Recently I’ve had an even harder time relaxing than normal. I have always dealt with anxiety, but it’s been on overdrive lately as I await some big changes and as work has become more and more busy. On some days I wake up and immediately zoom about the apartment cleaning up, taking care of the dogs and plants, and keeping up with my blog before work. Sometimes I barely have time to make myself food, so I rush over to Starbucks for an overpriced breakfast. Then work begins and my to-do list becomes a treadmill. I keep sprinting and sprinting but I never quite get to the end. I need to relax.
You can probably relate to this. You probably have a never-ending daily to-do list as well. I don’t like to complain because I know I am fortunate in many ways. But when my heart is racing constantly for most of the day, I know I need to do something about it. It’s become more important to me recently to make the time to relax. So how do I deal with my anxiety on a daily basis? I’ve been finding little ways to calm myself when I’m stressed. Some of these actions work better than others depending on the day. Also, this more geared toward people who work from home like I do, but you can still incorporate most of these if you work in an office setting (or when you get home from work).
- Turn off anything that makes a sound. Turn off or ignore phone notifications. Sit there and work on my breathing. I will count my inhales and exhales and try to make my exhales a little longer each time. This doesn’t take a lot of time; just a few minutes will make me feel immensely better.
- Lie down on my yoga mat or bed and listen to my meditation playlist. I close my eyes and try not to think about anything. My meditation playlist has mostly ocean and rain sounds, which I find relaxing and remind me of being in Hawaii and Costa Rica. You can make your own meditation playlist of whatever soothes you. Put whatever you like on it — I’m not the meditation police!
- Yoga practice. If I can’t make it to class at the studio, I practice on my own on my breaks. You can find many classes online. (See my guide for at-home yoga.) This doesn’t have to be anything intense, even light stretching and anything that opens your heart (physical movements that open up the chest) will help.
- Make your workspace as calming as possible, whether it’s clearing unnecessary clutter, lighting a candle in your favorite scent (if you’re not in a shared office), adding a photo of your favorite place on Earth or getting a small plant.
- Go for a walk or a run (or an Orangetheory class). It helps to get outdoors and fresh some fresh air. If I am super stressed I try to go to a class to get rid of that nervous energy.
- Remember that you can only do one thing at a time. Set asides blocks of time and focus on the most urgent things on your to-do list. Ask for help when you need it.
- Call someone. I recently had an upsetting workday and felt defeated. I decided to call my co-worker to talk about what happened and how I felt. While telling her what was on my mind didn’t change the situation, verbalizing how I felt made me FEEL a thousand times better. I had a clear head to return to work and get through the rest of my day. Call anyone who will listen, and be sure to ask about their day as well.
- End your day with a relaxing soak. I use Epsom salt several times a week. I listen to music or watch videos I enjoy. I then practice self-care with simple things like a face mask or painting my nails a new color.
- Make time for whatever makes you happy. Lately I’ve been reading self-development (aka self-help) books like “You Are a Badass” and “Year of Yes.” These have reminded me to really pursue what I love and take steps to make my life what I what it to be. So whatever really moves you, try to incorporate it in your day in whatever way you can: reading about it, writing, knitting, dancing, whatever.