I have lived with anxiety and panic attacks since I was 13 years old, and it only took me 20 years to figure out a way to manage them in a healthy way!
SELF-CARE is the biggest and most important thing in my battle against anxiety, and I can’t wait to share my routine with you. Keep in mind that I am a full-time work at home mom, I am an executive assistant to a large and fast-moving digital marketing agency, as well as manage the customer service department of a large online university, and if that was not enough, I also co-own three brands with my business partner.
I do not have time to have daily anxiety! I went through some busier times where I would skip some of my self-care thinking that it would not affect me – boy was I wrong! It may seem trivial at the time, but once you exercise the self-care muscle, you will never go back to your old ways. I promise! I need to do these things every morning, it takes about one and a half hours, so I wake up early to ensure I get it all in before my meetings and work start for the day.
Coffee and Reading: As soon as I wake up, I get my son his juice, and my husband and I coffee. Then, for about 15 minutes to half an hour (depending on how needy my son is that morning), I will read a self-improvement/self-help book. I am currently reading one I love called “Retrain Your Anxious Brain”. I love starting the day by taking care of my brain reading something that will set the tone for the day. Being positive and appreciative is so important for fighting my anxiety.
Light and fruity drinkable breakfast: I do not like feeling weighed down in the morning. I enjoy having my one cup of coffee, and then I enjoy my smoothie. I do greek yogurt, banana (which is great for anxiety by the way), skim milk, cinnamon, frozen strawberries and blueberries, and a little teaspoon of nut butter. It keeps me full until lunchtime, and I love feeling energized by all the antioxidants in the morning. It also helps cleanse the liver and the gallbladder, and greek yogurt helps so much with digestive enzymes which is great for my Crohn’s Disease.
Morning Workout: After my smoothie, I get my exercise clothes on and I do a 30 minute HIIT workout or strength training. It is usually fast-paced and makes me sweat. I always have the best feelings of accomplishment after finishing my workout. I used to be scared to work out hard thinking that it would bring on a panic attack, and yes, sometimes it did. But guess what? Fighting through it will prove to you that you are a lot stronger than your mind makes you think! Facing difficult workouts has been the most challenging and the most rewarding thing for overcoming anxiety. I would definitely get the OK from a dr first before starting a new exercise program, but once you get the green light, go for it, and just let your body move. That’s what it needs!
Fresh Air: I also like to have some outdoor time every day. In the winter, it’s a short time or a drive with the window open for fresh air. In the warmer months, I make sure to get a walk in. If I’m short on time, I just walk to the mailbox and back, 10 minutes. When I have more time, I will go for half an hour to an hour usually after dinner with my family! Being outside breathing the fresh air does wonders for my mental clarity. Working online in front of screens all day long makes me feel foggy, and when I’m done working, I find it hard to unwind afterward so nature really brings me back to life. I never bring my cell phone with me on my walks, it’s hard not to panic about not having the cell phone, but it’s important not to worry and just go without it.
Peppermint tea before bed: When I put my son to bed, I make some peppermint tea. That is how I unwind. It helps with digestion and also calms me down, and signals to my brain that it’s time for bed soon.
Night Mode: My phone will be on do not disturb from 10pm until 8:30 am the next morning, and I won’t touch it during those times! I get way too many messages, and if I get one that stresses me out, I will worry about it all night and then I won’t be able to sleep soundly. It has happened way too many times in the past so now I put my phone on night mode, and it blocks everything out. Set your phone up to protect you!
Those are my daily self-care habits that help and protect my mental health. Of course, there are some days that don’t go perfectly, but I try to do these most days and it truly helps. I feel more centered, calmer, more balanced, less resentful about work, and less tired and most importantly, less anxious. If you want to start with one or two of my rituals, I would say to start with exercising and eating a healthy breakfast! 🙂
Ellenie is a wife and mom to one amazing and spirited little boy. She is a social media manager and virtual assistant. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a special focus on generalized anxiety disorders and OCD. She has suffered from anxiety and panic attacks her whole life. Ellenie has been finding positive ways to conquer her mental battles every day and would love to share them with anyone who also suffers from an anxiety disorder. She also has Crohn’s Disease and has written about living with its struggles and raising a young baby. Ellenie lives in Montreal, Quebec, but is planning on traveling a lot in the near future. She loves to stay active and eat healthily, a few of the key lifestyle changes that have helped her with her mental and physical health struggles.