Is it just me or is this month flying by? I feel lucky to have jam packed so many festive activities into October, but with finals just around the corner and a to-do list that never seems to end, I can’t help but feel time is moving too fast. Last weekend was the speediest two days yet. I came home from school on Friday ready for a relaxing couple of days, blinked and felt like the whole weekend sped by on fast forward in front of my eyes. It is beginning to sink in that 2017 is going to be over soon.
The biggest “issue” with time seemingly moving at double speed is managing my own anxiety levels. Oh anxiety! Everyone deals with feeling anxious at some point. Throughout my life I’ve vacillated between an anxious moment now and then to a constant underlying feeling of anxiety (think tossing & turning all night or becoming physically ill). For those of you that struggle with anxiety, I know I am preaching to the choir when I say it is a difficult challenge to combat. Recent natural disasters and acts of terror have left me with the underlying feeling of impending doom. For my own health and well being I’ve chosen to limit my media consumption and decided to start talking to a therapist about anxiety again.
I’ll admit I am not the best at coping with anxiety. I can get really overwhelmed and it doesn’t make me all that fun to be around. That being said- I’m much better than I was in high school and college. A bit of self awareness and maturity has helped me to understand that the source of my anxiety isn’t always the obstacle directly in front of me. I do my best to compartmentalize so anxiety doesn’t take over my life the way it once did. In some cases all you can really do is take the day one step at a time and breathe! I certainly don’t have the worst anxiety, it doesn’t keep me from getting out of bed and for that I am grateful. I don’t think we need to have the WORST case out there to be able to talk about mental health though. Most of us won’t be the most severe case of anything, yet, sharing our ailments and successes is a great way to uplift and encourage other people.
5 Ways I Deal with Anxiety:
1. Talk to Someone
When I am plagued by worry I call up my best friend who lives across the country, not only is she a great listener but she’s also a great distraction. We generally start off discussing whatever has me worried and move into grander existential theories on the world (silly or serious). I never expect a friend to solve all of my problems but in some cases just having someone to listen makes all the difference.
2. Force myself to be Still & Breathe
Sometimes my anxiety feels so dark and all encompassing the thought of calling a friend or loved one is too much. I do my best to make myself be still and focus on my breathing. I lay down in bed, or on the floor, and breathe deeply and intentionally. If you’ve taken a yoga class think the savasana pose you rest in at the very end. Soft music isn’t a bad idea, though personally I find complete silence (and darkness) most calming when I am really anxious.
3. Focus on Gratitude
I thought a recent post on Cupcakes & Cashmere was a fabulous technique for coping with “smaller” feelings of anxiety (not so sure it will work for overwhelming anxiety). I’ve found when I focus on all I have to be grateful for, it is difficult to maintain the same level of anxiety. I mentally go through everything I am thankful for in the moment, and if possible transition my “anxious energy” into something positive and productive like writing a card for my brother and sister, or calling my mom.
4. Exercise & Nutrition
Mental health and physical health are intertwined. I wouldn’t expect to heal from a physical ailment without giving my body the food and movement it needs so why should I treat stress or anxiety any differently? Find something that makes you sweat that you actually enjoy and practice it regularly. I prefer running, but even a brisk outdoor walk can help me cope. Cut out excess sugar and caffeine when you are particularly anxious. I know saying goodbye to that soothing latte can be difficult (trust me) but it makes a noticeable difference.
5. Seek Professional Help
I am a big believer in de-stigmatizing therapy. I’ve said it once and I’ll keep screaming it until my lungs give out, EVERYONE CAN BENEFIT FROM SEEING A THERAPIST OR COUNSELOR. Your issues aren’t too small, your fears aren’t too big, you aren’t too crazy or too boring. Get yourself talking and I promise if you are committed, open and reflective you will learn about yourself and skills for managing difficult emotions.
For me my anxiety levels vary week to week. One week I feel completely “normal” which for me is a bit high strung anyway, but other weeks are more of a challenge. I am not a mental health expert or anxiety pro but I believe in learning about myself and enjoy discussing new solutions and ideas with you guys. If you deal with anxiety (big or small) how do you cope?
Now, one thing that doesn’t make me anxious-beautiful fall weather! Up until today, Seattle has experienced the most gorgeous fall weather (it’s pouring down rain today if you’re wondering). While the weather is still dry and relatively warm I like to wear as many skirts and dresses as I can. Mini skirts with cozy fall sweaters are a winning combination in my opinion. Pair the girly look with ballet flats for a polished date day/girl’s day or add sneakers for a casual outfit for running errands, brunching or eating chocolate covered strawberries outside like I am here (:
There are so many gorgeous ruffled sweaters available this season. I love this feminine trend paired with a mini skirt like I styled my sweater here or with jeans to add a touch of girliness for a casual weekend look. My sweater is from Banana Republic but there are great options available at Target (like this one and this one and this one), ASOS (this one and this one), Nordstrom (Love this one and this one), Revolve (great option here and here) and Club Monaco (this one is swoon worthy and this one too). With so many pretty, ruffled sweaters around I think it’s safe to say the flirty top is one of this season’s MUST HAVE trends. I have personally considered throwing a few more girly sweaters in my online shopping cart to snuggle up in through the frigid days ahead.
Have a wonderful week lovelies <3