By Bridget Kiely
Living with anxiety is a very tough reality for so many people. Some days are okay, some days are less okay, and some days you wake up with shaky hands and a racing mind. Some days your brain decides to remember every single awkward situation you’ve ever been in. Some days your muscles simply stop working, and you’re stuck in bed thinking about your anxiety, but you can’t do anything about it because you can’t move. If you’re having one of those days where the anxiety is just becoming too much, and you’re not sure that you can make it to the end of the day, I’m here to tell you that you can and will get through it.
You need to remember that you will be okay.
You need to remember to breathe.
I know it’s cliché and over used and you probably don’t think it will work, but it will. A deep breath can be so helpful in times of stress or anxiety. There is something so soothing about a deep breath. It’s as if you’re filling every single cell in your body with fresh air. It’s as if your heart and brain are finally getting the message to slow down. It’s the first thing you need to do to get that mind to stop racing.
You need to remember to talk about it.
So many people suffer from anxiety, but we never talk about it. Your feelings are real. Your problems are real. You can talk about it, and you should talk about it. I’m lucky enough to have a best friend who completely understands my anxiety. She knows how to calm me down and help me get through it. Talking to someone about my fears and feelings helps to get all of the ideas pinging around in my brain out into the open. It makes them feel like molehills, not mountains, and I know I can conquer a few molehills.
You need to remember to do something you love.
I find it way more difficult to feel anxious when I’m doing something I love. Even if I’m really busy, I make time to do things I love when I have bad days. It can be something as simple as watching an episode of your favorite TV show, or it can be something bigger like going to dinner with a friend or going to a concert. I know your brain is telling you to stay put and be worried, but doing something else to occupy your brain will get you out of that funk and back to being happy.
You need to remember to move.
Endorphins, endorphins, endorphins! Any doctor or psychologist will tell you that exercise is extremely important for your mental health. Endorphins themselves will make you feel better, but so will the sense of accomplishment from having had a great workout. If you’re not a huge fan of the gym or running, do something different like hiking or even going for a walk. As long as you’re moving, you’re doing something to help yourself.
You need to remember to take a break.
I’ve noticed that I have really anxious days when I’m exhausted. I have a job that is physically and emotionally demanding, and that’s something that is acknowledged by everyone I work with. We’ve been told that if we need a day off every once in a while just to get into a better headspace, we should take one. If I’m having one of those days when the world won’t stop spinning and my hands won’t stop shaking, I take a break. I unplug from social media and my phone and I take a day to watch movies, wear my pajamas, and get a grip on everything. Everyone needs to have do-nothing days every once in a while.
I know there are days when there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. There are days when you’re drowning and no one can seem to help you to come up for air.
There are days when you feel so isolated and alone that the voices in your head have convinced you that things will never get better.
Anxiety is a very real and debilitating mental illness that makes you feel like there is no way you can ever get a handle on the world around you. You can. The wave will pass, the world will slow, and you’ll come out on the other side stronger than ever before.