It’s really important that people know that this does not qualify as professional help. Yes, I am your fellow anxiety-filled human being. But I can’t cure you with what I’m about to tell you, I can only help you manage (or avoid triggering) it. This will not make your anxiety go away. If you want a cure, go to a professional (I’ll link some resources at the very end). But I would like to give you suggestions that will help you manage your anxiety, since I have noticed an overwhelming amount of people going to social media for suggestions lately. So, fellow anxiety-filled humans, here are my five life hacks that will hopefully help you manage your anxiety better.
1. Essential Oils
Not only is this a fairly easy one to do, it smells pretty darn good. Lavender essential oils will help you relax and regroup. It’s not a cure for anxiety, it’s just a tool to help manage it. All you have to do is decide whether you want to diffuse it or use it directly on yourself, and then you leave the rest up to the oil. I highly recommend you at least try this. There are other essential oils out there that can assist with anxiety, but I have only tried lavender.
2. Work out
I don’t know what working out looks like for you, but I’m not that into it. I hate weightlifting with a passion, so I usually just avoid it. Running is not my thing, either. Instead, I walk (like three or more miles) with my dog. It’s suggested that you get your heart rate up when you work out, but do whatever works for you. If a calm stroll in the park is what helps you manage your anxiety, do it (unless a professional advises otherwise). If weightlifting helps, then I say why not. So long as you are eating enough and drinking water, I don’t see how your workout could harm you.
3. Talk to someone (friend, family, professional)
This is so, so vital for managing your anxiety. There is nothing harder than dealing with a panic attack and not being able to tell anyone about it. I have been blessed with friends who are willing to listen to me when I’m anxious, and I highly recommend that you find friends who can do that for you, too. But let me say this: Your friends are not meant to fix you. They are not a tool, they are your friends. It is essential that you understand that you cannot use your friends simply to be comforted. Your friends have feelings and problems too. It’s not all about you. As my dear friend once told me, “You have to be a friend to have a friend.” But still, finding someone to talk to can be beneficial.
4. Create consistency
Okay, this one could totally be in my head. For me personally, however, a consistent bedtime/morning routine can really help me counteract my anxiety. I don’t know what it is, but if I know what to expect when I end my night and when I begin my day, it’s not quite as bad. Now, this could be total bologna. I don’t know. At the very least try it and see if it works for you. It may, or it may not.
5. Back off the caffeine
This one hurts. I’m a barista at a coffee shop, so suggesting something like this is like a scientist suggesting that you stop breathing air. But I need to be honest with you guys, and this is about as honest as it’ll get. Caffeine can trigger your anxiety. Yes, it has other benefits. They say it helps prevent Parkinson’s disease and dementia. But you don’t need the extra energy when you already have so much misplaced energy. If you really, really need caffeine in your life then switch to tea. Or if it’s the coffee taste that you can’t live without, 99% of places have decaf options for their coffee so just get decaf.
I know that anxiety can be crippling, so I hope that this will help you as much as it helped me. Some other tips would be to set aside time to just read the Bible and talk with God. I especially enjoy prayer journaling when I’m anxious. Please know that no matter how bad it gets, and no matter how bad it feels, there are tools that can help you get better. You’re never alone.
Resources for my fellow anxiety-filled humans:
http://treatment.adaa.org/ (You can enter your zip code and find therapists near you)
http://socialphobia.org/links-social-anxiety-groups (Social anxiety)