To say that this year has been chaotic so far would be an understatement. As the media currently opts to focus on riots, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and Pride Month, we are still being bombarded with articles that claim we will feel better if we simply learn how to make some banana bread.
While baking alone might be an adequate solution for neurotypical people, those of us with anxiety continue to pick at our lips as we debate whether it would be better or worse to leave the TV on.
In addition to making banana bread, which isn’t a terrible idea, here are a few ways to deal with exaggerated or prolonged anxiety.
Exercise: Any kind
Exercise is not only good for us physically; being active stimulates the brain and can alleviate the symptoms of several mental illnesses. Exercising can decrease anxiety by satisfying the constant desire to be productive and limiting restlessness. This activity doesn’t have to be anything extreme like lifting weights or running marathon lengths. Lighter activities like yoga or even simply walking are incredibly beneficial. Consider looking up some how-to guides for inspiration on how or where to start with exercise. Daniel Barton discusses his personal experience with exercise and mental illness here.
Stay in touch with loved ones
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get lost in anxious thoughts and the illusion of being too busy to contact our loved ones. A good way to keep in touch is by setting aside a specific time for calling your mum or face-timing your mates once or twice a week. It doesn’t hurt to set an alarm as a reminder. Having the people who care around for support is a huge reassurance for an anxious mind.
Remove or reduce the presence of toxic people
On the other hand, having toxic individuals around can lead to all types of abuse, which only amplifies anxiety and possibly depression symptoms. Examples of toxic behavior include blaming others for everything, constant negativity, demanding respect, invalidating the feelings of others, and more. This article by Dennis Relojo-Howell provides an overview of various examples of abuse.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to cut these toxic people off, especially if they’re quarantined with us. In that case, the best thing to do is minimise contact as much as possible. Consider using the ‘Grey Rock Method‘, which involves making yourself sound uninteresting so abusers won’t have any information to use against you. There’s a useful article by Crystal Reypole contains more information about this method.
Consider taking medication
There’s no shame in taking medicine to reduce the symptoms of a mental illness; like the other parts of our bodies, the brain is an organ, and it can get sick. If we can take medicine to get over the flu, why not to conquer anxiety? Many antidepressants can help with anxiety symptoms; consider discussing the possibility with your doctor.
While all these solutions can reduce anxiety, like with the banana bread, none of them are a singular cure; no such thing really exists. However, these practices will permit you to have more control over your anxiety and allow you to be at least a little happier. As 2020 continues to produce turmoil, please remember to take care of yourself.
Image credit: Freepik
Ashley Vandall is a freelance writer with a particular interest in mental health and well-being.