I think we have all, at one point or another, experienced anxiety in our life. Nowadays however, it seems like any small anxiety we’ve ever felt in the past does not compare to the overwhelming chaos that this year has brought into our lives with all that is going on. It should be noted that you are not alone. A lot is happening. It’s ok to not feel ok, even under this “new normal.”
When the stay-at-home order started, I felt optimistic and thought it wouldn’t be so bad; we as a collective group would help stop the virus. In a very limited way we have, however, the numbers kept rising and that optimism I once had started to dwindle. At that moment, I had no idea what I was feeling. As time went on, it was very apparent that I was anxious and stressed. I no longer had a routine, my sleeping pattern was off, and I was scared of the unknown. Shortly after, I experienced my first panic attack. It was probably the worst thing I had ever felt! It just came out of nowhere. I was scared but didn’t know what I was scared of. I was sad but had nothing to be sad about. It felt as if someone had pointed a gun in my face, was about to pull the trigger and there was nothing I could do but stand there and wait for the bullet to hit me. I truly wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone. As horrible of a feeling as it was, I was able to get through it thanks to my husband Kris, and my sister-in-law, Jill. I don’t know what I would of done in that moment without them. After all that happened, I found ways to help keep myself calm and not be so anxious. Now, I’m not a doctor, but if you are dealing with anxiety during these uncertain times, here are some tips that have and continue to help me.
1. LET YOURSELF BREAKDOWN/HAVE A BAD DAY
Listen! Being positive is good, but we are not positive all the time. Things happen and we are allowed to get angry, scream into a piilow, cry in a corner, etc. Yes, I know…you need to be calm and feel happy. Why have a breakdown? I have always been the one to completely ignore the bad that’s going on and find a solution to just move forward. Then when bad things continue to happen, it would all just keep piling on until I couldn’t hold on anymore, it would all come crashing down. Allowing yourself to acknowledge what is going on and actually FEEL how you feel will help you move forward and ready to face the next anxiety life throws at you.
2. TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, THERAPIST. SEEK HELP.
Let it all out my friend! Like I mentioned before, I am glad that I had my husband and sister-in-law to help me through a tough situation. Nothing is worse than not talking about how you feel. Sometimes we need to talk about what is happening, get things off our chest; and in return not feel like we are alone. There is also nothing wrong with reaching out and seeking medical help. I myself have seen the benefits in speaking to a therapist and to my doctor. At first, I was VERY apprehensive but I am SO glad that I did.
3. PAMPER YOURSELF
TREAT. YO. SELF! Take a day that is all about you. And it doesn’t have to be the cliché “pamper yourself” of taking a bubble bath or giving yourself a manicure if that’s not your thing. It can be whatever makes you feel relaxed and recharged. If that means staying in bed and watching movies all day, then go for it.
If it means working out, then do it! If it means painting your house, then by all means my dear, paint away. Whatever it is, take the time to do it.
4. DRINK WATER
When I say drink water, I don’t mean just stand there and drink a glass of water. Lol. Take a glass of water and slowly drink it. Actually feel the water as it travels down into your stomach. It will assure you that you are ALIVE and that you are OK. Sometimes we forget how amazing we are just as living human beings. Which brings me to my last tip.
5. REMEMBER ALL YOUR BLESSINGS
When we are faced with trying times, we tend to forget all the great things we do have. And you can say, “Well Ash, I don’t have much.” Well my love, even the little you have is a blessing. Do you have clothes on? That’s a blessing. Are you able to see color or hear birds chirping? That’s a blessing. Are you able to drink coffee in the morning? THAT’S A BLESSING. You see, ALL the things we have and do is a blessing. Your very existence is a blessing. Even the monotonous things we do every day are a blessing. I have to remind myself of this as well.
Just know that all bad things are not forever. It will get better. You will get through this.