“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brené Brown
As humans, we gravitate toward stories. We love stories for their beginning, middle and end, a perfect succession of past, present and future.
We love stories because of the rise after the fall. We fervently listen to the hero’s tale of fighting, overcoming, then saving the world and going on to rescue humanity with their lessons learned. We attach strings of our own truth, heartaches and struggles to the characters we read. We think, me too! and when they win, if they can, so can I.
I started my blog out this way. Writing buoyed me as I waded and swam through my eating disorder recovery. It saw me through to my win and beyond, looking down over the debris of a battle fought and won.
But here’s a thing about stories–they are never really over until we are gone, our earthly shells reduced to sprinkles of dust under the hard ground. Life is a series of ups and downs, challenges and changes–this we know well.
But for a while I was speeding along too fast to see the next hurdle in my path.
I am going to be painfully honest here. I’ve gone back and forth about this post for about two months now, after taking a break from writing because the words just wouldn’t come. I needed to pause, I needed to start the healing process. But the more I open up to my closest confidants, the more I have found this truth still stands: we are not alone in the struggle.
So remember this please, when I share my story with you.
As promised, part two is here. Read on to find tips on managing anxiety and times of high stress. This holiday season, set aside time for self-care and time to relax so you can enter the new year rejuvenated and ready to go.
Fuel Your Body
During bouts of anxiety, what you eat can help level your mood and energy levels. Some may experience a loss of appetite while others may be hit with salty or sweet cravings–be mindful of what your body is calling out for.
Nourish your body and soul with healthful foods: brightly colored veggies for a variety of vitamins, warm and soothing soups, and even some dark chocolate (which may aid in boosting serotonin levels).
All the Teas
So this part sucks for us coffee lovers–caffeiene serves only to intensify feelings of anxiety. I’ve found it best to avoid it entirely when I’m feeling out of sorts. (I know. I never thought I’d say that. Ugh.)
Instead? All. The. Tea!
Keep a variety of your favorites on hand. Some of my go-tos include Yogi Tea’s Sleep Honey Lavender Stress Relief, St. Johns Wort Blues Away, and Bedtime. My dear friend Lauren also introduced me to Aveda Calm tea–I drink this staple both morning and night.
Still want your cup o’ joe? Learn to be okay with asking for decaf, if only for a while.
It is no secret I’ve been working through flares of anxiety lately. While my support team has been quick to swoop in and I’ve taken time for self-care, I relied heavily on tips from others who’ve also shared my experience including dear friends and my wonderful doc.
Since the holidays can often shake up a bittersweet cocktail of emotions, I decided to share some coping tips I’ve learned over time with you all. Managing anxiety is possible. It just requires you to step back a bit and take time for yourself and your process. Let’s dig in, shall we?
Here we go, part one of my 10 ways to ease anxiety, naturally:
I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary of SF living.
Yes, it is true–exactly one year ago I accepted a job offer in the city. I spent the first half of January packing up my San Diego condo, planning my trek north and saying my farewells before heading up to the land of hella, bridges, hipsters and startups.
One year later it is time to reflect. I have found a home and bits and pieces of myself I never knew I was missing up here among the old Victorian homes and steep streets. I found excitement in the always-happenings of this city by the bay, thrill in the bright lights and late nights and long work hours and side projects.
But in the midst of the energy, I have also learned something vital (or rather been reminded once again what I already know): my body, mind and soul require more rest than average. More than I often allow.
Two weeks ago I was reminded once more. Two weeks ago was a dark stretch of time.
I will not sugar coat it for you, my friends. Anxiety ignited by a medication, lack of sleep and a overcommitted schedule sent me into a tailspin.
Our dreams don’t work unless we do, or so the saying goes.
As much as I love a good quote, I tend to cringe at such clichés, filing them away like a bad Hallmark card. But last week I missed a personal goal-setting deadline.
And then I did it again.
Now I find this cliché ringing oh so true. So in a night of flurried frustration (followed by binging on UnREAL followed by promptly canceling my Hulu account so I could force myself to use time wisely, then scrolling through Instagram for an hour… ya feel me? anyone?) I decided to reevaluate what it means to set goals and chase dreams.
Here’s what I am wrestling with now…