Anxiety can get the best of all of us. You know the drill; heart palpitations, chest pressure, insomnia, headaches, or even nausea, among other symptoms, are never fun to experience. Sure, conquering stress and anxiety can be tough, but having some home remedies to combat them puts the ball in your court.
1. Joy Journal Jotting
Have you ever kept a diary? It can become pretty addicting. You get to scribble down all of the day's thoughts without any judgment. It's also fun to flip back on the pages and look at all of the memories. A joy journal is the same basic principle, except there's no negativity allowed. If you have a conflict, discuss it in your journal but offer potential solutions as well. Did your boo bail on your movie date? Write about how excited you are to go see it with your gal pals! How about that big meeting tomorrow; are you pacing through the hallways in a cold sweat about it? Write an affirmation, expressing how much you are going to crush it. Repeat it until it takes over your thoughts. Think of this journal as a powerful life tool to combat your stress, judgment free.
2. Schedule Tea Time
What's the deal with the English taking time out of their day to sip tea? It turns out tea can actually soothe away stress! Who would have thought? Apparently, the Brits are on to something. But which is best for you to unwind with? Well, there's no right answer really because tea is more diverse than a box of crayons, but each flavor speaks differently to everyone. White, green, Oolong, black, herbal, pu-erh, and rooibos teas all offer different benefits; experiment to see which works best for you! And when you become a real connoisseur, see if you like loose teas, strainers, filters, and infusers instead of the typical tea bags.
3. Chat Up the Cat (or Dog, Hedgehog, Etc.)
Who else will listen to your incessant ramblings with no complaints, judgment, or interruptions? Good old Whiskers and Fido will always have your back in this situation. Besides, it's a win-win for them too because they want the attention (and, let's face it, they are so getting a back rub during your talks.)
When we get anxious, we tend to repeat ourselves. Our stressor keeps running through our heads, so it only makes sense for it to keep running through our words too, right? However, Spot, Spike, or even Goldie won't mind the loops in the convo, nor will they point them out to you. In fact, pets are proven stress relievers. You can get all of your worries off of your chest, knowing your secrets are safe. You might even come up with a solution because you are verbalizing your emotions without feeling uncomfortable. The only downside is that you might need to make time for a potty break if your four-legged friend is in for a long discussion. Also, you should have treats on hand for a well-deserved thank you.
4. Hit Something
Literally, wind up and take your full aggression out...on a baseball. If you are the type of person that gets served a side of angry with their anxiety, it's beneficial to actively get your frustration out in a more hands-on and physical fashion. Physical activity is known to reduce stress, and the batting cages offer an outlet to express your anxiety in a healthy manner. You don't need any experience to show up and hit either. Bring a couple dollars, some comfy clothes, and sneakers, and you're set.
Most batting cages rent bats and helmets, so you don't have to worry about buying them. You can also choose the speed you want to hit. If you're a beginner, go with slow-pitch. If you start to frequent the cages, bump up to either the baseball or softball fast-pitch and adjust your speed. It's aggression that'll feel good to let out, and you'll burn off some of that extra energy.
5. Draw Out the Jitters
Sometimes the best way to combat overwhelming anxiety is by artistically tricking your mind into thinking about something else. When we were younger, doodling was seen as counterproductive, but were you ever stressed or overwhelmed while you were doing it? No. You were more focused on trying to really perfect that sunflower you've been working on for two solid days. Same concept. When you're overwhelmed, pick something to draw from your memory. This makes you focus on that item to transfer that image onto the paper. It forces you to take your mind off of your anxiety. If you need some colorful inspiration, try this 30-day doodle challenge!
6. Drive Yourself Uncrazy
Do you have a happy place that always seems to bring you inner peace? Drive to it. Hit the open road with your favorite tunes blasting through your speakers, and sing your lungs out. Will you get double takes from the cars next to you? Maybe. Does it really matter, though? Perhaps they should loosen up and have some more fun!
When you get to your destination, soak it in. Enjoy the sunset, go for a walk, or grab some soft serve. Give yourself that little break you so desperately need, then return to the real world with a clearer head. Bring your hubby, best friend, or pup along for the ride if you're not wanting to ride solo. The only rule is you're not allowed to talk about your anxiety during this time. Being outside offers positive effects on your mood. This is a safe space where problems don't exist. If you want to, you could even walk to your happy place. More time outside isn't a bad thing!
7. Just Breathe
Smell is one of our strongest senses. Did you know that a delightful aroma or certain blends of smells can relieve stress and anxiety? Essential oils are great when you are literally burning the midnight oil with that big presentation for tomorrow's board meeting, or tossing and turning over that botched first date. (Why did he pick a place for your pizza date that's known for their pasta anyway?) When it's late and all you're craving is relaxation, choose some essential oil blends to keep yourself calm. (And don't forget about the diffuser.) There are many health benefits linked to them too! Here are some oils to help with stress and anxiety.
8. Listen to Words of Wisdom (With Catchy Beats)
You know how you have that rotation of songs you always play to pump you up while working out? It makes you run harder and lift weights better. Your feet seem to be in sync to the tempo of the beat. It's the same thing with stress relief.
When you have high anxiety, soothing music helps to set your emotions to that beat as well. Where listening to hard rock might get your endorphins pumping, classical or gentle music eases your mind into a slower pace. Perhaps you can even create a playlist specifically for these occasions. Quiet your mind to the sounds of easy listening; you'll see your response to stress slowly fade away.
9. Say Yes to No
If you're the type of person that gets overwhelmed when your calendar is completely booked, you should learn how to utilize the word "no." After a long week of all-nighters, a fight with your significant other, and a late phone bill, perhaps you just want some me time. There's nothing wrong with that. But when your friends hit up your phone to get together on Friday AND Saturday night, your anxiety goes through the roof.
Saying no isn't a bad thing. Would you rather have a couple people slightly miffed at you for a weekend while getting the time you need to recharge or be a people pleaser that gets even more worn out? Sometimes sleep or meditation is what you need rather than a big night out. If getting out helps you through anxiety, then go for it, but don't feel obligated if you aren't feeling it. You'll be surprised to know that many people understand if you're honest. Follow your statement by saying something like, "Why don't we reschedule for brunch next Saturday when things calm down a bit?" It shows your friends that you aren't bailing, you just need a break.
10. Store Your Worries Away
A worry box is a place to literally store all of your worries away. Write down the things that are bothering you on small slips of paper, and then place them inside. You can also decorate your worry box in a way that describes your personality. It is going to be housing your thoughts after all. Sometimes seeing your worry on paper makes it feel less overwhelming. If you can't fully describe your stress, draw a picture of it. You make the rules here. This box also helps you discover patterns in your anxiety. Do you spend too much time worrying about the same thing?
Your written words might even trigger a discussion. Perhaps you feel ready to open up and discuss this issue with someone close to you. Maybe you even feel like you've found a way to properly verbalize the situation because you took the time to collect your thoughts and make it more physical. The point of this box is to help you compartmentalize your thoughts.
Put Your Mind at Ease
When it comes to anxiety, always remember you aren't alone. Many people experience the woes that come along with anxiety, and if it isn't drastically impacting your daily life, you can take control of it on your own. If you do need additional help, there's no shame in consulting with a medical professional either. The only wrong turn you can make is living through anxiety, day after day, without finding a solution.