From the Archives: Anxiety Toolbox

Bell Let’s Talk Day is coming up Jan. 28th 2021. This article, written for my previous blog, outlines tools I use to calm and manage my anxiety symptoms. Maybe they will help you too.

On Bell Let’s Talk Day Bell will donate 5 cents towards mental health initiatives in Canada for every applicable text, call, tweet or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk, as well as using the Snapchat filter and or Facebook frame.

Suddenly, you can’t catch your breath. It’s a very real squeezing of your rib cage. Alarmed, you feel your heartbeat rise. Your senses are on overdrive, trying to unearth the cause of this sudden fear. You’re dizzy with adrenaline. Sick with it. Like a terrible dream, the world continues around you in slow motion.

My experience with panic attacks.

August is the month I experienced panic attacks for the first time. Years ago now but the feeling is still so fresh. I was. Terrified. Terrified doesn’t even describe it. Terrified and exhausted. Heightened in awareness and numb.

And with the world on the edge of its seat, watching COVID, I’ve been stockpiling my toolbox. My anxiety toolbox.

I wanted to share some things that work for me. I also want to note that this post is in no way, a replacement for speaking with your doctor and or a psychologist professional. Panic attacks and panic disorder are treatable, and once I was able to recognize the way my body red flags for a panic attack, the better I got at heading them off.

Taking care of yourself is not a selfish act. I’ve learned that taking care of myself is imperative to consistently show up. So. On with the tools I use, shall we?

Photo by Madison Inouye on

Tools I Use:


Simple Habit is an app I use almost daily. It’s free, with a premium option, with a large selection of guided meditations available on the free version.

I focus on staying present, and pausing to breath. My favourite guided meditation is a three step: relax the body, focus on the breath and listen to the sounds around you. There’s also Insight Timer, a similar app with similar features!

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Dr. Judd Brewer breaks down anxiety, from a scientific standpoint in this series on Simple Habit. I found it incredibly helpful. Click his name in this caption to hop over to Dr. Judd’s Youtube videos!

Speaking to a Professional

I meet with my psychologist monthly. It’s been a long relationship, and I am grateful for it. If you live in the province of Manitoba, there is currently a Virtual Therapy Program being offered.

You do not need to be referred by a doctor to use AbiltiCBT. You will be able to connect to a professional therapist trained to help you deal with: Pandemic challenges, the state of uncertainty, physical isolation, care for family and community members, information overload, stress management.

Although this program is for residents of Manitoba 16 and older, Kids Help Phone is available for those under 16, and Anxiety Canada is full to the brim with resources, information and finding help for those outside of MB.

Practicing Gratitude

I’ve been writing in my Five Minute Journal since the start of 2020. I just recently learned that the amazing folks at Intelligent Change are now offering the Five Minute Journal in APP form as well!

Here’s another Gratitude Journal option too!

Support System

Your people. The ones you can fart in front of – or at least, be real with. You know the ones? Go to them. Be vulnerable with them. Let them step up for you, and with a grateful heart – accept the help. It’s easier said than done, but I feel like my relationship with my true blue friends, my partner, and my family has grown stronger because of this.

Consumption Awareness

Remember, your news feeds, social feeds and notifications are curated by you. Prune the list sometimes, and be aware of what you’re putting in the ol’ mind. Turn off news notifications if you need. Hell, turn them all off. I’ve been consciously trying to complete my morning journal even before I pick up my phone in the morning. A habit I would like to build, and I feel like not consuming social media notifications, news updates and other various pings – starts me off in a better frame of mind.

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I like to save great little quotes like this one from doyouyoga – and scroll through them when I need a little boost.

Do you have go to tools for managing anxiety? Please leave them in the comments below! Thank you for reading – take good care!

Published by WithLoveEsta

I believe that yoga is applicable in modern living, and I apply my direct experience to sharing guided meditations, and coming soon - yoga videos!

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