The past month has been, in a word, consuming. I have had so much to do and fallen victim to so many stress and anxiety triggers that I haven’t been my best self. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’re probably aware that I struggle with clinical anxiety. I recently returned from a trip to visit my husband, and it could not have happened at a better time – I really needed his support. Now that I’m back in Wisconsin, it seems like I’m even more aware of the things that are causing me anxiety: school, finding a post-graduation job, moving across the country, keeping up with friendships, and maintaining my own sanity…to name a few!
Coping with anxiety is complex, and it can be difficult to explain to others, often leading to isolation. I often find myself retreating to my bed, both out of exhaustion and because sometimes it’s simply too difficult to share how I’m feeling with those around me. There are a few things that I’ve been doing lately to try and ease my response to triggers:
- Aveda Stress Fix composition oil // $30 at Aveda – I bought this about a month ago and have been using it almost every day. This is a light, moisturizing oil with an extremely calming aroma, derived from lavendar, lavandin, and clary sage. My favorite way to use this oil is by dabbing it on my wrists and neck, closing my eyes, and taking deep breaths. It helps me refocus and balance my breathing, which has been especially helpful while using it at school. This oil is also great for scalp massages and for applying during/after a bath! I know a lot of people think aromatherapy is a crock, but I have definitely experienced a reduction in my anxiety while using this product.
- Temple massages – These are free! 😉 I get frequent headaches as a result of my anxiety, and I find temple massages to be very therapeutic when I’m trying to cope with them. I like to start at the hairline of my temples and massage around my forehead, eye sockets, and then up to the scalp. Sometimes I even use the Stress Fix oil while I do it! This is a simple way to distract yourself, and you can do it anywhere: close your eyes, take deep breaths, and focus on the movement of your fingers.
- Reading books! This is another great way to distract a wandering mind. I like being able to focus on the words of the book and getting lost in the storyline. Here’s what’s on my reading list/what I’ve recently read:
- The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
- #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
- American Wife by Taya Kyle
- Mercy by Jodi Picoult
- Candles and wax melts – I’m a very scent-oriented person, and for some reason I am soothed by burning candles and wax warmers! Lately my favorites have been the Bath and Body Works 3-wick candle in Leaves // $22.50 at B&BW and the Yankee Candle wax tart in Balsam & Cedar // $1.99 at Yankee Candle. Wax warmers are great if you like to swap out scents frequently and/or don’t like the idea of having an open flame in your house! I have this one from Kohl’s and love it. I have also previously used warmers from Walmart and Scentsy and had liked them as well. I tend to buy most of my wax melts from Yankee Candle and Walmart.
- Yogi Kava Stress Relief Tea // $4-ish at Target. I am an avid tea drinker, and picked this up at Target on a whim one day and never looked back. I’ve even gotten friends and coworkers to try it! The taste is slightly reminiscent of the Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat tea (at least to me), but I can’t think of any descriptive words to explain the flavor…I guess you’ll just have to try it! It’s relatively inexpensive, so if you’re on a budget, I would encourage you to try this. I like to drink the tea before bed while I unwind, but I’ve also been known to stash a box of it at my cubicle for daytime drinking as well.
- Music! I’ve listened to this playlist probably hundreds of times:
- The app WordBrain // free on the iTunes app store – this is a word puzzle game. I have a fear of flying, so this was a great distraction while on the plane to North Carolina! I feel like I’m getting a brain workout when I “play” it, and it’s a great way to channel your mind activity into something other than all of your anxious thoughts.
- Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book by Johanna Basford // $16 at Urban Outfitters – Adult coloring books are awesome! I’ve been channeling my inner four-year-old and coloring to relieve stress for the last couple of years, but my motor skills are sometimes a little too sharp for coloring in minions and Barbies, so I was psyched when I found out about these adult versions. Coloring is fun, relaxing, and nostalgic, and can be done with a trusty old box of Crayola colored pencils. These books are also at Barnes & Noble and Target, if you don’t have a UO nearby!
If I’m being honest, I’ve also been channeling my stress into food lately…and as a result of that, I’m going to try and channel it into exercise instead! (lol) How do you cope with your stress and anxiety? Let me know in the comments!