As many of you are aware I live with anxiety and panic attacks stemming from a traumatic event. I am also a mother to an incredibly smart, curious and independent four year old daughter (who has the spirit of a teenager!) which can at times be stressful in and of itself. Plus there is general life stuff happening. As we all know adulting can be, at times, stressful all on its own.
When I feel myself getting overwhelmed with daily living or feel my panic/anxiety starting to spiral out of my control. I try to reset my mind by doing one of the following three things. (And sometimes I do all three!)
BULLET JOURNALING : I just discovered Bullet Journaling a few months ago and let me tell you that this has been a game changer for me. What is bullet journaling you ask? “The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.” (from the site bulletjournal.com/) However, it is so much more than that for me.
The Bullet Journal gives me the opportunity to plan out my days/week/months exactly as I see fit. It is tailored to me because I create it and can change it to fit my needs. This is what drew me in to the bullet journal world. Plus you can have “collections” which are lists of things you want to do or accomplish which is soothing to me when my mind feels like it is in overdrive. I can just write it all down and then come up with bite size plans or goals to accomplish the things I want to do without feeling like my anxiety and stress are about to leave me in a puddle of my own tears.
There is no wrong or right way to create a bullet journal and I love that about the system. It helps me track and keep track of things such as:
3. Books To Read
The list could go on and on but it really is all up to you and that is why Bullet Journaling works so well for me in reducing my anxiety about things because I can plan it out and track it and see where I am going with a particular goal or challenge. You can check out more Bullet Journaling ideas and tips over on my Pinterest board :
EXCERCISE: Anyone who knows me knows that gym class was my least favorite period in school. I am not athletic. I am awkward and clumsy in a way that makes people want to reach for the video camera and record my athletic failures for an eternity of laughter and finger-pointing. But I digress…I have found over the last few years that excercise does in fact reduce my anxiety and bring my stress down to more manageable levels. Now I am not saying to go out and train like an Olympian (although if that is your thing than you go for it!). No, I am saying just do anything that gets you moving and that you actually like to do.
After my attack, I was pretty numb. I didn’t do much of anything. Then I had a baby and motherhood enveloped me. Not a whole lot of “me” time then. However, when the crash of emotions hit of what had happened to me and then my attacker had jumped parole and the ongoing trial that followed , well that is when I went into just complete and utter overdrive to the point where I shut down completely.
Now , however I see how it important it is to not stay stuck but to get moving when I feel all the pain and anxiety winding up inside me. I am not numbing out. I feel my feelings, I acknowledge them and then I get to dealing with them. Excercise is one way that helps. I walk and walk and walk and walk. I will never be an Olympian but I can walk around my neighborhood and that raises my heart rate and gets my endorphins going which then alleviates my anxiety and stress. After a nice walk I feel better. Which is not just good for me but it is good for everyone around me.
Finally the third thing I do when anxiety and stress raise their ugly heads is I read. READING is so important for my mental health. I am not talking about spending endless time scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest . No I am talking about getting an actual book and sitting somewhere and reading a chapter or two. This is less about reading the latest bestseller but rather the time you spend actually reading. The beauty of how this alleviates stress and anxiety is in the permission you give yourself to actually take some time for yourself.
I like to make this a ritual of sorts. I get the book i want to read or am currently reading and I make some tea. Then I get my blanket and get all cozy on the couch. I tell my daughter it is “quiet time” and my daughter will usually follow suit with her own book and blankie. Then I read and sip tea for an hour.
I can not explain in words how absolutely rejuvenating this time is for me. It lifts my spirit and makes me feel calmer and more at ease. Reading is one of my favorite ways to unwind and let the stress of the day fall away.
Anxiety and stress are part of everyone’s lives but I know for me that sometimes my anxiety and panic take center stage so it is important to have actionable steps I can take to get me off the ledge.I know there are so many ways to reduce anxiety and stress but these are just my Top 3 and I hope to share other ways in upcoming posts. But until then I hope that these three ideas will help others make their anxieties and stresses more manageable.
Till next time!