If you’ve read any of my previous posts then you know stress and anxiety is no stranger to me. I’m very familiar with the feeling of worry and anxiousness, and it has hit an all-time high in the last two years. There are a few things that I have noticed that seem to help me cope. This list is especially for people who spend a lot of time alone. I know that sometimes it’s a little easier to have distractions if you’re living in a house full of people. Either way, I hope this list is helpful to anyone who might be looking for ways to deal in moments of mental chaos.
Here are 10 things that I do when I’m usually feeling my best:
- NATURE WALKS
This one is one of my favorites, and probably the one I find to be the most helpful. Starting your mornings with a walk at your local park or walking trails can work wonders for your mood (especially if you have a walking partner). It’s like feeding two birds with one scone. You’re during something for you mental and physical health. Walking is so beneficial and it’s something most people should do anyway for their physical health alone, and what’s better than walking while taking in the beauty of nature. I personally love walking along a trail that’s near the river. The sound of the streams just brings you to a peaceful state. So, the next time you feel like you’re at the edge of your rope, find a walking trail, park, or mountain to hike. If you’re lucky and live near a beach, then take a stroll along the shore. (If you live in extremely cold weather then this might not be an easy one for you to incorporate in your daily life. But don’t worry, there’s more options)
- AROMATIC THERAPY
Certain smells can actually be quite helpful when setting the mood for relaxation. Have you ever walked in a room that smelled so good it made you smile or instantly relax? Well hopefully I’m not alone. Whenever I walk into a coffee shop or store, I’m in a good mood. I love the smell of fresh coffee brewing. I can’t capture that smell at home (unless I fill my kitchen with coffee beans and keep my coffee and espresso machine running all day), but there are other smells that I really enjoy. Fall candles (like apple, cinnamon, pears, nutmeg, and pumpkin) and natural scents like Eucalyptus, Sage, Mint and cedar are some of my absolute favorites. Here are some of my favorite candles:
I’ve also gotten into incense. I haven’t been into incense since I was around 13/14. I purchased a pack off Amazon, and it really seems to help. Especially the Stress Relief, Meditation and Refreshing. This is the incense pack that I recommend:
- CLEANING, ORGANIZING & DECLUTTERING
I spoke on this before, and I will say it again and again. There’s nothing like walking into a clean room that’s not overwhelming. I am a collector of stuff and I find it hard to part ways with a lot of things, and that’s something that I’ve been trying to work on in the past few years. When I really get overwhelmed, I just start throwing things out and it feels AMAZING! If it’s something I can give away to someone that needs it, then even better! We have so many things we don’t use or have touched in years. When I cleaned out my cabinets last year, I found expired sauces and spices from years ago shoved to the back. Sometimes it’s time to just let go of the junk and get it out of here. I don’t want my surrounding to look like how my mind feels, cluttered and chaotic. I love the outcome of this option, but to be honest even the process is therapeutic. Cleaning and organizing is a great distraction. I love to throw on some music and just zone out with the cleaning. The feeling of constantly moving and focusing on a certain mission is just great when you want to get out of your thoughts. You also feel proud of yourself afterwards. I don’t think anyone every regretted cleaning and removing waste.
- SUPPLEMENTS & AIDES
This one can be a little questioned, but it’s an alternative to being medicated. Sometimes we need a little extra help. First, let’s get the controversial option out of the way. CBD oils and gummies have definitely grown in popularity the past few years. I am a fan of CBD. I have tried numerous cbd gummies and oils. Although, there’s no THC in CBD this option might not be best for people with jobs that do random testing because it is possible that a small trace could possibly slip in. Although it’s rare, it is not impossible. A great alternative to cbd is Hemp gummies. In my opinion they work just as good (and sometimes even better depending on the brand), and they are easier to find (especially online). Amazon has tons of options. Moving on to other aides, one of my favorites is CALM drink mix powder by Natural Vitality. I love their nighttime drink mix powder. If you tend to feel the most anxious at night, then that would be a great option. I’ve also tried Ashwagandha gummies by Goli, and a supplement called Relaxia Ultimate Calm by Natrol and that also has Ashwagandha in it. An old favorite supplement were these Homeopathic Anxiety Relief tablets by NaturalCare, but they didn’t work as much with continued used. I’ve tried so many supplements, emotional ally oils and even an essential oil relax vape to help with my anxiety. There’s too many to list, but out of everything my favorites are: Happy Lane CBD Gummies, Keylor Nutrition Hemp Gummies, and Natural Vitality CALM drink mix powder (preferably nighttime). Those are my top 3 supplements that seem to help the most. I also want to give an honorable mention to these two teas: Honey Lavender Stress Relief tea by Yogi and Stress Free Rose & Mint tea by Bigelow Benefits. I want to also add that the teas were nice for daily use, but as for the other supplements I try to use them sparingly (only when I need them the most).
- FUN DISTRACTIONS THAT KEEP YOUR ATTENTION
A fun distraction is anything that keeps your focus long enough without you drifting into your thoughts. The best distraction that comes to mind is Video Games. Yes! Video Games. I don’t care if you’re 98 years old, there’s a video game for everyone. I am not a big gamer. I was never that great to be honest at mastering levels, but I eventually found games that worked for me. What I love about games is that it’s something you have to constantly pay attention to and there’s no time to think about anything else. I remember that first week of being so consumed with grief I just wanted a moment to escape from my pain. I found my old game that I got as a gift and never played. I unwrapped it and put it in my PS4 and I zoned out for hours. I was all into that game for the next few days, because it was one of the few things that could catch my attention. This option might not be the best option since I know that most people look at it as wasting time, but I feel like if you’re in a lot of emotional pain and gaming is actually helping you cope then by all means GAME ON!
What can I say about reading? Oh, how I love thee …. Let me count the ways! Sometimes it feels like books don’t get enough credit in this world of streaming sites and video apps, but to me reading fiction will never go out of style. Sometimes when reality gets too hard to deal with, I like to read because it’s almost like living another life for a moment. When you’re reading through the eyes of the protagonist it feels like you’re experiencing their life. You’re basically in their head instead of your own, and sometimes we just need a break from ourselves.
- CHECK IN WITH LOVED ONES
Make sure you set aside one morning, afternoon or evening out of the week (or every other week) to spend time with friends, siblings, cousins, or any loved one that you might not get to see as often as you would like. Sometimes we all get so busy with life we never have time to hang out and just laugh with one another. So have a girl’s night or guy’s night every once in a while. Make time and make memories! 😊
- ARTISTIC EXPRESSION
This is another one that I mention a lot, because it’s just so necessary. I love to appeal to my creative side and just see what I can come up with. Some examples of this would Painting, Drawing, Creative Writing / Poetry, Music (singing, songwriting, instrumentals), Dancing & etc. I would also include baking/cooking and mixology as an art. Baking from scratch definitely got me through last year, but after all the added pounds I tried to leave that outlet in 2020 for the most part. Last year I made so many cakes, muffins, and failed attempts at cookies (It was so fun though). I felt like a scientist and every time something came out right it felt like a successful experiment. I could see why Laura Jean (from the movie/book To All the Boys I’ve Loved) baked so much when she was stressed. It really is therapeutic. Writing and drawing are also great outlets for me, and if I could play an instrument, I would do that as well. Hopefully one day! 🤞
- SELF IMPROVEMENT
You know what they say, if you look good you feel good. Indulge in some self-care. Have a weekly at home spa day. Give yourself a facial, manicure or a pedicure or treat yourself to one if you have the extra funds. Develop a good skincare routine. Make time for the gym, exercise at home or go out for a jog/walk. Try to eat healthier if you love junk food like me. Limit your sugar intake. Take your vitamins and put some extra time into the health of your hair (like deep conditioning every week and keeping split ends at bay). Sometimes we can get so caught up in our stress we tend to overindulge in the wrong things and neglect our day-to-day routine. All of a sudden, we wake up one day and don’t know who’s looking back at us in the mirror (and that’s just another stressor that can be added to the pile).
Podcasts has been a go-to of mine the past 2 to 3 years. I love taking out my Bluetooth speaker and just let it play while I’m cleaning, getting ready, doing my weekly face mask, or just filling in the gaps of silence. I used to like moments of silence, but since this year, moments of silence have been really rough for me. My mission this year consisted of me trying to successfully distract myself at every still moment, and podcast are great fillers. Last year I just kept my Bluetooth headphones during my quiet moments and let episodes of The Office play on a loop, and this year it’s been all about the podcasts.
This concludes my list of what I found to be the most helpful outside of therapy/counseling or medication. I wanted to focus on everyday activities and things that you could do at home or around town with little to no costs. Sometimes people don’t know or understand the battle that we have to face every day. It can really have a stronghold over us, but we are fighters, and we can get through it. We just have to find what works and deal the best way that we can. I also want to add that some people link depression with anxiety/stress, and that’s a whole other battle in itself. Full blown depression can sometimes even be paralyzing and any option on this list might seem like too much. It takes a lot to pull yourself out of that, so I want to write a separate post for people who might be suffering from depression.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found something helpful out of this post. If you’ve tried and tried and nothing seems to help, make sure you reach out to your doctor to go over some options. Sometimes you have to know when it’s time to ask for help. Mental Health is so important. Please take it seriously. I wish you all nothing but love and light. Take Care. xoxo