Practical Ways to Cope with Anxiety in Uncertain Times

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The night they announced schools were shutting down until further notice and restaurants would be drive-through only, stores were quickly selling out of toilet paper and people were acting full-on crazy, I laid down in bed and a heaviness set into my chest. No, it wasn’t coronavirus. COVID-19 did not get me…not yet. This was a familiar heaviness that comes to me whenever anything is out of balance: anxiety, my old friend.

As the days went on, I was frozen in place; doing the bare minimum for me and my children as I tried to cope. I know how to cope with anxiety, I’ve done it practically my whole life. I know how to breathe myself out of a moment. The problem was this moment was lasting way too long and I had no escape. Literally, all of a sudden I was stuck at work and couldn’t leave, didn’t even want to leave. No way was I getting out into the chaos while my chest was aching and my heart was pounding.

This made me really step back and revisit those roots; dig up the techniques I haven’t had to use in years. It meant getting out of my own head and getting that annoying pressure out of my chest. Maybe this situation is still causing you to stress out. I’m hoping you’ll find refuge in one or more of these techniques.

Breathing Tools for Anxiety

It really is that simple. Breathing is actually a new tool I’ve put in the anxiety tool bag and, much like a Phillip’s screwdriver, it’s a great tool to have.

  • Sit up nice and tall.
  • Take a deep breath in through your nose: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4.
  • Hold: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4.
  • Exhale through your mouth: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4.
  • Repeat as many times as you need to.

This is a great video that can help walk you through breathing methods and why it is important.

Take up Yoga

Yoga gives you a moment to yourself and time to focus on your mind and body. Let yourself slip away from the moment and stretch out those tense muscles. Bring in some peace and good vibes and you could leave the session feeling like a whole new you. Make it a family session and include your kids; let them do it next to you. Yoga is a family activity that can leave everyone feeling good afterwards.

Check out these videos to get started:

Enjoy a Hot Bubble Bath

This is a tool most use when trying to relax and it is a good one. I always enjoy a nice hot, relaxing bath when anxiety is crippling. I take my favorite magazine and a glass of my favorite wine, and toss in a handful of bath salts and some lavender essential oil for an even more calming effect. Lush bath bombs always give off relaxation vibes. I usually have a few at-home spa products stashed away and try to pamper myself with one of those. A refreshing half hour to yourself can do some major good.

Utilize Essential Oils for Anxiety

Essential oils have become so popular over the last few years, and for good reason. These aren’t anything new though, they’ve been used for centuries. I always joke that there’s a reason Frankincense was a gift to baby Jesus from a wise man. A good, pure oil can do wonders. Lavender is a great start, but there are companies who produce blends just for calming an anxious soul. Remember to pick a high quality brand with great sourcing for their oils. Synthetic oils don’t work well with your bloodstream and may not have the calming effect you were expecting.

Take Some “Me” Time

I know as moms we hear it all the time: “take time for you.” Combatting anxiety is hard, but it’s even harder when little ones are demanding every moment of your time. Touched-out feelings can cause an anxiety meltdown. Step away if possible and take the time to do something you love. Read a good book, curl up in a fuzzy blanket and finish a hot beverage while it is still hot, or go for a walk all by yourself. Give yourself a break, order some takeout from your favorite local joint so dinner doesn’t fall on your shoulders…again. Give yourself grace. The time is uncertain but you can combat your anxious feelings.

Hopefully you can find something within this list that can help tame those wild feelings. Reach out if your feelings become too much to handle. Your feelings are valid and feeling uneasy and anxious is natural. Step back from the moment and find your inner peace. You’ll be feeling better in no time.

For more ways to deal with anxiety, read another perspective here.

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