Let's just preface this with anxiety is a b*tch. Nevertheless over the years I have figured out what works for me to help minimize it and that is what I am going to share with you. Just keep in mind what works for me might not work for you, because unfortunately there is a not a one size fits all remedy for anxiety. However, in my opinion it's all worth trying if any of it can help you in someway.
First off, let me just say that you are not alone, you are not crazy, and you are strong AF, stronger than you realize my friend. I have struggled with anxiety for YEARS and I definitely hit rock bottom with that struggle. You can ready all about my anxiety story here (it's the most vulnerable piece of content I've ever written— but I felt it was important to do so).
Below is everything in my "anti-anxiety" arsenal and some things that I think are extremely important to incorporate into your life.
SET BOUNDARIES— Let's start off with one I think is VERY important— setting boundraries. This one was very hard for me to do for a long time, but let me just scream this from the rooftops— you need to learn how to set personal boundaries for yourself. If you don't set them you will constantly be finding yourself in situations that are causing you unnecessary and often avoidable stress. If you have too much on your plate, don't feel comfortable doing something, or think that something might be a trigger for you, don't do it. I know it sounds simple and stupid, but you will be surprised at how many times you find yourself agreeing to do things without hesitation that will set you up for failure. How many times have you agreed to do something and then when the day comes your heart is racing so badly because you no longer want to do it? If you just take 5 minutes to truly think about what is being asked of you rather than immediately agreeing to it you would realize that you could save yourself a lot of stress by just saying no initially. Make a conscious effort to really think about things before you commit to them so you don't find yourself bailing at the last second or worse— go through with them to appease others and it leaves you feeling like an anxious mess the entire time.
The same goes for your career. Setting boundaries at work are CRUCIAL for good mental health. If you don't set them you will find yourself stressed out, overworked, and/or missing out on the best parts of life. Please don't do this to yourself. You have ONE life and it goes by way far too quick, so it is so important to live it to the fullest. You need to start looking out for you because nobody else knows what you want or need more than yourself.
SET A SCHEDULE— Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it. I know I talk about this on my IG stories a lot, but when my schedule gets out of whack my anxiety gets increasingly worse. I need to go to bed by a certain time to be able to wake up at a certain time and when I fall off that cycle it's like night and day for me. Finding out what works best for you and structuring your days around it helps a lot. I personally try to be sleeping by 10-10:30 PM and wake up at 4:45-5 AM. I am a morning person through and through and I feel so much better when I get up early and get my day started.
SLEEP/CBD— On the topic of going to bed, I have struggled with sleeping since I was a little kid. I attribute that unfortunate quality to my racing mind and my inability to never "relax". I am constantly go go go because I need to stay busy, but not getting enough sleep severely cripples me, worse than a horrible hangover. Unfortunately, I have never had much luck falling asleep and for years I tried it all — banana tea, melatonin, lavender on the pillow, counting sheep, reading before bed, ECT and while they all helped me they never helped me enough.
Getting introduced to CBD was a complete game changer for me both for my sleeping struggles and the anxiety spells that would creep up on me. I have tried quite a few brands of CBD before, but the one I use the most frequently is Equilibria. Let me be the first to say that I was SO skeptical about CBD in general. I was wary about whether it would work and I was also kind of nervous to try it to be honest. I didn't understand the extent to how truly amazing it was until I tried it for myself and my skepticism went right out the window.
Below is my CBD routine in case you want to try it. PS— I do have a code with them — SUGARED — that's currently 33% off until the end of the night (then back to 15% off). You can learn more about Equilibria and shop their products by clicking here.
DAILY DROPS (regular strength, mint flavor)
I started off using a CBD full spectrum oil to help me sleep and would put a full dropper of oil in my mouth before bed and paired it with a melatonin— I call this my nighttime cocktail. Within a half an hour I am relaxed, tired, and dosing off. I also use use these daily drops before I fly to help with my flight anxiety. Equilibria also has a dosage specialist that you can schedule 1 on 1 time with FOR FREE when you purchased their products.
DAILY SOFTGELS (regular strength)
These are something I take daily as they help prevent any random anxiety flare-ups, but there are times I don't take them everyday and I just use them on days I wake up feeling off. In around 45 minutes I am SO calm and zen-ed out.
I only use this full spectrum balm when needed for my cramps, but it also is great for achy joints and just overall soreness!
** FYI there are trace amounts of THC in these products but it is less than 0.3% THC, so it's both legal and will not make you feel intoxicated!
WEIGHTED BLANKET— One other thing I HIGHLY recommend is getting a weighted blanket. I swear it feels like somebody is giving you a big hug and it just makes you feel so safe and secure. I wish SO badly I knew about this dang this in law school when I lived alone because boy would it have helped!! The exact one I have is from Amazon and it's linked here.
READ — Reading self help books and books about anxiety are so helpful because they bring a sense of understanding to what you are going through, show you that you aren't alone, and provide some really really great insight on how to cope. Hands down my favorite book is "First, We Make the Beast Beautiful" by Sarah Wilson. If you need a place to start I loved this book because it truly walked you through her painstaking journey with mental illness and it was so freaking relatable.
Here are also a few other recommendations:
Anxiety: Panicking About Panic by Joshua Fletcher
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
You're Not Alone by Zachary David
Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen
EXERCISE— This is a MUST. Mental health and physical health go hand in hand. You don't give yourself a fighting chance at being mentally healthy without being physically healthy as well. Your body and your mind will feel so much better when you add exercise into your daily routine. It could be in any form— walking, hiking, swimming, going to the gym. It just needs to be something and it needs to be consistent. The hardest part is getting started… in the beginning it might cause you anxiety just to get up and go, but once you force it into becoming a habit your mental health will improve tremendously. I was always active and loved running or working out, but when I was in law school I passed out in my apartment gym and woke up in the hospital. I have pretty much had PTSD about going to the gym by myself ever since then. My words of advice if something similar has happened to you or if going to the gym alone stresses you out in general, find somebody to be your workout buddy. My fiancé is my workout buddy. We go to the gym 4-5 times a week and he keeps me accountable. I have noticed a worlds of difference in my mental health from being back at the gym.
I hope that this helps one of you in some way! Sending all my love and hugs!