Not that I’ve not been anxious before. Not that I’ve not had anxiety. But recently was a perfect storm of heartburn that didn’t resolve quickly and a surge of massive anxiety. Both were fueling the other for a few days while I was working on figuring out how to exist and manage.
I’ve gotten little good sleep because of heartburn off and on and it was worse at night, of course. Which led to night time scaries where my anxiety would spike as soon as it was getting dark or close to bedtime. Who knew that sleep could be a trigger for anxiety. Sleep is supposed to help with everything, right??
When your body doesn’t feel right and things feel so far outside of your control it make sense to be anxious but waking up with an anxiety attack in the middle of the night that was not expected. The anxiety actively flaring my heartburn was an unhappy realization.
So, what can we do to manage anxiety? Well I’m learning. Obviously everyone’s mileage will vary, it is trial and error to figure out what does and does not work. But some things will hopefully prove to be more universal.
Exercise is a big one, one that when built up over time will really help. Sometimes it really does feel like a scam though. Especially when if you miss a day or two a week it isn’t the end of the world. Or, if you’ve been doing fine you start to skimp on the exercise. It’ll be fine, right? Maybe not.
So I’m getting my anxious butt out that door for an at least 45 min walk every day for a while. And that is hard for me. I hate the weather, it is gross. Overcast and often rainy most days. It makes me sad. The sensations of the experience are not my favorite: wet rain, cold wind, running nose. I’m trying to see the beauty in it, though, because I’ve gotta be there for at least 45 mins of my day. And I’ve notice improvements in just 4 days.
White noise is another option that I’d not realized would be so clutch. I found a white noise, yes a specific one so you might have to try a few, that makes my brain relax. Listening to it when I’m ok helps me focus. Listening to it when I’m anxious helps me focus on the noise rather than the anxiety or the anxious thoughts. I highly recommend giving it a try. I find it most useful using earbuds.
Affirmations. Things I never thought would work. It feels so silly to tell myself that I am ok, that I am safe, or whatever I need to hear in that moment. And, they work. Not necessarily right away but repeating affirming mantras really does do the trick sometimes. I’m finding it most useful while also placing a hand over my heart.
Nervous system regulation, this is something I’ve dabbled in and am actively looking into. My therapist recommended some Vagus Nerve exercises that I’ve not had enough time to onboard yet. I do think that things like box breathing and such might fall into this category and I often try to do box breathing when I’m anxious. If I’m especially anxious combining it with movement seems to help more.
So many other things are also out there to help. Drugs are a very valid option for many. I absolutely do not want to say that anyone is managing their anxiety wrong. We all have very individual needs and situations. Making the decision for you is best based on you and your life. And, of course, with the help of a medical professional! Of which I am most decidedly not. In case there were any questions or concerns.
My plan for anxiety busting is: exercise, those 45 min walks daily; the affirmations and white noise when I’ve already gotten my walk in for the day (not that more walks is a bad idea but sometimes they do not fit the schedule); and, for now, when I wake up in the middle of the night anxious I have an as needed medication that helps the anxiety and makes me drowsy. And all the stuff I’m using to combat the heartburn. That is also a b*tch.
In most things we all will be ok. I’m working on believing it through all of the stress and anxiety and heartburn lately.
Keep it up and always be your lovely weird selves. We’ll get through this, too.
with much (also, currently anxious) love
PS. Since I’ve been working overtime to manage the anxiety the sticker listings are still a bit in flux. I do plan to get started at the very least and hope that the task, once broken into smaller, bite-sized chunks will prove more manageable by the end of the weekend! No promises, simply hopeful vibes!
Here is a pic of a cool mushroom in the meantime: