I am not “cured” of anxiety–I have my ups and downs, and I probably always will. However, over the course of the last six months I have discovered some powerful things to help me deal and control my mood and stressors.
5 Things that Improved My Anxiety
Therapy absolutely has to be number one. If I had not found an amazing (and seriously–I am totally convinced that she is Ah-MAZing) therapist to help me through this process, all of the other things in this list wouldn’t matter. My therapist has taught and guided me through so much. She has taught me how to process old traumas, made me realize how these traumas affect my thinking today, and guided me as I reprocessed the way I think into something healthier. I went into therapy thinking I would talk about how I feel in the now…but I have gained so much more and become so much more healthy as a result of addressing the past and the present. It has not always been fun, and it has pretty much always been hard–but it has absolutely been worth it.
Seriously, I feel like I owe my therapist so much. She has basically helped me start taking my life back, taught me how to set boundaries for a healthier me, and she is always accessible and there for me when I need it. I will be forever grateful for her…more than I could probably ever express in writing!
2. Authentic Friendships
I struggled with isolation and loneliness when my anxiety and depression reached its peak in February. As I struggled, I isolated myself. I began to think there was something wrong with ME, that people didn’t want to be around me. I thought that discussing my problems was not something that people did, and I did not want to be seen as a “complainer.” One day, however, my therapist pointed out that this is just not true–friends talk about lots of things and true friends don’t judge.
I stopped filtering my life. I let people in. As a result, I feel so supported and loved by a core group of women who I also support and love. Making friends as an adult is hard to do…but finding the right friends and allowing yourself to be vulnerable and honest in their presence is absolutely worth it.
3. Reducing Social Media Usage
I was a social media addict. I won’t lie, I definitely browse Facebook and other sites too frequently today, but before addressing many of my issues, I would often take to Facebook and feel inferior. Everyone’s life seems sooooo perfect. So happy. So loved and in love.
Well, guess what? That shit’s not real. Most people only post the best parts of themselves online. Reducing social media use and spending time cultivating actual friendships with real people helped me realize that no one is perfect and happy all the time. Now, I use these sites with a grain of salt and much less frequently, and I am much happier for it.
4. Self care
Being a mother, student, teacher, etc., makes it hard to find time for me. However, realizing that taking care of me is an important aspect of my mental health was so important. I now find time to paint my nails, get a massage, have a girls’ night out, go for a run, have a glass of wine, take a bath, go shopping…you name it. It is okay to take care of you. As mothers, I think we often sacrifice ourselves for our family…yet, if we do this at the sake of our mental health there is a much larger and unexpected cost.
5. Writing…and Running
I never, ever thought I would be on this blog talking about how much I love running. Yet, here I am! I love running for so many reasons. First, running does not allow me time to overthink. When I would walk, my thoughts and mind would swirl. When I run, I am too busy fighting myself to think about all the other “stuff.” It is a good fight, especially because I feel like I win it simply by getting out and running. Second, I set goals and make them…most of the time. The goal might simply be to make it to the fire hydrant in front of me before stopping, or to run two miles without stopping…but I set a challenging goal (for me) and push myself until I make it. It is so empowering. I love the sweat and the workout…but, even more, I love the pride I feel in myself when I am done. I am taking control of something and I am doing something that always seemed impossible for me. It is like a breath of fresh air.
These are five of the best things that have helped me on my journey of healing. I am still healing, still growing, and still have bad days…but, I have come so far. What are some things that are helping you?