure. My anxiety was representing itself in a way that I have never experienced before but because I took the time to acknowledge what was happening, I could understand where the feeling was coming from. I was having anxiety over feeling inadequate. In my business, my role as a mother, my role as a wife… I was feeling like I couldn’t measure up and my anxiety was letting me know it was time to slow my role. Which actually brings me to my first stragety of five:

Number 1: Sit in it. Actually feel the anxiety, no distractions. For a long time, I thought the tightness in my chest would disappear as soon as I distracted myself… I wasn’t really wrong but that was more of a bandage for the problem. Distracting myself would work for a short period of time but it didn’t get to the root of the problem.

A lot of my anxiety is worsened by the actual feeling of it… anxiety isn’t bad enough right?! If I haven’t had a bad bought of anxiety in a while, the feeling is a complete shock and can paralyze me. Having a moment to understand the feeling makes it less daunting, more familiar and dare I say… even more comfortable. Most of the time, a lot of my anxiety dissipates by doing this simple act.

Number 2: Make a plan. After I’ve sat in the feeling for a bit, I ask myself what would feel really nice that very moment. Whether that’s take a bath, make my favorite meal or do the chicken dance- I try to honor what I need! I want to emphasize that whatever I do isn’t in attempts to cover up my anxiety. I do something that just feels good because I derseve it!

Number 3: Phone a friend. (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire anyone?) Sometimes the most therapeutic measure is telling someone how you’re feeling. When I let Cody know that I’m experiencing some unease, he kindly reminds me that I’m being coo coo and the gentle reasurrance lets my anxiety take a back seat.

If this feels like something that may work for you, I encourage you to pick your friend wisely. Not everyone can lend an ear without lending a voice. I’ve learned there’s a lot of people who really love me and want to fix my ‘problems’. Sometimes, those problems don’t need to be fixed! They really just need to be heard…

Number 4: Get moving. The number one thing that I have consistently used to manage my anxiety has been exercise. A simple walk in the fresh air is sometimes all I need clear my mind and focus on what really matters- all the good in my life!

Doing exercise to help relieve you of anxiety can be a really slippery slope. Any type of stress on the body is still stress. While an intense workout can help, I almost wonder if it can do more damage than not. I try to stick to a walk even if my mind is telling me I need to turn on some screamo music and punch the crap out of a punching bag. To me, that’s just another way to cover up the anxiety that I’m feeling vs getting to the root of the problem.

Walks make sense, you have plenty of time to think while doing a calming action. If you haven’t ventured into taking a light walk when your anxiety strikes, I highly suggest it.

Number 5: Take a look at my diet.
STOP right there…
I don’t mean how many calories I’m eating or calculating my macros or any crap like that. I mean look at what I’ve been fueling myself with. Your gut has a HUGE impact on your mindset and if I’ve been eating foods that don’t support my health, my health will suffer. Cane sugar and processed foods, in general, put me into anxiety warfare. If I feel like I haven’t been eating to support my health, I make a few simple swaps (WITHOUT restricting) and within 48 hours, my anxiety is feeling more manageable.

These strategies are just the tip of the iceberg. My back pocket…. front pocket, purse, backpack, file cabinet, and bedside table are full of tips, tricks, and knowledge. Even with all of that said, the most important thing I have learned throughout my life filled with anxiety is that it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. You don’t have to let it cripple you or make your outlook on life less spectacular than it actually is.

I use to believe that a life with anxiety somehow made me weak. I felt utterly alone. Over the years I have realized that couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are so many people in this world that love you and are here to support you. That see how strong you are regardless if, at times, you feel the complete opposite.

Always remember, anxiety may be present in your life but it doesn’t make you any less of a badass. YOU are in control, don’t let it trick you into thinking anything different.

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