I love sharing these suggestions for making your Christmas Holiday simple and fun.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is common in our busy world and is a normal part of everyday life. Everyone feels anxious just getting out of bed in the morning and punching a time clock to get to work, dealing with co-workers, and everything that involves making a living and dealing with our personal lives.
However, sometimes anxiety or intrusive thoughts ruin your day where it diverts your attention away from the task at hand. It may drain your energy and demotivate you. Sometimes, the anxiety can be paralyzing which is not normal and could be a symptom of another problem, such as depression.
Some symptoms of anxiety may include shortness of breath, trembling or shaking, sweating or cold, clammy hands, muscle tension or aches that can't be associated with any real cause, such as, maybe you ran that extra mile during your morning workout. You may be focusing too much on a problem, worrying or obsessing about something with no real cause for the worrisome thoughts.
Make a Plan
Recognize and accept that you have anxiety. When you feel anxious or intrusive thoughts arise, jot down what you were doing at that moment to find out what triggered the anxiety.
For example, if you feel anxious going grocery shopping, write down your feelings about it. Identity the true cause of your anxious feelings. Does driving in heavy traffic make you anxious? Then maybe schedule a grocery shopping trip earlier in the morning or later in the evening when traffic might be lighter.
Are you constantly worrying about finances? Download an easy budget template from the Internet to get you started on tracking your expenses, including a savings plan.
Sometimes just writing down why we are feeling anxious or fearful will help release those feelings and address them in a neutral, safe place, such as your own home or a quiet place in nature where you can take the time to address exactly why you are feeling anxious and brainstorm your own remedies.
The important thing is to not ignore your anxiety. Positive self-talk will help ease your anxiety. Look at your surroundings. Are you in a safe place? Is there a genuine cause of your anxiety? Perhaps you notice a person who looks like they may steal your wallet and is lurking around and you feel fearful. This means you can either choose to not get out of your car and leave the area, or tell a store clerk or security guard that someone is lurking around the cars or outside the store and they can assist you immediately.
If nothing is urgent or an emergency, then you need calming self-talk. Tell yourself that you are safe, you are in no immediate danger, and then focus on what you need to accomplish in that moment.
Also, putting pen to paper or jotting down notes on your phone or computer will help you see a pattern in your daily routine and where the triggers are that spark those bouts of anxiety and you can work on changing certain habits or behaviors.
Let the Past Stay in the Past
Don't dwell on past problems. Change what you can, if you need to go back and redo a project, then do so. If you need to apologize to someone, then do so and let it go and move on.
Focus on the here and now and ask yourself, what can I accomplish right now? What needs to be done versus what I should do? Maybe you should mow the lawn and you feel anxious, but you need to get your car fixed so you can drive to work.
Prioritize your life. Again, write it down on paper or in a journal, maybe have computer files for planning purposes. Prioritize your day with a whiteboard on your refrigerator and write down the tasks to complete for the day or week. You will feel good checking off those completed tasks.
Living in the here and now and actually seeing the rewards of your weekly accomplishments will give you confidence to move forward and not dwell on past worries, mistakes, or problems you cannot correct. What's in the past belongs in the past.
It's important to take care of yourself first. As they say in the airline industry, put on your own oxygen mask first, before helping others.
Get enough sleep, start a simple exercise routine such as a morning stretch, take a walk in nature, caring for others or your pets can help relieve tension and anxiety and get the focus off yourself. Do something fun each day, watch a favorite old movie, take a relaxing hot bath, plan your day as having too much or too little to do can make you anxious.
Keep a diary of your symptoms and see what activities are working to relieve your anxiety and what hinders your progress.
Get involved in a community activity that may be close to your heart. Maybe volunteer at a homeless shelter or animal shelter.
Watch what you eat and see if your anxiety increases or decreases as you adjust your diet. Perhaps cutting down on caffeine, sugar, and cigarettes will help keep your nerves calm and steady throughout the day.
Do Not Isolate Yourself
When feeling anxious, we tend to want to crawl into bed, watch sad movies and hide from the world to make us feel better, when you will only feel worse.
Never isolate yourself from people or social activities. Include your friends or a loved one in what you're feeling and share with them your anxious thoughts. Just sharing and venting to a caring friend or family member can ease anxiety.
Sometimes owning a pet can get the focus off ourselves and onto another living thing and it may give us a newfound goal or purpose in life. This may be true for those living solo lives and do not have a social circle. Getting a pet, walking a dog, taking horseback riding lessons, anything to get you out of your thoughts and focus on some physical activity is known to relieve anxiety.
Seek Help from a Professional
Do not feel embarrassed or afraid to seek help from a licensed health professional to talk about your anxiety.
Tell your therapist or doctor the medications you are taking as the side effects can sometimes cause anxiety or depression. Keeping a diary or journal of your anxiety and what triggers those feelings, will help you discuss this with your doctor. They may ask you about your dietary practices, if you smoke or drink alcohol, or if you suffer physical symptoms such as nausea or vomiting.
Sometimes speaking with a licensed health care professional will ease your worries that a physical problem is involved and they can help set up a plan for healthy eating, sleeping, and getting a bit of exercise, or adjusting your medications.
It helps to have someone to talk with that understands what you are going through and giving you real-life steps to stop anxiety from disrupting your life.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2022 Nancy M