What to do when you're feeling anxious: A crowd-sourced list of awesome ideas.
These past weeks I haven't felt like myself. I felt anxious and insecure and spread too thin, I took things too easily too personally, was on the verge of tears at the smallest challenge and snapped at every. single. person. I love.
The really bad thing about all of that? None of my usual "get me back to myself" measures helped, and I felt the dark cloud coming closer and closer. So I resorted to a cry for help to our community on Instagram and asked you what you do when you feel like that. Over the course of the next few hours, an incredible amount of amazing ideas landed in my Instagram inbox.
Today, I'd love to share them with you. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling anxious and inadequate sometimes, so if you feel the void of self-doubt and negativity approach the next time, pull up this list and choose whatever you feel like.
Listen to music: Put on some music that makes you happy or that reminds you of a positive period in your life. Heck, turn the volume up and have a little impromptu dance party and shake it all out!
Take a walk in nature: Move your body, gently, and look at the trees and clouds. Don't take your phone.
Cut out sugars: Try not to eat wheat and / or sugar of any kind for a few days. This is highly personal and really depends on your body, but sometimes a change in nutrition can do wonders (I know it does for me!).
Exercise: Go swimming, get your butt to the gym, take a yoga class, put up a YouTube Pilates video, go for a hike in the mountains, take a long bike ride. Move and exhaust your body, preferably outside in nature under the sun, but anywhere, really, will do.
Take a break / time off: If you can, take a break for a few hours or even days and do whatever you feel like.
Volunteer in person in your local community: Start working with people whose practices you trust and admire. Go spend time with other people, connecting, helping, volunteering.
Listen to TED talks on positive thinking and self-care: You don't even have to do anything with what you learn while listening to the TED talks. Sometimes it helps already just listening to lots of positive things.
Write a letter to yourself with all the things you've accomplished already in your life.
Write down all the negative thoughts and things that make you anxious. Then, either change them into positive statements or take that piece of paper and burn it.
Plan a good thing for the future: A trip, a walk, a date night, a museum, a vacation, ...
Remind yourself of everything that is good in your life and what is really important to you. Puts everything else in perspective.
Meet family or friends: And if you can't meet them in person, call someone. Talk with them about why you feel anxious - or not, however you feel like. Can be perfectly combined with taking a walk in nature or exercise!
Check for B12 deficiency: Obviously I'm not a doctor, but I found it interesting to learn that vitamin B12 deficiency can contribute to anxiety. If you feel anxious, tired, depressed for a long time, consider getting your vitamin B12 levels checked out.
Go to acupuncture or get a massage: Do something for yourself. Can also be a visit to the hairdresser or a day spa!
Meditate or make mindfulness exercises: A really easy mindfulness exercise is just checking in with your senses - what do you feel, hear, smell? You can also try a meditation app like Smiling Mind, Calm or Headspace.
Write a list of all the things you've been putting off, get them all done during one day and celebrate with a bath at the end. Especially handy for those periods of feeling anxious because of an overwhelming to do list!
Drink lots of water.
Cry. (So good.)
Every one of us is different, and so different ideas will appeal to different people and will work differently for everyone. Just pick one or two of the ideas - maybe the ones that most appeal to you? - and try them. If they don't work, move on to a different idea.
I, for one, started cutting out all sugars again which has done wonders for my mood swings, planned a movie and a dinner date with friends, and am planning on writing more. And crying, there was lots of crying too. Also: I really, really want to try the volunteering tip.