How to Naturally Cope with Anxiety During Your Busy Twenties
Racing heart, cluttered mind, tight chest, restlessness. Life has a way of bringing us to these places...where our mental health is deeply affected by the things around us. Growing up, I never recognized my anxiety-prone behavior until I reached my early twenties.
A lot of change and uncertainty that I faced in my life began to overwhelm my type-A personality, as I became more aware of how life is completely outside of my control.
In the midst of planning our wedding, I lost someone very close to me earlier this year, and the amount of grief that I’ve felt has been unbearable. I find that because I’m always in the fast lane, I compartmentalize my pain into a box where no one can see. I shove it aside so I’m not distracted...so I can push through my responsibilities in life to get things done. But deep down inside, the grief is still so real and affects my anxiety every day.
Though you may not see it on the outside, people carry pain, too.
Because I’ve been hurting in this way, I’ve been determined to seek help and find ways to heal. If you’ve felt overwhelmed by life, too, know you are in good company, my friend. This week I’ve been determined to weave in more life-giving, therapeutic ways to relax into my schedule. Hello, self-care! I’ve noticed a huge difference in my energy levels and ability to reset my mental health. Hope these tips can help you combat your anxiety, too.
If anxiety is your battle, here are a few helpful ways to find rest in the midst of the chaos:
Schedule a relaxation massage.
This was a game-changer for me. Some people love the sound of this; others cringe at the thought. But massages are a great, natural way to relax the tension in your muscles. For fifty minutes, I was surrounded by a sound-maker and stillness. Walked away feeling much better about myself, and after a hot shower, I woke up the next day feeling refreshed. Massages really help ease your mind and increase the circulation flow in your body.
Show your body some love through exercise.
Working out can sometimes have this negative connotation because people oftentimes associate it with losing weight. Forget the scale! Work out because you love your body. Studies prove that “it relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins.” Exercise helps to counteract our anxiety by feeding our brain with good energy. Whether you walk the lake or hit up a fitness class, prioritize this into your schedule so you can have an outlet to release your frustrations or worries.
Connect with a healthy community.
It can be your church family, your college study friends, even your family at home. Spend time with people who inspire you to become better and offer a listening ear though your tough days. We were never created to be an island, as they say, so hold on to healthy relationships.
Sometimes talking your emotions out with a trusted friend over a cup of earl grey is just what you need to release the tension in your heart. When it’s a good friend, you leave the conversation feeling encouraged and built up in your self-confidence. Seek out friends that will love you through those low seasons who you can be honest/transparent with so you can find that shoulder to lean on when you face anxiety attacks.
Set aside time to detox and disconnect from all technology.
Ever noticed how cell phones can cause a lot of unnecessary stress? Over usage of cellphones and computers have been linked to triggering mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Because you and I are constantly being bombarded by excessive messaging and information, our minds get overwhelmed, in turn leaving us feeling anxious. Whenever I take a moment to shut off my cell phone to live in the present moment, it allows for me to engage with what’s in front of me without feeling need to worry about what’s not in front of me.
Technology is great––but in doses. If you’re like me and you have a smartphone, you can turn on the “Do Not Disturb” feature to silence notifications while you’re at home trying to unwind for the night. I do this every evening to mentally prepare for sleep, and it makes a huge difference. During these moments I’ve tried to disconnect from technology, I try to meditate on scripture verses from the Bible or spend time in prayer.
I do want to make it clear that I’m not a doctor or licensed therapist. These are ways of coping that I’ve discovered on my own journey dealing with anxiety, and I have first-handedly experienced the positive results for myself. If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health issues, I’m including some important resources for you.
You are not alone, and as this week is Mental Health Awareness week, I pray we all shed light on these issues that many of us are dealing with, especially in the church.