The word alone gives me anxiety — and honestly, I’ve been wanting to write a post about this for a long ass time but something has kept holding me back…until today.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love to pop into my Insta stories on the regular and talk to you guys — pep talks, rants, goofy moments, adorable pup time with Toby and silly dance parties are what you normally can expect, but last week, I was having one of those days (maybe you know the kind) and I brought it up on my stories, asking for help on how to navigate it all.
And I’ve never had SO MUCH response to something I posted in my life. 92% of my followers said they struggled with anxiety too. I knew I wasn’t alone but the amount of “me too” responses I got absolutely blew me away and I knew I couldn’t stay silent about it anymore.
I've lived with anxiety for the past 5 years. The summer of 2013, an event in my life triggered what I now know to be called a panic attack. At the time, I thought I was literally dying. I was hyperventilating and crying so much that I almost passed out and for the life of me, I couldn’t make it stop.
This was my first experience with anxiety, or at least what I can remember.
And honestly, my first experience with mental health struggles.
My anxiety took a really intense hold over my life for the years following — panic attacks would happen when I least expected, conversations about the simplest things could spur it and I would find myself waking up with a heavy chest that just couldn’t go away, no matter what I did.
I’ve spent the past 5 years navigating my anxiety and building up tools in my tool box that have helped immensely — and what used to be a super common feeling has turned into something that rears its head every one and a while.
Anxiety looks different on everyone. I know women who navigate it from all ends of the spectrum — from women who have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) who are on medication for their anxiety to women who occasionally get anxious about specific circumstances in their lives.
One thing I do know? Most women don’t talk about it.
Which makes us all feel a hell of a lot more alone in all of it, don’t ya think?
It’s my mission to help contribute to the mission to normalize anxiety — ‘cause you are not less than because you experience it, in any capacity. Ya hear me?
What you can do?
I was blown away by the incredible thoughtful response some of my amazing followers on Instagram shared with me, and I wanted to share their thoughts alongside mine. Here they are…
“Breathing mantras and writing!”
“Puppy snuggles” — you laugh but there is scientific proof that petting pups actually lowers your cortisol (aka stress) levels!
“Journaling out my feelings”
“Evening out my breath. So making my inhales 5ish secs and my exhales 5ish secs.”
“Yoga, meditation and journaling is what works for me.”
“Getting enough sleep”
“Painting/being creative in any way.”
“Writing down things I can see, feel. and hear helps ground me.”
“Reminding myself of things that are true.”
“Running and coloring”
How thoughtful are these responses? So many incredible things to sift through and find what works for you.
Here are some of my personal go-tos that have been a total godsend to quiet or rid myself of anxiety:
EXERCISE PAIRED WITH SUPPORT
The minute I feel anxiety creeping up, I know that the best thing I can do is to sweat it out. It works absolute WONDERS, and having a community of women encouraging me and supporting me along the way has been KEY in my journey. We all need spaces that allow us to come exactly as we are and that’s what these groups have been for me.
THROW MYSELF A DANCE PARTY
There is nothing like putting on some of my favorite tunes (lately I’ve been taking it back to some TLC and it’s been pretty fucking incredible) and throwing myself a major dance party.
I know it can feel counter-intuitive in the moment but thrusting your body into something active and physical and unexpected can help jolt you out of your state of anxiety.
GO FOR A WALK
Sometimes something as simple as a shift in environment and getting outside can make all the difference. I actually try to pre-emptively plan for these with my daily mid day walk with my pup — it forces me to get out of the house! If you work a traditional full time gig, take your lunch outside or take the second half of it by going for a walk. Better yet, start your day with a quick walk around the block to wake you up!
REMEMBER — if you are struggling and need someone to talk to, I’m always just a message away my love. I’m no expert on anxiety but I’m always, always here.
p.s. I’m hosting an End Overeating & Anxiety for good webinar with my good friend and therapist Rachel Wright later this month and would love to see you there — be sure to hop on my email list and in our Live Your F*ck Yes Life Facebook community to get the deets first!