How I manage my Anxiety and Depression
About 2 months ago I opened up about my struggle with anxiety and depression You can read the Instagram post, but to sum it up, I shared how much anxiety has affected me for my whole life.
Until recently, I didn’t know just how debilitating it had been. In fact, I thought that everyone was walking around on edge every moment of every day I didn’t realize that my baseline level of anxiety WAS NOT NORMAL! That’s because I didn’t know what it felt like to NOT feel anxious. I present as a very confident person. I am a straight up, no bullshit kinda girl.
I advocate for myself. I get shit done. I set goals that most people think are crazy. I put myself in uncomfortable situations daily. I am certainly not the poster child of anxiety… or am I? Despite my confident demeanor my anxiety wakes me up at night. It sucks the energy out of me. It leaves me snappy. It makes my hands shake and my stomach flop. It makes me feel like I am always in a rush.
Well, at least it used to. About 4 months ago my husband and I began attending couples counseling and the reality hit me -- this isn't normal to feel this way. One day, after having an anxiety attack that left me debilitated in my bed. I said to myself.
THIS IS NOT GOING TO BE MY LIFE!
In that moment I committed to tackling my anxiety head on. I was done feeling the way I had been feeling, My husband, my best friends and my family have all noticed a huge difference in how I show up everyday. My Instagram posts got so many DMs that I want to share some of the ways Im tackling it with you! Some of these tips may apply to you, some many not- but here we go!
1. KNOW YOUR LIMIT
In our society we glorify busy. We feel like we should GO GO GO.
We feel guilty for taking time to say read a book, or watch a show on Netflix, or heck even take a dang nap. One thing that motherhood and entrepreneurship have in common is that the “to do” lists NEVER END. There is always something to be doing, so I was ALWAYS doing something. This GO GO GO mentality was a major part of the problem. I’ve given myself permission to shut off and just relax. I resist the urge to work while I make dinner, or respond to emails while I watch a movie with my husband. I now take most weekends off .
As simple as it sounds – giving myself permission to take space has been the biggest game changer. Not only has it helped minimize my anxiety, it’s amped up my productivity! When I turn back on I’m more focused and clear.
2. LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA TIME
I’ve read that social media use is directly linked with anxiety! I believe it too!
There are times when social media feels like an avenue to connect with the world. I feel inspired and part of a community. There are also times when it makes me feel anxious and like I can’t keep up.
I’ve started to pay attention to those feelings, and shut down when social media isn’t leaving me feeling inspired.
Anxiety or not, I highly recommend taking time away from social media. it is SO good for the soul.
3. INTERRUPT WHAT YOU’RE DOING
When I feel anxious, I change what I am doing so I can interrupt the anxiety process . I know that sounds odd, but I simply acknowledge the feeling and then deliberately change that I am doing in that moment. I switch the task that I am doing to try and prevent the feeling from taking over. Doing this helps me feel more in control.
4. LISTEN TO MUSIC OR PODCASTS
I love music and podcasts and If i ever feel overwhelmed I can interrupt my mind with music or my favorite self development pod casts. My favorite music to play during bouts of anxiety is Christian Pop. A little hand raising Jesus music can make anyone feel better I believe! I think most of us underestimate the power that music can have on how we feel.
5. TAKE A DEEP BREATH
Again, so cliché BUT simply stopping to take a few deep breaths can help you refocus and gain perspective! Try it!
5 seconds in, 5 seconds out. Repeat.
6. TALK ABOUT IT
This one is important, and DAMN HARD
If you suffer from anxiety, there is nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. It is so common. There is strength in vulnerability. There is power in owning what you’re going through. Not only will you realize that you’re not alone, but admitting there is a problem is the first step in tackling it.
7. TAKE A BREAK FROM SELF DEVELOPMENT
Yes you read that right after I just told you I listen to self development podcasts when I feel anxious. I am a huge advocate for personal development and will continue to be. However, for a while there, I was “personal developing” myself crazy. I was always thinking, always processing, always trying to better myself.
Then I realized, in this instance, bettering myself came from taking a break from all the personal development.. I needed to SHUT OFF THE NOISE. Now this MAY NOT be the right move for you. Personal development may be exactly what you need. Just pay attention to how you feel after after reading a book or listening to a perusal development podcast? Are you inspired, motivated and clear OR overwhelmed and more anxious? Do more of what feels good and less of what feels bad.
8. I AVOID CONTACT WITH PEOPLE WHO MAKE ME ANXIOUS
Plain and simple, stay away from people who make your feel more anxious than usual. Say no-- actually say HELL NO! Make up an excuse, be a “no show” - make yourself a priority. While this isn’t possible for ALL situations, it is possible for a lot. More than we like to admit.
If you’re someone who keeps finding yourself in situations that make you feel anxious, it may be time to rethink the situations you’re saying YES to - at least for now.
9. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR
About a month into making all of these changes, I felt AMAZING. I felt clear, more grounded At the beginning of this process I spoke to my doctor about how I was feeling. Even though I was committed to trying everything I’ve listed here, I wanted to learn about my other options. I’ve recently started taking a small dose of anxiety/depression medication and truthfully I got myself out of my deep slump and have been weaning myself off of it! I know now though that it isn't anything to be shameful of. Because feeling GOOD is so worth it.
My only regret is that I didn’t commit to this change earlier in life. Let me be clear. I am not saying that everyone should go on medication. I’m simply sharing what I have done and what has worked for me. Either way, don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor. Like I said, there is NOTHING to be ashamed of.