Okay but seriously, why aren't we talking about it? Coming out and saying it? We feel anxious. Our anxiety is heightened.
Of course, it is! If it wasn't, I'd be worried, to be honest. It's our brain's auto-response to AHHHH WTF IS GOING ON. I think that's actually word for word in the scientific research. However, when we can't turn that alarm bell off it becomes so totally overwhelming and interrupts our daily lives. Sometimes to a point of not being able to make commitments or take care of your basic needs. It's important to note that keeping track of these feelings and symptoms and sharing them with your medical professional is important to finding proper and healthy treatment. You are not alone in this! Anxiety is different to everyone. It looks and feels different because we see and feel differently.
So with the current situation...
We've been talking to some people about how anxious we've been feeling.. Not sleeping, feeling out of balance, struggling to maintain a routine or make sense of normal right now. We've been honest with each other about how we're really struggling. Not all the time, don't get me wrong. But the feeling of anxiety is there. It's fueling almost all of our actions. And we get that. Because that's something we go through every day, pandemic or not, and it absolutely sucks. So we were inspired by Courtney Burns from Bravely Beautiful Blog (PS OMFG CHECK OUT THE NEW 'BRAVELY BEAUTIFUL' COLLECTION ON SALE NOW!) to share some tips and tricks we do daily to help cope.
How We Manage Our Anxiety
This is a pretty popular one these days! I remember when I learned about it I thought it was magnificent. I struggle with sleep, so I'll often use this one when I'm sleeping and omit the things to see part. OR if I'm really disoriented, especially in a foreign place I use this exercise to ground.
In your head or out loud:
Name 5 Things You See
Name 5 Things You Hear
Name 5 Things You Feel (physically can feel)
Name 5 Things You Smell
Repeat in groups of 4, 3, 2, 1
I often feel disconnected and dissociated from myself and my feelings. It's a way my brain has decided to cope because my anxiety is so high sometimes I just feel numb. So to FEEL something, here are a couple of tools I use.
1. With your eyes open or closed:
Go to cross your arms, but instead grab your forearms interlocking your hands with the opposite forearms.
Try holding for different lengths/ pressure
Notice how/if you continue to feel sensation/ feeling after you let go
2. Straight on or sideways:
Put your hands against a wall
Push (as hard as you can)
Notice how your legs and other body parts engage
Notice how/if you continue to feel sensation/ feeling after you stop
3. Hold something cold:
I like to use a piece of fruit or something I can eat, this makes me feel empowered for also taking care of my basic needs #selfcompassion!
EPSOM SALT BATHS
Michael gets to a point with his chronic pain that it makes him irritable, anxious, and uncomfortable. He feels like he can't control it, no matter what he tries and it comes on so suddenly. One thing that has been a saving grace is a nice hot Epsom salt bath!
In warm or hot water:
Dissolve about two cups Epsom salts in the bathtub
Soak for at least 15 minutes
TRY DIFFERENT TEAS/HERBS
There's something really mindful and cozy about making and drinking a cup of tea. Whether we're feeling stressed during the day, anxious before bed, or want a herbal jumpstart to the day tea is always our go-to!
Teas We Use:
Local Teas from FarmBound Zero Waste
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR FEELINGS
This is a tricky thing to do, trust us we know. But it only feels worse to run from or ignore those feelings and emotions. Yes, we are feeling anxious right now and that's OKAY. No, I'm not sleeping very well right now, that's VALID. If you can share these feelings and thoughts with someone else, it might help even more!!
We acknowledge that we are by no means medical professionals and are not offering this as medical advice. These are strategies and tools we've implemented in our daily lives living with mental illness that we've accumulated over time from our communities, resources, and health professionals. We hope they encourage you to try what works best for you and seek the support you need and deserve! If you have any tips you'd like to share, please share them in the comments below.
These tips are not a replacement for any sort of treatment or licensed medical advise. Please work with yourself, your healthcare and support team to find the best solutions for you.