Hi, friends. This fitness Friday (Thursday-since we are going out go town tomorrow) post is a little different than usual. Today I am not talking about physical health. I am talking about something much more important- your mental health. This post is requested almost daily. I am always being flooded with DMs about how I manage my anxiety. I am such an open person about this topic because, trust me, I have had that feeling before. That, “holy shit. I am all alone. Why am I so messed up? Why can’t I be normal? Why is mind doing this to me I just want it to stop.” My God, have I been there. And I know how absolutely terrible that feeling is. Which is why I am so open about my anxiety. I want everyone to know that you are NOT alone. You are NOT psycho for feeling this way. And most importantly, you are in control. So continue reading for anxiety insight and how to kick it to the curb.
Let me start by saying I am not a doctor. I cannot diagnose your anxiety or magically cure you. This is simply what has worked for me to not absolutely lose my shit. With that being said, I do 100% recommend seeing a doctor. It has worked for me. There is also no shame in seeking medical help i.e. prescriptions. It doesn’t have to be a permanent fix. I only took medicine for roughly 2 months before being able to manage my anxiety on my own. Your experience may be different.
Anxiety is something that I have always had. I can’t remember at what age I started feeling this way, but I do know it has been around for YEARS. Having anxiety is so much more than just ‘getting anxiety when you think about having to pack’ or ‘getting anxiety as you’re about to go on a date.’ No, those are just nerves. Anxiety is the feeling where you lose control of your breathing. Your thoughts go to the absolute darkest corner of your mind. Your heart is seconds away from beating out of your chest. Anxiety is a living hell.
Does that sound overly dramatic to you? Cool. Then you’ve probably never really experienced anxiety lol. I envy you for that. Anxiety has crippled me at many different moments of my life. From the middle of workouts, to the middle of college exams… there have been moments where my anxiety got so out of control I had to remove myself from the situation before experiencing a panic attack. It is embarrassing, honestly. But what is worse is when I do not remove myself and I instead do experience a panic attack. I can count these moments on two hands, but they are some of the worst moments of my life. Bless your soul Jake for dealing with those breakdowns in the middle of season via phone calls in the middle of the nights.
So yeah, clearly ^^ you can tell I have had my fair share of anxiety moments haha. There have been SO many moments in my life where I honestly thought I was not going to make it. Go ahead and think I am being really dramatic now, but I mean it. From losing my mom to experiencing the deepest, darkest depression of my life, I have encountered multiple moments where I just thought things would be easier if I wasn’t here to experience it. That is the God awful truth, friends. There were just moments in my life where I thought the pain, the anxiety, and the depression would just win. I simply thought life would never get better. But I once read a quote, that I still have written down in a journal of mine to this day, that says:
“Everything will be okay in the end. If it is not ok, then it is not the end”
Thank goodness for that quote. I have said this to my friends during every heart-break they’ve experienced. I repeated this while I was next to my mom during her final moments. This quote alone is the reason I am still here with a somewhat positive attitude and handling my anxiety day by day.
So trust me. Where ever you are right now in your life- even if you are at the deepest point of your life- things will get better. I am not saying things won’t get worse. Because truthfully, they probably will. But that is just life. And as my mom always said, “Sometimes, life just isn’t fair.” Unfortunately she was right. But that doesn’t mean we can’t manage the anxiety along the way.
So now let’s dive in to the how I manage my anxiety.
Note that I have underlined MY anxiety. Because it is my OWN. I’ll touch on this shortly.
I recently read this article that said, “self-care means confronting those uncomfortable things about yourself so you can work on being a better you. It’s admitting you have bad habits which you have refused to break because they’ve become an integral part of your identity. And as an act of self-care, you allow yourself to see the negative impacts they have on your self-esteem, and your life so you can finally work on breaking them.”
That right there says it all. For me, almost all of my anxiety comes from the past. Sure, I get anxious thinking about the future and what is going to happen.. but I married a baseball player… I will never know what the hell is going to happen lol. But the past.. now that is something I dwell on. Things I said or didn’t say, things I did or should have done.. I go to a dark place when I start thinking about that. It took me a few years to realize that the ROOT of my anxiety was thinking about *stupid* things from the past and hating myself for it. But ya know what…
The day I chose to forgive myself for the words that were said/never said, and the actions I did/did not do was the day I gained control of my life.
Did I wake up one morning and say, “Hey Bree, I forgive ya! Cool! Let’s move on with life now, thanks.” Lol. I wish it was that easy. Sadly it took some time. It took time to myself. It took a lot of books. It took a lot of long runs. It took a lot of meetings with therapists. A hell of a lot of breakdowns. But once I realized that I have the power to control MY thoughts, my life got a whole lot easier. Again… my anxiety was a result of my thoughts. Thoughts that only I had. Thoughts that I could control.
And yea sure, easier said than done. But just focus on that simple thought alone. YOU have the power to control your thoughts. No one else. If you want to let bad thoughts ruin your day, go right ahead. But spoiler alert- it sucks! So as soon as you realize that YOU can choose to dwell on the past/fear the future, then you are in the right position to forgive yourself, accept what you cannot change, and start living your life fully.
Something else that helped me was apologizing. I apologized to myself and to the ones that I really felt I had hurt. 9/10 times the individual thought I was insane for even dwelling on moments like those.. but ya know what, I FELT SO MUCH BETTER.
What helps me live each day while keeping my anxiety at bay is taking time for myself (I take a bubble bath every day. This is just 20 minutes of my day, to myself, for me to relax, reflect, and breathe), I read a lot of self-care books (my list is at the end), and MOST importantly- I tell myself that I AM IN CONTROL of my thoughts. You can so easily get lost in your own head. But only if you allow yourself. Remember that.
So I have now officially poured my heart out to you haha. But if sharing my own battles can make even just one person feel like “hey… I’m not so messed up after all” then it was worth it.
Here is a quick list of some of my favorite books that have helped me. They are not all selfceare/anxiety related.. but they are worth a read.