Learning to deal with my anxiety has been a journey. No two journeys are alike so some of what I share may help you and other stuff may not. Take what you need and ditch the rest.
I can see how there has been a progression and growth. It was 3 years ago that anxiety taught me to really depend on God for strength and peace. In those moments when I was feeling like I was unraveling I had to turn to God. I prayed. I took deep breaths. I read Scripture aloud. That season taught me to seek God in those panicky moments. I learned to press pause in those moments instead of pushing through.
2 years after that I went through a season of burnout. I was tapped out. I felt like I was coming undone (the story here: I Started Counseling). That season taught me that not only do I need to seek God and pause but this pausing practice needs to become an intentional, planned discipline. The discipline of pausing (silence and solitude) needed to be apart of my daily life and not just something I go to when I am coming undone. I learned it needs to be a proactive step. It is like preventive medicine. It is the recipe for peace in my life. So I tried to regularly stop throughout my day, post here on that- Your Soul Needs a Mini Retreat. It was like the anxiety season taught me to grab for the oxygen mask when I am suffocating. And now I was learning ways to increase my oxygen in a preventative way instead of just reaching for the mask when I am suffocating.
I began to pay attention to what my soul needed. After 10 years of being a stay at home mom where I mostly ignored what my soul needed for a decade- it was time to figure out how to strengthen my soul. I so wish I discovered this sooner. My kids and I would have had more fun and peace. We did have fun but I was also irritable, yelled more than I like, made them cry more than I like, etc. I began to pay attention if my body needed more sleep, if I was hungry, if I needed to take a walk because I was starting to feel overwhelmed. This past 15 months I started a season of rebuilding, a season of replenishing what had been lost, a season of renewal. Here are several things I have started. I do not do them all, all the time. I do them as needed. They are tools in my sanity box that I use as needed.
- signed up for a life-giving course (taught by a mom who knows how depleted we can become. I normally never spend that kind of money on myself but I realized we spend more a year on dog food so my wellbeing is worth it!!!)
- daily walks outside (daily is my goal but doesn’t always happen, a 10 minute slow walk is sufficient to calm my soul)
- daily pausing for peace throughout my day (post here)
- practicing centering prayer
- practicing yoga. Can I just say – this is magical. I don’t do the hard sweaty kind. I bought the Yoga Studio app for like 4 bucks. I choose Collections: Beginner Essentials: Beginner Relaxation: then either 15 minutes or 30 minutes. Seriously afterwards it feels like I just got an hour massage (without spending a lot of money)
- making sleep a priority. Recently I am only getting 6 hours but ideally I want 7-8 hours. The more rested I am, the more peaceful I feel.