I’ve noticed a pattern lately. Everyone in my life; my husband, Rebecca and my friends have told me that I need more balance in my life. You all know me as the woman that makes you do extra reps of teasers and roll-ups during your Pilates class. However, during the day I am actually working at my two other jobs. (Yes, you read that correctly… I have three jobs.)
I have spent the last 15 years of my life either working or going to school for around 50-60 hours a week. It definitely became habit in medical school. A time where things like grocery shopping and sleeping became privileges not necessities.
In my experience I know that I’ve reached my limit when my anxiety starts to get worse. Therefore, I’ve done lots of research on different things that work for anxiety. Please note, there isn’t one thing that will work for everyone and there isn’t one trick that will work every time. This is why it is best to arm ourselves with a variety of different tricks so that we have options.
First, we can stop… just STOP. When thoughts start to swirl around in my head and I start feeling like my head is chaos, I need to just think, “stop.” At first this only gave me a few seconds of relief but after practicing, it actually started to work for longer and longer spans of time.
Second option; start making lists. I have to be honest my dad is the smartest person I know. He magically is able to fix any problem that I have. A trick that he has taught me for when I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed is to start making lists. For some reason when you see problems on paper and start slowly crossing them off, they aren’t so bad anymore.
Lastly, (of course aside from the HUGELY beneficial practice of exercise) deep belly breaths. Belly breaths help to put us back into parasympathetic mode. This is our mode for “rest and digest.” When in parasympathetic mode, our respiratory rate slows, our heartbeat slows, and our blood pressure lowers. The easiest way of doing this is to simply take a moment or two out of each day and bring awareness to our breath. As we inhale, we let our belly expand out of the abdomen area, and as we exhale we let our belly passively relax.
Obviously, when it comes to any type of mental health, including anxiety, it is multi-faceted. I personally know that when my life is not in balance that my anxiety gets much worse. Luckily, I have found some signals (and have a husband that tolerates me) that let me know when I need to take a bit of a break. What works for you will need to be tailored to you, but give these a try, one of these may help.