I’m not going to lie, these past couple of weeks has been tough for us, and a lot of people I know. Our family has been affected by the government shutdown and it has really impacted my mental well being. It’s amazing how quickly losing your security and not knowing when it will end can impact EVERYTHING. All we have built is at stake, and I have spiraled a bit, if I’m honest.
BUT! The silver lining of it all is that it has given me reason to really employ all the strategies I have learned to feel better despite all the bad that is happening. I thought, let me write this down and share these strategies with you, because there is no one alive that is immune to a bad day/bad week/bad year.
Below are the exact strategies I use to combat feelings of hoplessness and anxiety:
1) One thing I know that is so important is to watch your thoughts and your words (something I wasn’t great at this week, honestly.) Have you ever noticed that the more you think about or talk about bad stuff, the more your draw those thoughts to you OR people who want to complain to you? I saw that a lot this week. I hyperfocused on the bad news and found I couldn’t get away from it! I was a magnet for it. I had to purposefuly say to myself, “I will no longer talk about this subject anymore (government shutdown, no pay, panic), no matter the pull to do so.” Which wasn’t easy. Once the arrow is shot out of the bow it is almost impossible to slow it down. It took a couple of days, but I just slowly tried to take myself out of the conversation, and I worked on positive affirmations. Below are some postive words you can say to yourself. Tyically the second I start thinking panic-y thoughts I say “NO!” really sharply in my head and then replace it with and affimation. It sounds crazy, I know, but I do this in multiple areas of my life and it works.
2) This next strategy is my favorite. I go to my daily exercise class and sweat it out. What we are trying to do here is to stop all negative thought and emotion (worry, anxiety), and a good, hard workout is perfect for that. I go to CrossFit and the workouts are notoriously hard. When I am there I am honestly just trying not to die (LOL), and there is no thought going through my head other than counting reps and finishing the workout. I also like to go for a run, that helps clear my mind as well, especially if the music is loud;)
3) Keep up your morning journal and meditation routine. I get up one hour before my kids every day and write my goals in my journal, listen to inspiring podcasts, and medidate. There is great value in pouring out your feelings in a journal and just purging all the worry out. I also like to meditate to a guided mediation when I am feeling anxious, because all I have to do is follow instructions rather than try to focus on my own. This one is a favorite, as is this one.
4) I take the time to do something nice for myself. Maybe I reread a favorite book, or I grab a pretty new coffee cup at Target, and sometimes all I need to feel better is a nap. Never discount these simple pleasures that can do a lot for your mindset. Treat yourself kindly! I have a picture of myself at six years old on my fridge and I often ask, “What would I do for this little girl if she was feeling down?” You are important!
5) The last thing I do when things are going crazy around me is ask, “What is this teaching me?” There is always something good in a bad situation. Maybe you notice more of the helpers out there, or you can see all the things you are grateful for that still remain.
Okay, whew, that was long! I hope this helps for anyone feeling anxiety and depression right now. You are in my thoughts and please feel free to comment and let me know if there is anything I can do for you if you are having a tough time.
P.S. If you need a list of my favorite inspirational books and podcasts, you can grab my FREE resource of the exact books + podcasts I read/listen to below.