How I am Dealing with Anxiety in My Everyday Life
What does living with anxiety mean to me?
I honestly cannot remember the first time I felt really anxious in my life. I am not sure how anxiety managed to creep in, slowly and unnoticed, and become such a huge part of my life. One day, I simply found it hard to make a phone call or face a person who needed to talk to me. I started feeling anxious, a lot.
Truth is, there are so many things that scare me: I am afraid of public humiliation and being rejected, and I am also terrified of birds- but I don’t think that’s very relevant. My fears impeded me to achieve so many goals in my life, from talking to the guy I liked when I was in high school to be successful at an interview for fear of failing.
At first, I did not want to acknowledge how much anxiety was influencing my everyday decisions and actions, I just thought that everybody felt the same way and there was, therefore, nothing to worry about. At some point, it would have just faded away, like an old memory.
But I am growing up now and I have to admit to myself that, not only my anxiety hasn’t left me yet, it actually has gotten worse.
Now, I feel anxious on a Sunday evening because I know that I have to go to work the day after. I feel anxious about meeting my old friends from university because I am afraid they are more successful than me and the comparison would just make me feel worse. I am afraid of answering calls at work because what if I don’t understand what they are trying to say or I am not able to help them?
We have all experienced episodes of pure anxiety but some people more than others have to deal with this condition every day. So, if you, like me, are one of those people, keep reading.
Here are my top 8 ways to cope with anxiety in your everyday life.
Find the perfect routine
Create a night or morning routine that will help you end or start the day in the most relaxing way possible. Personally, I prefer winding down at night, after work. I have discovered that there are particular scents and perfumes that help me relax, like the classic vanilla or the more autumnal spiced apple.
I always try to have a candle on when I start my night routine because my mind immediately understands it is finally time to relax. Establishing a routine was incredibly beneficial for me because now I don’t need to think about what I should be doing but my body already knows when it’s time to start my skin-care routine and when it’s time to prepare the clothes for the following day. Not having to think about every single action helps me deal with my constant fear of not being ready or of forgetting to do something important, like pack my notes for a meeting.
Similarly, I find to-do lists very helpful. They are a great way to write down every thought that keeps you up at night. I literally have a to-do list for everything: shopping, cleaning, organising my room, planning my week, visualising my goals. If you want to be even more organised, keeping everything in a bullet journal would make it easier for you to find the list that you need for every occasion. Plus, you can make it as pretty as you want!
Otherwise, if you feel like you don’t have enough time to regularly update your bullet journal- just like me- you can download my favourite app of all times: Google Keep! I cannot even start explaining how obsessed I am with this app. Not only you can write down all of your lists and notes dividing them in different categories, but you can also customise it however you want, adding images to help you visualise your goals. In addition, it is completely free. What’s not to love?
PS: if you guys are interested I can totally write a post on how I organise my notes on Google Keep, the categories that I have, and how I use this app in my everyday life to achieve my highest level of productivity. Let me know in the comments below!
Before starting my first journal, I was very sceptical of all this journaling thing. I did not think I would have the time or the patience to keep a diary for a long time, tracking down my emotions and my feelings. In reality, it is actually way easier than it seems. I don’t write every day but only when I feel it is necessary. Keeping a journal just makes me feel as if I am talking to someone who is willing to listen no matter what I have to say. I can notice patterns and situations that trigger my anxiety more than others, or maybe that make me feel calmer or comfortable.
I believe in the importance of getting to know ourselves. We may not be perfect but we need to be patient and try to learn what works for us and what doesn’t. Once we finally realise what particular situations make us feel so anxious, we can start working on them or maybe even avoid them if we can.
This is probably the hardest tip to follow, in my opinion. But it is nonetheless very important. It does not mean that we have to go from being afraid of booking our own doctor appointments to speaking in front of a crowd. A big challenge will just make us feel even more nervous. It’s a journey, not a race. There is no rush.
Instead, try to set baby steps, little challenges that will encourage you to overcome some fears, one at a time. For example, instead of spending your lunch break in your office, you can maybe go outside and enjoy your meal at the park. Simply being surrounded by other people will have a positive impact on your mindset.
Since I was a kid, I have always been obsessed with books. I used to start a new book in the morning and read until late at night, without even realising I had spent the entire day reading- which is also why I now need glasses. Reading is one of my most therapeutic hobbies because it helps me escape the everyday reality and momentarily live in a new world.
When I cannot fall asleep, reading is the only way I can calm myself, forgetting about those problems that keep me up at night. Find a book that is so interesting that you can’t put it down and completely immerse yourself into the story. It will not solve your problems forever but it is a great way to relax and distract yourself. If you are not a fan of fiction books, there are plenty of other things you can read.
I love self-help books, they give me the tools to see my life from a new perspective, the courage to look at the bigger picture, and the confidence to start achieving my true potential. At the moment, my favourites are Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” and davidji’s “Sacred Power”. If you are looking for a good self-help book, these two are the perfect place to start!
Okay, I admit it, I used to love going to school and even now that I finished university, I still enjoy learning in my spare time. There are still so many things that I don’t know and learning makes me feel like a proper grown-up (#adulting101). Plus, there are so many courses online, both free and paid, that you can check if you want to learn something new.
I feel like when I learn something, my anxiety decreases significantly because I feel present and proactive.
Learning is a good way to keep your brain trained and to increase your productivity. In addition, whenever I finish an online course I feel super motivated and inspired, ready to tackle all of my problems and live my best life. Nowadays, there are so many resources that you can use, from your local library to YouTube tutorials, from online courses to blogs. Whatever you are interested in, be sure someone has written something about it!
Up to this day, I still haven’t found anything that calms me down like meditation. After all, if everybody is talking about it as a way to improve your life, there must be a good reason for it. Although it takes a lot of time to perfect your technique, it doesn’t mean that trying won’t help you anyway.
For instance, I often find my thought drifting away when I meditate. Instead of punishing myself for not being focused enough, I gently bring back my attention to the present moment.
Meditating has so many benefits in your everyday life that I will not be able to list them all. Just to give you an idea, meditation is proven to increase your focus and clarity, to reduce stress and anxiety with its calming effect, to help you sleep better, and to improve your relationships with other people and yourself. It even helps enhance your physical health. Do I need to add anything else?
Start meditating today, it doesn’t take long, five to ten minutes a day are more than enough. You can pick your ideal time depending on your routine and even your ideal place. Do you prefer meditating on your bed before going to sleep or do you prefer going to the park after work?
One of the best thing about meditation is that it does not require any equipment. You just need a comfortable place to stay and some time for yourself. And if you feel like you need some extra help to get started, why not checking an app for your phone? There are plenty to choose from. Personally, my favourites are Headspace and Calm. I find them particularly useful and well structured. If you are using other apps, please let me know which ones you prefer by leaving a comment down below!
This is surely one of the hardest ones for me. Due to today’s society, it is so easy for us to access other people’s lives, or at least the idealised version that they share on social media. How many times have you opened Instagram to find strangers living their best life on a beach or at a 5-star resort? Or pretty models, eating burgers while keeping the perfect figure? How many times have you felt less because you compared yourself to them? I know, I have been there. Sometimes it still happens to me. And that makes me feel so anxious.
I literally panic because I tell myself I am not working hard enough to look so pretty, to have so much money, to chase my dream life. I start doubting myself and my abilities, I stop trusting my path. Self-doubt feeds insecurity which in turn increases your anxiety level. Let me tell you now.
Those people that you see on Instagram or Pinterest are not real. What they portray on social media is not real. It’s just a fleeting moment, an instant that has been captured by a good photographer, highly edited and then posted with a catchy caption. Don’t get me wrong, people can post whatever they want on social media and make their life look as good as they want, it’s not a sin.
But please, don’t compare yourself to them. Keep trusting yourself, keep trusting the Universe and your path. One day you are going to be on a beautiful beach and you won’t need to take a picture to remember how good it feels.
Here you are, guys. I hope these tips can help you as much as they help me. If you have any suggestions or if there is anything that I forgot to mention, please leave a comment, I am always open to new ideas!