10 Things I'm Doing to Manage My Anxiety + Stress

It's no secret that I deal with my own mental health issues. Now I feel like everyone is having to deal with theirs as well. I wanted to share how I'm dealing with and managing my stress and anxiety with all that is going on around us. These are my tips and what I'm doing right now that have been helping. I thought by sharing, it could make you feel less alone but also be a road map to find your own tips and tricks!

Likely: Lottie Dress (also here) / Lilly Pulitzer: Sheena Sandal (similar) / Tuckernuck: Red Flower Earrings / Nantucket Basket

1. Acceptance -- I know this sounds really somber, but I think it might just be the best thing that has helped me. Accept that this is our new normal. Once I gave in to the fact that we're going to be doing this for a while (you can tell your mind whatever length of time you want), I found I was less upset each day.

Instead of trying to put band-aids on things, I have the new mindset of: if we're doing this for X number of months, what do I need? What should we change? How should we fix x, y, and z? They can be as minor as setting a new schedule for yourself, or as major as rearranging your home to accommodate new workspaces. 

I think the extension of the social distancing guidelines through April was hard for a lot of people. Deep down they knew it wouldn't be safe to have it lifted, but were for some reason hoping it would end. 

Once I shifted my mindset, I could start a new page and start planning for our new life, no matter how long that may be.

2. Take it one Day at a Time -- I've found myself falling into the rabbit hole of thinking, what will life be like after this and how will we ever go back to normal? So much is going to change in ways we don't know yet (like they did after 9/11) and I'm so curious to figure out what they could be, but by doing so, I start to feel weighed down by it all. The fear of the unknown is a lot to handle and it's tiring. 

I've tried to curb those thoughts by thinking a few days ahead and no further. This makes the questions floating around in my head much easier to combat. What will I eat for lunch tomorrow? What blog post will I write? What items do we need from the store? I find that asking questions that I can answer helps tame my anxiety.

3. Stop Reading the News -- Before this really all started (I think of the start date as the day the NBA shut down, the day Trump placed a travel ban to Europe and the day Tom Hanks confirmed he had the virus) I was consuming myself with the news. I was trying to stay as up-to-date as possible, figuring out our next move, and planning for the future. Even the week after "the day," we had news on our TV 24/7, I was reading everything I could to try and comprehend how bad it all was, and reading other's experience with the virus; what to look for, how to prevent catching it...

And I got tired. Really tired. Mentally, I couldn't take it, but also it was manifesting itself physically. I wasn't sleeping, I couldn't focus, I was clenching my jaw until I gave myself a headache, I was having stomach issues. The list goes on.

One day I just stopped. I stopped watching the press conferences from NY and The White House. I stopped reading articles telling me how the world was burning around us. I stopped seeking the news. It helped a lot. The way I see it is that if something major happens, I'll hear about it. I'll skim the headlines and watch Phil DeFranco (which is the only news I'll actively consume) and getting top-level information has helped a lot. 

4. Equilibria -- I've you've been around, then you know I started using Equilibria a month or so before my wedding. It was honestly life-changing and the only thing that helped me manage my stress (and therefore my anxiety). I kept using it on and off after the wedding and on a more consistent basis through the end of the year. When January rolled around (after our honeymoon), I was in a much better, less-stressed place and only used it when I needed it. I used the oil here and there, sometimes before bed, and the relief cream when I got my period cramps.

But when (for lack of a better term) shit hit the fan last month, I turned back to it. I realized that I was internalizing a lot of my stress and anxiety and it was manifesting in different parts of my body. After a week-long headache from clenching my jaw, I decided to use EQ again on the daily. It has seriously been a life changer over the past few weeks. You can read more about (and more in-depth) it here in this post + Q&A from September. 

If you want to check it out and don't know where to start, I use the brilliance box (if you do the subscription you get 20% off and it's super easy to cancel) and it has been amazing. For an extra 15% off you can use code "coveringbases" too. Obvi no pressure but wanted to mention it to save you some extra $!

5. Art Projects and Games -- This has honestly been the best. When I'm able to play a game or do an art project (like needlepoint), my mind is 100% elsewhere and there will be times I even forget (for a second) about the world. Doing this by yourself or with others is the best way to help reduce anxiety and stress. It's nice to get a mental break and focus on something else!

I've especially loved needlepoint and puzzles. I found those have been the most helpful. I'll also put on a rom-com or music for background noise to totally distract my mind. Just find things that make you feel good! 

6. Making Small Plans -- These are little things to look forward to within the next few days! The caveat here is that they're plans for staying in. Little things like a movie you're looking forward to, or a FaceTime call with your friends and family. Making small plans (and accomplishing them!) will get your mind off of other things, but also give you something positive to look forward to and eventually do!

7. Giving Myself a Break -- I think people are being really hard on themselves right now and taking the mindset of "I have all this free time now to do all the things on my to-do list." If that is you, and you are doing it, keep crushing it. But for me, and I assume some others, we're not factoring in the mental aspect of it all.

I read a quote online that said, "you're not working from home, you're home working through a crisis," and it hit me. It's so painfully true that I just can't get it out of my mind. My life is NOT normal right now and the range of feelings I'm feeling is OK. I DO NOT have to take this time to be the most productive me there has ever been, but instead I need to treat myself with kindness and compassion.

So I'm giving myself a break and celebrating little accomplishments. I'm also letting myself sleep in, get to things when I want, allowing myself to deviate from my normal routine and, honestly, not stress about my body. I'm worrying less about working out or what I'm eating. Because I'm not going to lie, I've been eating worse than normal. I've also not been working out. Why? Because it's what's making me happy right now.

For the first week, I was really hard on myself, making sure I worked out every day. But then came the days of not wanting to and making myself feel bad for not doing it. It came to be a bit of a vicious cycle and I just had to break it. It's OK if I don't work out. It's OK to give yourself a break.

I feel like a lot of times we're looking for that acceptance from others more than ourselves (something Andrew and I have been struggling with), but you need to allow yourself to do whatever is best for you and just be nice to yourself. You're going through a lot right now, we all are.

8. Writing -- This could just be me, but I personally love to write (hence the blog). There are of course days when I don't feel like writing (ironically, today) but most of the time I feel good about it afterward. It allows me to get out everything in a safe and judgment-free space. So I'll sit down at my computer and type away. 

I'll write about what I'm feeling, the story of what our life is like right now, a crazy dream I had last night, anything at all. I won't re-read it or edit it because it's only a space to write it out. Not for anyone or anything, but for peace of mind. It gives me something to do and a place to share. 

9. Look For The Positives -- Finding the good in all of this, or even just the little things we take for granted, is so important right now! You can take just about anything bad and find something good in it. I hate being stuck at home, but I'm really lucky I'm not alone and I enjoy the time I get to spend with Andrew. I hate not being able to see my parents, but how lucky are we that we can FaceTime and call and see them whenever we want? Or I hate that ___ is out of stock, but how amazing is it that we have food, that we can order from 100 places, that we are able to shop for groceries without leaving our house?

I mean, yes we are in a really shitty spot right now, but imagine how much worse it could be. We have things like TV and phones and computers still connecting us to the world. We have access to clean water and food to eat. We have one another and we are safe. Try and force yourself to think of the positives when you're being weighed down by the negatives.

10. Practicing Self Care -- This can come in a million different ways but do what is best for YOU. I personally think it's super calming to do my nails or makeup. I love a good mask and skincare routine. Andrew does a 2-hour yoga flow. The world is your oyster right now (inside your house). So do what makes you happy, indulge on a few things that have been taking a back seat. Take a nap, or an extra long shower, apply fake tan, binge a show. If you do the things that make you happy, they will (wait for it) MAKE YOU HAPPY. What a wild thought lol.

(also, call your parents!!)

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