How to Deal with Anxiety

Last Updated on August 15, 2020 by Ellen Christian

My life has changed a lot in the past six months or so. The kids are growing up and spending less time here. They’re more independent and don’t always make decisions I’d make. They make mistakes and then have to deal with the results. I can’t fix problems with a lollipop like I did when they were little. I know that’s a normal part of growing up, but it’s not easy for me right now.

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How to deal with anxiety

How to Deal with Anxiety

I’m one of those people that doesn’t deal that well with change. I’m not spontaneous. I plan what I’m going to do out days in advance, and I feel most calm and comfortable when I can check all the tasks off my planner at the end of each day. I’m good with that.

I know some people love spontaneity. They have no problem dropping everything and heading out on an unexpected outing. That’s OK. It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round. It just isn’t me. I know. I’ve tried.

When I start losing control of what’s going on around me, my anxiety level goes up. Repeated changes to my routine have the same effect. Combine change with loss of control and it’s too much for me to manage. I’ve been trying to figure out how to deal with anxiety before it gets to the point that I end up in tears.

  • Bible Reading – I am a Christian, so one of the first places I turn is to my Bible. I’ve found it easiest to follow a short Bible study using an app on my phone. That way, I can read it when I have a few free minutes while walking, waiting in line or before bed. There are a lot of different ones to choose from, but I’m using one called Bible Resources that works on my iPhone. It has readings, videos, Bible studies, and an audio option.
  • Meditation – For me, meditation is a way to clear my thoughts. I’ve tried open meditation where you just have silence and focus on counting to ten or thinking about nothing. I’m not good at that since I can’t seem to quiet my thoughts easily. I found a meditation that is guided called the Pebble Mediation that’s working for me. You start with four pebbles and focus on different types of calming for each one. I found it on an app called Zen Friend. There are a lot of different kinds of meditation there. I choose the ones that I feel appropriate for my lifestyle.
  • Exercise – I’m big on healthy living. You can probably tell that if you’ve been following me for a while. Exercise is a great way to deal with stress and anxiety. Exercise releases a boost of endorphins which makes you feel good. Because I like tracking my progress, I use a variety of different apps to keep track of how I’m doing and to remind me to exercise. Just a few I use are Argus, Runkeeper, Mira, My Fitness Pal and Walkr.
  • Creativity – A lot of people journal their thoughts when they’re stressed. I’m not very good at that, but I do use creativity in other ways. I’ve tried the adult coloring books, but I’m too worried about making it look perfect to relax with it. What I enjoy is decorating my planner. I use (referral —>) an Erin Condren Life Planner and there are several Facebook groups that are all about decorating your planner each week. You can use Washi tape, stickers, rubber stamps and colored pens to get creative. It’s a great option for me because it’s a small project with no rules which means I can’t do it wrong.
  • Essential Oils – I turn to natural solutions before I turn to medication. I have great luck with lavender and peppermint essential oils to relax and release stress. Sometimes I use them in bath salts or body products. Other times I just put a bit of the essential oil on a cotton ball on my desk and let it work that way.
  • Routine and Order – When my house is chaotic, my mind is chaotic. There are constant visual reminders of things I need to do – papers to file, laundry to do, dishes to wash, things to put away. Add that to the other things in my head and it’s a trigger. The KonMari Method (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) is a method I’ve been using to declutter my home. I’m almost entirely done. The things I have left are things that make me happy and happy makes me feel calm.  While I have a housekeeper that comes in every two weeks to deal with the heavy cleaning, the day to day cleaning is still something I need to do. To do that, I follow the FlyLady Method, which is a series of cleaning routines to follow each day. I get regular emails to remind me of what needs to be done, and I add FlyLady stickers to my planner as visual cues. Order gives me control, and that helps.

I end up using most of these methods on a regular basis. While I do still worry, I’m worrying less most of the time. I’m sure it will get easier eventually as I get used to the kids growing up more and being here less. In the mean time, I need this to function, and it does help.

If you find yourself with some of the same issues, I’d love to hear how you cope.

How to deal with anxiety. Tips for coping when it's too much.

22 thoughts on “How to Deal with Anxiety”

  1. I am working to find other ways to deal with my anxiety than comfort food.  I will have to give these a try and see what works for me.  Thanks!
  2. As a person who has dealt with severe anxiety for a very long time, I know that these tips are great! As a Certified Counselor, I would encourage you to challenge your perfectionist tendencies. We've all heard that no one is perfect but do we truly embody that principle? I can see that you've started to do that by accepting your limitations with meditation and creativity. I would encourage you to do things that aren't going to turn out perfect and being okay with that. I know it's hard but, when we learn that there are so many areas of our lives that we do master and are very good at, the things we aren't perfect at become less important. In other words, it becomes okay because the opposite is that we're quite capable of many, many things. I love the mindfulness suggestion too. When I'm fully within and experiencing each moment with my emotions and senses, the anxiety doesn't have room to grow. Thank-you for such an honest post. :)
  3. We've a lot in comman! Flylady changed my life several years ago....I could never go back to the clutter! I also love pretty planning, but I use the Mormon Mom Planner....similar to EC in size and style. I use Thicht Naht Han's meditation method....awareness of breathing in, awareness of breathing out, smiling on the out breath.  I have made some sleep bags filled with lavender, hops and mugwort, and just tuck one into my pillow to help me sleep better. Violet oil is my daytime go-to. I listen to inspiring podcasts before bedtime instead of TV or bright lights, and that helps.  But I am still struggling with the major anxiety moments. I used to head to the ocean for a walk when anxiety got bad, but for now I am in super hot and dry Central Texas for most of the year, so I'm struggling to find a workable substitute for the time being. 
  4. I hear ya I have anxiety issues as well and it happens to me sometimes in the car and I always have to have water with me sounds weird, but that is the only thing that seems to calm me down and my mom of course having family is the main priority. I am not sure if it's the same as panic attacks, but I first got them in 2002 when my grand mom died which was crazy because it's the worst FEELING EVER! I hate it! My mom-mom always tells me it's my head, maybe it is maybe it's not I don't know but I do take medication and I wish I didn't have to take that for the rest of my life.
  5. Have you read about mindfulness? It is about shifting your thoughts to being in the moment. Like, mindful walking - instead of just looking forward, take in your surroundings. You can do this when doing anything - just being in the present and making yourself aware of it. Breathing exercises are also good - basically belly breathing as you do in Yoga.
  6. Change does not make me particularly anxious - but I do have triggers that lead to emotional flashbacks and all the research I have done and the research of a vicar friend working at a hospice supports all that you are suggesting. I certainly find they work.
  7. These are great tips. I also find that i have to spend time away from the computer before bed and avoid caffeine to help ease my anxiety a bit.
  8. I feel like I only deal with stress once in a while but when I do it's a doozy. (Probably just me.) Sometimes to take the edge off I just go for a ride and turn the music up.
  9. I have actually started reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It has actually helped with my anxiety issues that I have had in the last year. My house is more organized and clean. Everything that is not necessary has been donated or sold. Turns out that clutter had been increasing my anxiety by a lot!
  10. Great post! I love that Tidying Up book. I find that if the room around me is anxious, so is my mind. Keeping everything organized helps put my mind at ease tremendously.

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