Before You Can Cope
You need to learn to recognize the signs that your anxiety is elevating and about to enter the danger zone. If you’re already at that place – awesome! Keep reading. Here’s a site that will help if you’re not there yet, but be sure to come back to read my top coping mechanisms!
My Top 12 Coping Mechanisms
Most of my methods for coping involve self care. For me, it’s important to show myself that I love myself! That I deserve to be anxiety free and simply breathe.
Put On A Face Mask
My first reaction when I see those signs of panic is to put on a face mask. There’s a few reasons I do this. Firstly, this mask I have from Lush involves some light, soothing scrubbing and makes my skin feel awesome afterwards. Secondly, I literally cannot take myself seriously while wearing a face mask, and that little flicker of humor is much needed in times of panic. Lastly, face masks require you to relax and do nothing except feel your face for 10 minutes. An excuse to do nothing is exactly what my brain needs.
Take A Long, Hot Shower
I’m not talking about those showers you take before work, I’m talking about a good shower. Use your nice face wash, leave the conditioner on your hair a little longer, shave your legs, suds up with extra shower gel (this one’s my fave). When I get in the shower for self-care rather than obligation, it makes me feel capable of taking care of my brain and body.
Essential Oil For Body Care
I’ve been so obsessed with essential oils ever since I realized the positive affects they had on my mood and skin. After my shower, before I even towel off, I use a mixture of grapeseed oil with a few drops of lavender to moisturize. And don’t think I typed that out wrong – I do this before I towel off. It distributes the perfect amount of oil and makes my towel smell amazing. I do the same thing with argan oil on my hair.
Quick rundown on essential oils for anxiety
- These are the most common essential oils, so it’s the selection I’d suggest you start with.
- The top recommendations for anxiety are lavender, bergamot and ylang ylang.
- Many people who suffer from fear of flying report peppermint oil helping them out a lot.
- If you’re looking to use essential oil mixtures as moisturizers, you’ll want to add a few drops of any nice smelling essential oil with one of these bases: grapeseed oil, almond oil, or fractioned coconut oil.
Diffuse Essential Oils
A great alternative to adding essential oils to your body care routine is diffusing them! I love that within a minute I can make my living room smell like soothing lavender. The scent concentration is totally up to you, and its way more cost effective than candles! I got the budget option on Amazon and it’s perfect!
Do Soothing Crafts
Personally, paper cutting is my jam, but a ton of people online swear by adult coloring books! Getting started with either is pretty inexpensive and straightforward. For paper cutting, you’ll just need this short list of supplies. Or if you want to go the adult coloring book route, here’s a list I put together of some of my faves.
Consume Familiar Media
When I get really anxious, all the old classics becoming instant comfort. I’ll put on Gilmore Girls, Little Miss Sunshine or Anchorman, listen to No Doubt, Michael Jackson or CCR, and just soak up the familiarity from underneath a fuzzy blanket. There’s something inherently comforting about going through familiar motions when life seems too overwhelming to grasp.
Read Jenny Lawson
I swear Jenny Lawson’s books are the best ones to read while suffering from an anxiety attack. She’ll make you realize you’re not so crazy after all! When I started reading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened I was at a very low point looking for distraction. Within several paragraphs I had switched from bursting into tears to busting out laughing. Her writing is an anxiety-fueled combination of cynical sarcasm, genuine pep talks and lots of swearing. And taxidermy. You’re going to love all of them:
- Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is kind of like a memoir. It takes you through Jenny’s life and introduces you to her relationship with mental illness.
- Furiously Happy is about more specific situations and memories from Jenny’s life. She calls it a “funny book about horrible things.” The audiobook of this is fantastic, by the way!
- You Are Here is part coloring book, part self-help. It’s a fantastic coping mechanism! Be aware it’s got a decent amount of coloring pages inside, so it’s not something you sit down and casually read.
- If you’re strapped for cash, check out Jenny’s blog for some free inspiration!
I’ve personally never written my own affirmation, but I’ve heard plenty of success stories to be interested. Essentially, it’s a mantra that you repeat to yourself every day with the intention of eventually believing it! When I’m ready to take this step myself, I’ll be using this as a guide to write my personal affirmation.
Writing was my coping mechanism before I even recognized my anxious self. There’s something incredibly powerful about turning thoughts into touchable words on a piece of paper. Personally, the only way I get excited about journaling anymore is if I have a cute notebook to do it in. I know that’s bad. Sorry not sorry. By the way, if you need help getting started – here’s an awesome guide.
Go For A Walk
This is simultaneously the most difficult and the most effective way to combat my anxiety attacks. Breathing fresh air while maintaining forward motion is total therapy for me. Usually I end up on auto pilot walking aimlessly, avoiding eye contact, and just allowing myself to stop thinking. I’ll revert to childlike observation once I’ve calmed down a bit. The sights, smells and sounds of nature become the most important thing. Wind brushing up against leaves, doves cooing, the smell of freshly mowed grass – these things often grant me perspective during the times I need it most.
Scroll The Latest Kate
Kate is an illustrator, but instead of simply creating cute illustrations of unicorns and puppies, she’s encouraging mental well-being. Scroll down her Tumblr page and you’ll realize she’s got a history with mental health. But instead of ruminating in her suffering, she creates images to give her and others hope for our future. Her comics and illustrations are simple, real, and inspiring.
Hang Out With Pets
I’m a little biased when it comes to this coping mechanism, because I love my dog. He’s my baby. But I’ve also been around him in my anxious moments and seen the way he tries to take care of me. Once when my husband and I were in a period of long distance, I came home and started sobbing. My dog licked my tears off my face, plopped himself onto the center of my lap like a dead weight (he weighs 80 lbs), and kept looking up at me, tail wagging. Loving on him was the best medicine. Treat your pet to an extra walk today for free! Download the Wag app and use the code LAUREN0873.
If you can’t have a pet but you want to spend time with animals, I encourage you to check out this USA animal shelter directory and ask to volunteer at your local shelter! If you want to hang with pets while making money, try becoming a walker on Wag! It’s a dog walking app that I personally use and love.
Connect With The Fearless Fam
I’m a social person, so I understand the need to reach out to an actual human when you’re feeling an anxiety attack come on. That’s why I created a closed Facebook group where all the members of the Fearless Fam (that’s what I call LWF YouTube subscribers!) can safely connect and open up about mental health. Click here to request to join and I’ll approve your request ASAP!
Be kind to yourself. I’ll talk to you soon,