That’s what it feels like, isn’t it? When you have anxiety, or depression, or any other form of mental health “issues”. You feel like you are at battle. With your brain, your thoughts, your body. I can’t speak for anything outside of anxiety, since I haven’t experienced it first hand, so that’s where I’m headed today.
I mentioned in my last post that I was struggling with anxiety through the month of June. It had been months since it had reared its ugly, annoying head, but there it was. I wasn’t surprised, necessarily. June was over the top busy, add in some unexpected news regarding a family member, and never ending strep infections for my boy, and an unexplained body rash – it’s the perfect recipe for anxious thoughts.
So many old feelings were coming back. When my husband, who has never experienced anxiety asked me what it felt like, the best explanation I could come up with was that adrenalin rush you get on a roller coaster. Except it’s constant. My heart is beating too fast. My brain, thinking it is in trouble, keeps giving off the fight or flight signal. I feel like I am on a merry go round, and it is going so fast, and it just won’t stop. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
The difference this time, compared to four years ago, is that the feeling was familiar. I knew it was all a big, huge lie that my brain was telling my body. I knew I wasn’t really in danger. And I knew what the triggers were. I knew what I needed to do to get myself out of the spin cycle.
There were things I was missing for that month, that I knew were detrimental to keeping my head clear.
- Time with Jesus. I hadn’t been to church at all that month, because we had something going on every Sunday. I wasn’t spending quiet time with Him, at any part of my day. This is so important to my well being. As soon as I realized how much time had gone by without it, so much made sense. I ordered myself a new Bible study, I made a priority to prayer time in the morning, I asked Him to fill me with so much of Him, that there wasn’t any more room for anxious thoughts.
- Exercise. It doesn’t have to be anything intense for me. Just getting my heart rate up, raising some endorphins, makes a significant difference in my brain function. I made myself a promise that I would get up early and walk on the treadmill first thing most mornings. This gives me some time to clear my head before my day even starts.
- A clean house. I use this term VERY lightly. My house is in no way sparkling. However, when the table and countertops get cluttered, my brain gets cluttered. I put things away, that had been hanging out in piles where they didn’t belong. I shredded papers, and wiped surfaces. I made it all more manageable. Yes, this took a full day of dedication, but now it is much easier to keep up with.
This is just the tip of what helps me manage my anxiety. There are still many things to touch on, but I feel like when these three are prevalent, I can breathe a bit easier.
It should go without saying that everyone is different. What works for me, might not work for you. Just because I have gone of my medication, does not mean that you should go off of yours. If I am being 100% honest, I actually felt guilty when I went off of mine. I felt like I was betraying somebody. How ridiculous is that?
Now, I want to hear from you. What are things that help you? Even if you don’t have anxiety, what are some ways you de-stress? I would love to compile a list of ideas to share 🙂