If you know me at all, you probably know that “chill” is the last word you’d ever use to describe me. I’ve struggled with a generalized anxiety disorder for my entire life. I’ll be honest, I’m a hypochondriac, control freak, and a perfectionist. Those things all mixed together create a ton of stress and anxiety. Anyways, I used to always think that once I achieved a goal, made it to the next stage of life, or changed my surroundings, all my anxiety would disappear. While that was true to some degree after graduating college, I just traded my college anxieties for post-grad anxieties. I realized that while some anxiety is situational, a lot of it is just a part of my genetics. That being said, I really really hate it, so I’ve discovered a few things that help me out when my anxiety is bad or when I’m turning into a bundle of stress and I thought I’d share some of my tips with you.
1. Essential Oils
I used to think that there weren’t really any true benefits to essential oils aside from their scent, but then I started using them for anxiety. My favorite essential oils to use when I’m feeling anxious are lavender and peppermint. Aside from easing anxiety, research suggests that lavender is also helps with respiratory disorders, insomnia, hair care, acne, pain, and eczema. Peppermint is probably my favorite essential oil though… just ask my coworkers… I always have it on me. I love it because the scent is instantly relaxing and I can notice a difference in my stress level almost instantly every time I smell it. In addition, dabbing peppermint on your forehead in between your eyebrows instantly helps with sinus pressure and headaches, so I also love it for that reason because I have a terrible immune system.
2. Podcasts, Audiobooks, and YouTube Videos
Sometimes all you need to do to calm your anxiety is distract yourself from the problem. That’s why I love podcasts, audiobooks, and YouTube. Podcasts and audiobooks are great if you’re multi-tasking, so I often listen to them when I’m driving, cleaning, walking, or cooking. They help me get out of my own thoughts which keeps me from ruminating on my problems. YouTube is also super calming for me. I love watching vlogs, what I eat in a day videos, and beauty tutorials. For some reason, YouTube helps me relax a lot more than Netflix and I think it’s because I don’t have to worry about any drama. I just distract my brain and don’t have to follow a plot.
This past Christmas I got a Fitbit Versa and I’m absolutely obsessed with it. It’s probably my favorite thing that I own. It tracks my heart rate, sleep, counts steps, and so much more. Ever since I got it I’ve been walking nonstop. I try to get at least 10,000 steps a day, so I try to go on two 30-minute walks. I usually listen to podcasts while I walk unless I’m doing a live beach walk for Old 98 Destin. The health benefits of walking are obviously no secret, so that’s why walking is a no-brainer. Going for a walk on the beach or in your neighborhood helps release endorphins in your brain that help you relax and the fresh air is also beneficial for stress relief.
I cannot stress how beneficial this one is! For me, reading the news causes a ton of anxiety for me. I like to stay informed, but once it starts to take a toll on my mental health I have to unplug. Whenever there’s a shooting, terrorist attack, or upcoming election I delete Facebook from my phone. I am an extremely anxious person and I already have a lot of fears, so reading about my fears coming to life literally makes me sick. While it’s important to know what’s going on in the world, I don’t want to read every single person’s opinion on it on the internet.
5. Talk to a Friend
Sometimes talking to a friend can help with anxiety. You don’t necessarily even need to talk about your anxiety because sometimes, if you’re like me, you don’t even know what’s causing it. Sometimes anxiety is just that knot in your stomach and that tightness in your chest you can’t link to a cause. However, talking to a friend about any random thing could help you take your mind off your anxiety. Talking to someone about their day can help you take the focus off of yourself and that helps me a lot when I have generalized anxiety I can’t link to anything.
I also like to talk to God whenever I’m anxious. I just like to hand my anxiety off to Him and ask Him for help, especially if I don’t know why I’m even having an anxiety attack. I like to remember the bible verse 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” Sometimes I need to remind myself this multiple times a day, but it really does help.
As someone who struggles with an anxiety disorder, I know it’s not easy. However, these coping mechanisms have really helped me out whenever I feel anxious. However, these are not meant to take the place of therapy and medication, just helpful things you can implement in addition to however you’re treating your anxiety already. If you think you might have an anxiety disorder, it’s important to talk to a medical professional and get the help you need because I’m just a 23-year-old blogger, not a doctor.