2020 has proven to be the most uncertain of times. There is so much going on in our world right now and at times I just feel like I’m going to fall apart. My husband and I are still pretty much staying home with the exception of the grocery store, vet (they take the dogs from the car, we don’t go in), and other necessities. I have rheumatoid arthritis and so while I look and feel healthy, I am immuno compromised, which is one of the reasons I’m staying home. Protecting my loved ones is another.
A few weeks ago I honestly didn’t know if I could handle it anymore and it came out in some terrible ways. I didn’t want to get out of bed because, well, what was there to do? I was eating out of boredom and then getting frustrated with myself because I was gaining weight. But the worst was that I was short with my kids and fighting with them. After a drive and then a good cry, (honestly at times I had to pull over because the crying wasn’t just after the drive) I knew I had to make some changes, for my own well being and that of my family.
Where did I start? That was a tough one, at first I wasn’t sure. I decided to start by talking to my husband and letting him know how I was feeling. He was really understanding (he’s feeling pretty frustrated about certain things too, but he’s always so positive that he’s able to deal better than I am.) I honestly think that verbalizing it helped a lot.
My husband knew I needed a change of scenery, but obviously we weren’t going anywhere so he took me on a drive! It was amazing how much driving by some beautiful homes on the water and then walking some neighborhoods helped. I felt like I was on vacation and it really was a welcome change. He also cooked some delicious meals for me. Meals that normally we would have on vacation. For example, one afternoon we made lobster rolls and he opened a bottle of champagne (I usually don’t drink in the afternoon-just ask my daughter 😂). This all really helped; I know I’m so lucky to have someone like him to isolate with!
So what else has helped? I have a really hard time physically relaxing. All those times at the end of yoga classes I can’t clear my mind and now at home there’s so much going on and it’s hard to turn it off sometimes. Well, sitting and petting my dogs really helps. I know the science behind this and how dogs are brought to hospitals and nursing homes and it’s amazing how I can feel myself calming down as I’m petting the pups!
Not being able to turn my mind off is something I also experience at night and so it’s hard to sleep. Either I can’t fall asleep or I wake up during the night. Before I go to bed I will take Gaba Calm and magnesium. I’ve also started keeping a small notebook and pen next to my bed so if there’s something that wakes me up I can write it down and don’t have to worry about trying to remember. I don’t want to write it on my phone because I don’t want to use the blue light during the night. Another thing that helps is a gravity blanket. My daughter gave me one as a gift and it helps when I’m experiencing that anxious feeling. Often I’ll use it even if I’m not anxious because I know it will help if my mind starts going overtime and besides, it feels like a big hug!
I know that physical activity is good for us mentally as well as physically and so I’ll take a walk. It’s amazing what fresh air and even a half hour of walking can do for me. Most times I’ll walk with my husband and it’s nice to have that time with him even if we’re not talking.
I’ve always been a shower person, but my girls all say relaxing in a bath is the best. So I’ll drop in a bath bomb, light a candle and grab a book or just try to clear my mind and relax! After my bath, watching a funny movie or tv show is another great way to keep that calm feeling and alleviate any residual anxiety. If you feel like skipping the bath, just watch something funny. Laughter really is the best medicine!
These are just some suggestions that I’ve found to be helpful for me. Pick and choose and be open to discovering how you can ease your own anxiety.
Since I can be wordy and someone who is feeling anxious may not want to read through this whole post, here’s a list of some ways I’ve found to help me when I’m experiencing anxiety:
- take a walk
- take a drive
- use a gravity blanket
- take a bath
- take gaba calm and/or samE
- keep paper and a pen next to your bed
- pet the dogs
- light a candle and read a book
- watch a funny movie
Most important, talk to someone whether it be your partner, a family member, a friend, or a professional. Talk to someone and know you are not alone.
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