When Sunday rolls around, the weekend is almost over and the Sunday scaries slowly start to creep in. You start thinking about all the things you meant to do this weekend that you didn’t end up doing. And then you start remembering all the things you have to do this week and start wondering how you’re going to fit it all in, get it all done, and somehow maintain your sanity.
There’s that meeting you have on Tuesday with the cute guy in the office- you need to find the perfect outfit that makes you look extra slim, smart, approachable, and like a boss ass bitch. And don’t forget the birthday dinner on Thursday you’re going to and don’t know anyone other than the birthday girl- your palms sweat just thinking about how to make conversation with people you don’t know, you’re going to need a lot of wine to get through that dinner! Oh and on Friday you’re going to be at the same party as your ex for the first time- you know the one who is now engaged to that goddess you’ve been trolling on Instagram (the claims she doesn’t work out, but yeah right!). Meanwhile you’re still living alone with an apartment full of crappy ikea furniture, a trashcan full of takeout, student loan bills sitting on the counter taunting you, dust bunnies everywhere (because who has time to vacuum), a list of all the unreasonable things your boss wants you to do, and a pile of dry cleaning you don’t have time to drop off. No wonder you’re still single! It was so idiotic of you to think you’d be married, own a house, and have a kid on the way by the age of 30, because you’re not that lucky. Come on, you’ve never even had as respectable paycheck and you still don’t even know what you want to do with your life!
Now you’re on the floor in the fetal position about to have a full-blown panic attack. Suddenly, you have visions of yourself moving back in with your parents with newly adopted cats explaining to them that when you lose 10 pounds or find the right job you’ll find the man of your dreams, get the perfect job, and have the perfect life- but you look about 40 at this point in time. Your worrying, future tripping, under immense pressure, doing too many things at once, and beating up on yourself constantly. So every Sunday you have a meltdown after carrying these feelings around all week.
Anxiety is something many of us feel, more now than ever in the past. We are constantly multitasking whether we’re driving, listening to a podcast, responding to emails, paying attention to the navigation, playing a game on our phones, dialing into a conference call, texting, or eating. We rarely watch TV without another screen (phone, laptop, or ipad) in our face and we can hardly get through a meal without our phone. We are so plugged in at all times that we become stressed out and anxious from being overextended, our minds and our bodies can only handle so much. It’s unrealistic to think we’re going to get rid of our phones and move to Tahiti and live off the land. So what can we do when we feel ourselves spinning out?
There are so many different things we can do to alleviate our anxiety and then one day it might become a distant relative who only visits a few times a year and then leaves.
1. Breathe. This seems too “easy” to many of us, but it’s incredibly effective. When you get anxious, you often hold your breath and stop breathing without realizing it. Take a few deep breaths- you will feel better instantly as this helps to calm your nervous system.
2. Meditate for 1 minute. And when I say meditate this can mean anything- listen to some music with your eyes closed and focus on the words and rhythm of the music, sing a song with every ounce of your being, watch a sound bath on YouTube, repeat a mantra in your head over and over again, notice the feeling of your feet on the ground, or whatever being engaged and present looks like for you.
3. Scream into a pillow, dance like a maniac, and blow off steam in a way that works for you. Allow yourself to release.
4. Write a fuck you letter. Write a letter to the situation or person that is making you anxious. Tell it exactly how you’re feeling, no censoring and no judgment. Let is flow. When you finish writing the letter, rip it to shreds or burn it.
5. Go for a walk, do yoga, stretch, or do some form or Exercise that you enjoy. Notice your body and how freely it moves. Release those endorphins.
6. Take a bath or a shower. Water has many healing properties and taking a bath or shower is something that relaxes many of us and we often enjoy.
7. Limit your coffee intake to before noon. The more wired you feel the harder it will be for you to relax, sleep, or quiet your mind.
8. Work on your sleep hygiene. Start creating a ritual before you go to bed (hot tea, bath, stretch, read, take some CBD or ashwaganda to help your nervous system unwind, remove electronics from the bedroom, sleep with your favorite blanket, etc.). The more consistent you are with your routine the easier it will be for your body to understand it’s time to unwind so you can have a night of sound sleep. There is nothing worse than tossing and turning and counting down the hours until you have to get up. Going to bed around the same time and waking up at the same time is also beneficial.
Try out any and all of the tools above and find what works and what doesn’t work for you. Start building your own anxiety toolbox you can use when you feel anxious, frustrated, and scared. This is what self-care is- it’s not just about getting that massage, eating that superfood, or having the personal trainer. It’s also about having the tools to deal with uncomfortable feelings we’re confronted with on a daily basis in ways that work for you. It’s about getting out of that fight or flight response and back into a more even-keeled, less painful state. Because you deserve it and you deserve to live a great life!
By: Meg Coogan