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 Pexels.com

Tools I Use:

Meditation

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.https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/bewell/virtualtherapy.html

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!

From the Archives: Saturday Self-Care

Today’s share is meant to be a pretty little escape, and inspire you to light a candle, run a bath and put a face mask on.

*Disclaimer:

While my self care here, reflects a light and top layer level of beauty routines and serene moments in a bathtub – I recognize the importance of true self care.

The self development, growth and self awareness that is so valuable, especially in today’s day and age. What isn’t immediately talked about here, but isn’t closed for future discussion, is my journey with PTSD, seeing a therapist for many years, learning about my anxiety and depression, and finding tools to deal with both. As said, I want this forum to be an honest place for discussion, and will likely share my experiences and acquired tools in future posts.

Today’s share is meant to be a pretty little escape, and inspire you to light a candle, run a bath and put a face mask on. If that’s not your jam, I wish you a blissful moment of your own kind of self care. The activity or surroundings that make you take a real deep breath, and smile to yourself.

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My favourite escape moment, is an epsom salt bath & some face care.

Items shown here, and loved thoroughly:

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Straight out of the bath, I kept the Ultra Violet Brightening mask on until it was dry and tight feeling. I washed the mask off with warm water and a face cloth, and followed up with my favourite moisture renewing mask.
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Garnier Moisture Bomb has been my go to moisture giving mask for years.

Coming in an assortment of options, you can target your goal with your skin, simply by switching from the Mattifying Tea Tree mask to the Soothing Sheet mask and so on! Give the combo pack a go:

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A hairmask from a friend and my go to The Body Shop face creams rounded off my moisture treatmeant.

What do you do for an indulgent moment of me time? Is it a walk? A cup of tea and a book? Creating something? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

What’s on my desk

Working from home means that my desk is a hub for daily activity. I’ve begun doing my Five Minute Journal here with my first cup of coffee, as I wait for my computer to wake up.

At Home Mani ft NailditCanada

Have you heard of such a journal? It’s become a key part of my morning routine, allowing me to start my day with mindful gratitude and intention. Check them out at Intelligent Change.

The Five Minute Journal: Review After Using It for Five Years | Miriam  Ballesteros
Image from Mariam Ballestros
Chinese Money Plant from Freshcut Downtown

A couple years ago, I set up my work desk according to feng-shui recommendations. The results were calming. Everything seemed to just settle into place. The above plant is at home in the abundance corner of my at the office desk. She’s so pretty, don’t you think?

Work - SleepCompare
Image from sleepcompare.com

The home office is in a constant state of change. A couple months of home school for the kiddos, and balancing two professionals working from home presented challenges. We have all happily settled into one room (if you can believe it) and the recent set up has a lovely little plant stand to my left. The unit is perfect height for my happy lamp – something that my friends enduring Canadian Winters can understand, I am sure!

So, what’s on your desk? Tell me in the comments below, your favourite/indispensable desk features!