Feeling Anxious? Here you go!
I have managed high-functioning anxiety my whole life. It's been super cute, super fun, and everyone is jealous that they've missed out on this rollercoaster of a mental health issue.
You're probably thinking, Okay, thanks for sharing that.
You're so welcome.
The benefit of this lived-experience is that I understand when my body is in fight or flight mode and know that in order to do good in this world, I have to calm myself down first.
Something I've been noticing online the last few days is that a lot of people don't necessarily have the tools or years of therapy to understand how to manage their stress.
It's not a judgement. It simply is what I see.
I'm not a professional - but I basically have a PH.D. in worrying, so I thought I could offer some helpful tools that help me.
My go-to anxiety tools are:
Talking to a friend.
Social connection is so important! Whether that be on the phone, Facetime, Skype, or *gasp* in person, it really helps.
Having a community is helpful to our immune systems, our nervous systems, and I believe it's vital in uncertain times to remember that other people have your back.
It's also comforting to know that if you're feeling scared, you can guarantee that many other people are feeling that way too!
So why don't you reach out to someone? Listening to other people's worries allows us all to be of service and get out of our heads. It's also great to share a laugh about the absurdity of it all.
If you have a bleaker outlook on humanity, having a social connection means that someone out there would buy you toilet paper, share their food, or medicine with you. So there, now you have no excuse.
Blah, exercise? Shut up.
I know, who actually wants to exercise?
But seriously. Movement is going to help lower your stress levels, and burn up some of that anxious energy. It's also great to clear your mind.
We luckily live in a time of Youtube, so even if you can't get outside for a walk or a run, there is plenty of exercises to do from home.
Zumba, Yoga, Pilates - all available for free on Youtube.
I also know there are slower practices for people with chronic pain or concussions.
I know. Everyone talks about how great this is. But seriously, even 5 minutes a day of meditation can help.
I personally do guided mediations, especially ones for stress and anxiety. It truly helps me have a clearer perspective afterwards.
My circumstances haven't changed, but my ability to handle it has!
Managing your mind
One of my favourite podcasts is called "Unf*ck Your Brain" by Kara Lowenthal.
Her focus is on a pragmatic approach to managing your mind (and, therefore, managing your thoughts and feelings). She is a hilarious, brilliant feminist who has amazing practices to change the way you see your circumstances.
Think about the worst-case scenario and work backwards.
This could just be the darker part of my brain, BUT I sometimes have to go to the dark places and make a plan for what I'd do if things get bad.
Would I escape into the forest? Use leaves for toilet paper since everyone in Queen West has taken it all? Which friends would I want to take with me and share my resources? How many Harry Potters books should or could I take with me?
Does that make me fucked-up? Probably.
But at least then I have a plan.
I love comedy. I write comedy and dramedies. I watch a lot of comedy. I listen to comedic podcasts. I read different comedian's books.
*I highly recommend anything comedic if you're in a place of overwhelm.*
It's essential to laugh even if you feel like the world is ending (even if it isn't.)
There is a reason why comedy is so powerful and why we crave it in dark times - because a comedy can talk about dark things in a digestible way and give us a boost of endorphins.
It's just the perfect genre.
Comedic Recommendations: Lovesick, Sisters, Crashing (Phoebe Waller-Bridge's first show), Amy Poehler's book, Ali Wong's Book, Amy Schumer's book.
THAT'S ALL FROM ME (FOR NOW).
Please feel free to reach out if you're feeling lonely or scared! We're all in this together.
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