I just wanted to start by saying that I am living with Anxiety and have written this article from that perspective. I am in no way medically trained and based on that please use these as suggestions to make life easier, not as a full treatment.
How To Feel Normal When Living With Anxiety
I have put together a list of some strategies that I use to help with my anxiety, I understand everyone is different, so not all of these strategies will work for you or appeal to you.
I have also included a free printable called 20 Ways To Feel Normal When Living With Anxiety, for you to print and use.
Write To Do lists – Daily
Every morning I get up and have a coffee while I busy myself on the computer, then if I’m lucky, I get ready for work otherwise, it’s trying to busy myself in other ways.
I find that if I write To Do lists I am more productive, so I write a To Do List. On this list, I include anything, from small to big. The important thing though is to not make to elaborate plans. Keep it simple. I find when I make plans, I am more exposed to my anxiety when I have to cancel.
Read – anything!
Read blogs, read books, read magazines, read journal articles – just read!
I have been reading some really bad and some really good books on the kindle app on my phone. The site BookBub sends me emails daily with free or discounted books, which I take advantage of.
I find that in most cases I am so engrossed in the story that I forget about my own worries and anxieties for a while. Even when not reading I am thinking about the characters.
I also read articles from other bloggers – particularly anything to help improve my blog, but we all have something cool to write about, and you can find something to read on any topic!
Listen to music
Check out some of my playlists!
Take a bath
There is just something about the warmth of a bath, it’s like curling up under your favourite blanket (which you can do too, particularly if you don’t have a bath).
Baths are my happy place, when I am stressed, when I am sad, when I am anxious, I take a bath.
It is my time, for me… and only me!
Also add a little bit of your favourite essential oil, and relax away! My go to is lavender!
I tend to drink lots of coffee – because I constantly feel tired – but it can actually make my anxiety worse.
I am getting better at drinking tea, and I actually find the process of making one relaxing.
Tea helps to hydrate the body, the activity of making a cuppa and drinking it is calming and makes for a good routine.
Teas that are good for anxiety are;
- Chamomile tea – relaxes muscles and reduces irritability. Helps to treat insomnia.
- Peppermint tea – natural muscle relaxant, caffeine free and calming.
- Lemon balm tea – reduces cortisol, a stress hormone, relaxes the body without causing drowsiness, and helps in elevating mood.
- Earl Grey – contains the essential oil Bergamot which has a positive impact on neurological and mental conditions.
I especially love to have a cup of tea in a pretty teapot, with a cute little cup and saucers – why not make it a nice affair!
Aromatherapy / Essential Oils
Currently I have an electric diffuser by my bed, I have been using Lavender Oil to help me sleep and have been having great success. I also have lots of other blends.
I just recently got a diffuser in my car ( yeh how cool!!) and have a calming blend going. When I drive I find I chew my nails and fingers and overthink, so a calming blend is ideal for me, and I am finding it helps!
A few helpful oils are;
Lavender – helps with sleep and can be calming for nerves and anxiety.
Rose – boosts self-esteem, confidence, and mental strength while fighting depression and relieving anxiety.
Ylang Ylang – promotes cheerfulness, courage, and optimism, and soothes fearfulness. It also helps combat depression, as it relaxes both the body and soul, driving away anxiety, sadness, and chronic stress.
Bergamot – secrets hormones which have a positive impact on neurological and mental conditions. Bergamot helps to create the feeling of joy, freshness and boosts energy.
Chamomile – decreases irritability, overthinking, anxiety, and worry.
Also look out for good quality blends, like Sleep, Rest, Calm .. etc! I get mine from my sister over at Elle’s Smells, but there are loads of quality places out there!
Check out Organic Facts for some great information on Essential Oils.
Read Inspirational or Motivational Quotes Daily
Check out my 10 Inspirational Quotes
Grow a Garden
I have been growing a garden for years, purely for its mental health benefits.
When I was diagnosed with depression I started to grow a garden because I knew it would help.
I find that it distracts me from my thoughts, and it gives me responsibility and I guess a feeling of happiness – particularly when I grow some gorgeous fruit and veggies!
You can grow anything, flowers, fruit, vegetables, cactus, succulents, natives – the list goes on!
Here are some great tips to get you started!
Depending on the information you read (and I say this because I am a scientist and believe all information should be tested and peer reviewed), there is a belief at the moment that there is a second brain in our gut.
In simple terms, the gut has its own a nervous system (enteric nervous system) similar to the central nervous system (the one in our brain).
This ‘brain’ releases hormones which make you happy or sad and the bacteria in the gut also influence emotional behaviour.
So I say this as theory, purely because I don’t have a legit article, but having had issues with food for a long time, I actually really believe this… that food affects our mood.
Just think of the time you ate some junk food and felt foggy afterwards!
But whether you believe it or not, it is important to eat healthy. Let your body get the right nutrients and it will do its best to work well for you.
Avoid or cut down on Alcohol
This one is totally new to me, I am noticing how alcohol affects me (not just being drunk), and these days I actually can’t drink very much without feeling foggy, anxious, grumpy, and getting a headache.
Australian culture is so centred around drinking alcohol, whether it be going to a party, going out for dinner, or a way to relax after work; so I can see how this would be a hard one to implement into your life.. but I have found that I feel much more level when I choose not to drink alcohol.
Get enough sleep
And if you need to stay in bed or take a nap, DO NOT feel guilty!
What do you think of these strategies?
Do you have any that you use?