We all experience anxiety from time to time. Some people worry about family or relationships, others about work, finances or health. Some even worry that they worry too much!
In a way, we should be glad - our body responds to feelings of anxiety or stress by being more alert, which is designed to help keep us safe from danger. We just don’t want to stay in the flight or fight response mode all the time and overtax our system. Sometimes we just need to kick up our Nuknuuk-covered feet and do nothing but relax. If you have a problem letting go of your worries, however, we have compiled a list of coping mechanisms for you to try.*
Giving yourself a quick timeout to reset your mind can help manage symptoms of anxiety and alleviate them. For example, if you are feeling anxious, you might be experiencing shortness of breath, nausea, cold sweat, heart palpitations, shaking or trembling muscles and difficulties with vision and attention. You can sometimes counteract these symptoms by slowly counting to 10 and taking a few deep breaths.
Breathing mindfully helps us feel calmer, and it’s something you can do anywhere and at all times. There are even some amazing apps that can help with breathing and meditation exercises: Headspace is a great one, Calm and Insight Timer are other great choices.
How to take it to the next level: If you are at home, pick a chair or sofa as your relaxation spot. Don your Nuknuuk slippers, prepare a cup of tea and start breathing deeply. Many people swear by progressive muscle relaxation as well, so look it up and start relaxing!
2. Engage in Fun Activities
The idea behind this tip is simple: If you do things that you like, you will be distracted from the things that cause you anxiety. That’s because doing fun things makes us happy and naturally fosters a more positive attitude. Start by thinking about all the things you like to do that you think are fun. Then try to figure out how to incorporate them into your daily life. If you think fishing is fun, for example, you might not be able to do it every day, but you could set aside a few minutes each day to plan your next fishing trip, organize your tackle box, read up on new tricks, etc.
How to take it to the next level: Devote at least one hour each day to something that is fun for you. It could be a different thing each day. Yoga on Monday, movie on Tuesday, baking on Wednesday… Tell your loved ones, add it to your calendar, if needed, and give yourself a pat on the back for putting yourself first for once. Try playing a board game or card game in your favourite comfy clothes and your sheepskin lined Nuknuuk slippers. Now who couldn’t relax like that!
3. Write It Down
Keeping a journal and regularly writing down feelings and emotions will help you identify anxiety triggers as well as your most pressing worries. It can also help to put things into perspective. When you identify one of the reasons for anxiety, ask yourself if it is something you can control and then see if there is a possible solution. For example, if you worry about the weather for next weekend’s birthday party, figure out what to do in case of rain and then let go of your stress. Flexing your problem solving muscles will also help make you feel calmer.
How to take it to the next level: In order to make journaling a habit, it helps to set aside a few minutes of each day for this task. Some days you will have lots of things to write about and some days you might just want to draw something that explains your feelings. You could also take out one of the many books on anxiety and start working through them - they are chock full of good advice and exercises that can help reduce anxiety.
4. Adopt A Healthy Lifestyle
Living a life that includes regular exercise, 7-9 hours of sleep at night, a well-balanced diet and limited amounts of alcohol and caffeine is ideal to help manage symptoms of anxiety. That seems like a perfect reason to adopt healthier habits! Exercising floods your system with happiness hormones (if not during, then definitely after the session!) and you don’t need to overdo it in order to experience the benefits: Being active for 30 minutes a day, at least 3 days a week will do the trick. After each successful session, reward yourself with a few moments in your Nuknuuks and a fresh smoothie or a big glass of water. Your body will thank you!
How to take it to the next level: Find an exercise buddy who will help you stay on track and start slowly, but with a goal in mind. For example, if you consider yourself a beginner when it comes to exercising, start slowly and find the right type of exercise for you. Try walking, cycling, jogging, hiking, swimming, etc. You don’t have to pick just one, of course, but try to find something that you can do regularly. Think about signing up for an event like a race - it will add extra motivation to keep up the healthy habits! Find tips on improving your sleep here.
5. Get Help If You Need It
Sometimes, the best way of dealing with stress is by talking about it. There is absolutely no shame in getting some help, and who you should talk to depends on who you feel comfortable with. There are many resources and professionals that can help you figure it out and we always recommend a good chat with someone as a great way to identify and manage anxiety triggers. You could start by browsing the ADAA website! This can even be done in your Nuknuuk slippers.
How to take it to the next level: Become your own best advocate. Educate yourself about anxiety and coping mechanisms and try different things until you find your winning combination. Do your best and accept yourself as you are. Others do, too!
*Please note: The information contained herein is not meant to diagnose, mitigate, treat or cure a disease or condition. You may need to consult a healthcare professional.