7 Ways I Cope With A Random Anxiety Day
Every once in a while, the first thing I feel when I wake up isn't a need to snooze my alarm, it's tension and an overwhelming sense of anxiety. I uncurl my fingers that had been clutching my comforter like it was a life raft tasked with getting us back to shore. I say us, because on these particular days, it feels like my body and mind are different entities. We're no longer one. On days when anxiety strikes from the moment I open my eyes, my body and the right - logical - side of my brain are in charge with getting us through the day in one piece.
Getting to the place where I could trust those two to get me through the day has been hard won. It's the result of years in therapy and learning to trust myself. It's involved many a panic attack and many a day of being so consumed that come night I fall to bed like I ran a marathon.
Over the years I've found things that help and things that helped for a bit until they ultimately just made it harder. For instance, those couple of times when feeling my pulse anchored me in my body, which was great until my anxiety triggered my pulse to go faster and inched me closer to a panic attack.
Having anxiety is a hat full of really great days and some bad moments that mix in to gift you a life that regardless of the day is always worth fighting for.
Here's how I fight on the bad moment days.
I wear clothes I feel comfortable in
Some days (like today) it means I wear clothes that are all kinds of comfortable. Two of my go-to outfits are baggy ripped jeans with a white top, or soft pants and a muscle tee. My mind already feels so constricted, so I try to offset it by letting my body feel as fluid as can be.
I try to eat well
This goes back to the fact that I need to give my body fuel to get us through. Usually (because my anxiety sits in my stomach) this is a hard task. I start off small — bananas help settle my stomach and make it possible to eat the next thing. This morning my stomach wasn't feeling too bad, so I went big — a banana, a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks and a frappe.
While I was still in bed this morning I did some breathing exercises that helped me remove some of the tension from my body. I try to remember that for me breathing doesn't rid me of my anxiety, it just helps get me through the worst of it and helps make me more functional. Taking the pressure away from any one thing to solve my problem helps make it easier to remember that I'm not a problem to be solved. I'm just a girl who's having a harder day.
I admit I'm not well
I've gotten into the habit of texting Tyler every time I have an anxious day the same way I would if I had a really bad stomachache. I tell him I'm not feeling well and he then he sends me pictures of puppies. I have empathy for his desire to make it all better for me because it's something I want to do when he has a really bad cough, but I think we're both learning that the best way out is through.
Some days this works and sometimes it doesn't, so it's both my first and last choice. When I'm especially anxious it's really hard for me to put together essays like I usually write — it's why this post is a list instead of an essay. On the days when I can put it down in story form though, those days are good.
I listen to music
Here's a playlist I put together of some songs that help keep my mood uplifted and make me feel understood. Usually I'll put together a playlist of favorite songs, or I'll listen to a single album on repeat all day. It depends on how badly I need a set pattern on a given day.
I write a list of everything I need to get done
This is a very-specific-to-me thing. I know that for some this is just so outside of what's realistic and that's fine. No one's wrong. For me, a list helps remind the logical part of my brain that there's things to get done and that for right now I'm capable of doing them. I go in with a reminder that it's okay if not everything gets done, it's about trying for me.