It happens to the best of us. Anxiety is a thing that is kind of always with you. If you suffer from anxiety, whether just occasionally or on the regular, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
You have mountains to do. You have a to-do list the length of the walk from the ice cream aisle back to the fresh produce. You have 11 missed calls and you haven’t even rung your mother in weeks. You are one busy Witch. And then the anxiety hits.
Three colourful hourglasses.
Your heart is going, your mind is racing, you start to sweat. And all you can think is, “I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS SH*T!”.
I don’t have the cure for anxiety. I should point that out right now. But what I do have is my very own little toolkit for times like these. It may work for you, and it may not. But give it a go.
A painted STOP sign.
When the anxieties hit, you need to stop for a second. Stop, realise what’s happening, and take a massive, deep breath. Gather yourself. Take a few more deep breaths.
2. IDENTIFY THE BAD THOUGHTS
You’ll know yourself – there are thoughts that only come to haunt you when you’re in the throes of an anxiety attack, or even a ‘moment’. You’ve been here before. So I want you to identify those thoughts, brand them mentally as Anxiety Thoughts, and then acknowledge the fact that you don’t have time or the need for them right now.
3. NEW THOUGHTS
Now that you’ve identified those f*ckers, it’s time to replace them with Good Thoughts, or at least, Less Bad Thoughts.
An illustration of a person thinking.
Bad Thought: “You are never going to get all of this done. You took on too much, you idiot. Now look what you’ve done.”
Good Thought: “You do have a lot to do, that’s true. But you’ve taken on as much as you can handle, and you can only do what you can do right now. 3am is not a helpful time to be thinking about this. The best thing you can do is rest, and tackle it in the morning.”
An illustration of a person with dark hair meditating.
Yes, witches, it’s me again, spouting the gospel of meditation. That’s because meditating is the single best thing I have found to snap myself out of a full-blown, nightmare motherf*cking anxiety attack. Once you’ve taken those breaths and addressed those thoughts, it’s time to stick on the app and choose a nice, LONG guided meditation. Yoga Nidra. Affirmations. Anxiety specialist meditation. Whatever it takes to bring you back to Planet Okay. If you’re as tired as I think you probably are from all this anxiety, with any luck you’ll just fall asleep before the meditation is over. Some of them are designed for that, by the way, so don’t add that to your worry guilt list.
5. AVOID COFFEE
A person holds a hot beverage.
Not forever. I’m not a monster. Just don’t have any right now, while you’re having an anxiety attack, okay? Have like a nice cup of calming herbal tea or some water or something. Caffeine increases your heart rate and stuff. It’s just no good for anxiety attacks, okay?
6. DO SOMETHING NICE
I realise it seems counterintuitive, especially if your anxiety attack has been brought on by having a lot of sh*t to do. NEVERTHELESS.
A small puppy sleeps in a person’s arms.
Acknowledge that you’re not performing at your best right now. Give yourself an hour. Watch an episode of Gossip Girl or Below Deck or whatever it is that brings you joy. I enjoy watching Naked and Afraid because you know what? No matter how stressed I am, at least I’m not being eaten alive by ants and threatened by lions who want me for their dinner. See? Relative. Also: find an animal to make friends with. If you have one, lucky you. Force them to be loving and affectionate with you.
7. TAKE YOUR MEDS
Don’t be a hero. If you’ve been prescribed meds, take them. I do. It doesn’t make you less of a Boss Witch or a Zen Bitch. Just. Take. Them. Take them regularly. Take them with water. Take them with meals. Set an alarm on your phone. Get them checked with the doctor if they’re not doing what they’re meant to be doing.
A person watches the sunset in a wooded area.
Not as in moving house. I just mean, move your body. Take a walk or something. Go to the countryside. Borrow a dog. Do some yoga. Watch Yoga with Adriene, she’s super nice and she won’t make you anxious.
9. GET YOUR ESSENTIAL OILS ON
Make your space nice, do a little tidy if you’re up to it. Then whack on the essential oils. Lavender, chamomile, Ylang Ylang, etc. Choose relaxing scents. Put them in a diffuser or in a bath or in your hand or in a burner, and then close your eyes and BREATHE.
A wooden aromatherapy diffuser.
I feel like there should be a 10th point just for tidiness, but those 9 are my important ones. I break the rules, what can I say?
How do you deal with anxiety? Contact me and let me know.
Namaste (hope you’re okay)
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