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While suffering from anxiety is sometimes disheartening, it’s important to know that there’s always a solution.
But I didn’t always know this. Waking up every day was probably the most stressful time for me during the entire day. I’d become frantic with worry and fear even before taking a sip of water.
I’d wake up every day anticipating fearful events. I almost gave up and was convinced that nothing could ever ease my anxiety or make it go away.
Because that’s what anxiety is about: fear, worry, discomfort. Three emotions that can’t be easily dismissed—or overlooked.
It is when anxiety got the best of me that I decided to look for solutions. And sometimes the best solution for a distraught mind is to provide it with support and solace—something I never did before.
I haven’t defeated my anxiety (I still have a long way to go), but I’ve learned to cope with it through a few daily practices. Last year, I created a morning routine that could help set the tone for the day. Although some mornings I fail to put it into practice, most days it saves my life.
This list may or may not work for you, as we all have different levels of anxiety and different routines. Please take into consideration that I’ve created this routine based on what increases my own anxiety, so what may be a trigger for me could be a savior for you.
However, even if you can’t relate to any of these things, may they inspire you to create your own list:
Leave the bed early. I’ve noticed (since I was a little kid) that the longer I stay in bed, the more susceptible I am to overthinking. Believe it or not, I could stay in bed all day long reminiscing and dwelling on anxious thoughts. I have found that leaving the bed early in the morning helps me feel less isolated and worried. Moving on with your day is such a powerful tool when it comes to coping with anxiety.
But don’t force yourself to leave the bed early. It’s complicated, but if you suffer from anxiety, you’ll know what I mean. If I feel I need a few more minutes (or hours) to rest, I do it—otherwise I’d get anxious about getting up but not wanting to. However, I always make sure that I’m staying in bed because my body needs it—not my mind.
Intention. This is essential and life-changing. In the past, the only intention I had in my mind was vigilance. Like a prisoner, I started the day knowing that something was going to put my anxiety on full alert. Recently, I’ve been trying to flip this destructive scenario in my head. Instead of anticipating danger, I reassure myself that I can face whatever comes my way with wisdom and courage. Most importantly, I try to stay kind to myself by understanding that it’s okay to suffer from anxiety.
Stay off Facebook. Contrary to popular belief, not all social media is toxic. Instagram, for me, is inspirational and motivating. I follow a lot of authors, artists, and pages that post helpful content. Facebook, on the other hand, is highly triggering for me. Reading a status about a young person who just died can literally keep me worried, fearful, and overthinking for days. Which platform triggers you? You might want to cut ties with it.
Do an activity that calms you down. Take a walk. Play with the dogs. Listen to music. Bake. For me, making breakfast calms me down, as well as gardening. Walking my dogs and playing with them in the morning when it’s still quiet is extremely soothing, and a 10-minute yoga practice grounds me. Sitting outside in the garden and listening to the birds chirping also calms me down. Whatever brings you inner peace and calm, do it.
Stay away from caffeine in the morning. I personally enjoy and love having coffee in the morning, but unfortunately, it agitates my body and keeps me extremely awake—which isn’t the best option for my anxiety. I’ve been allowing my body to just “be” in the morning, without intervening with its natural cycle. If I feel like coffee, I have a quarter cup in the afternoon.
Make a to-do list. Don’t underestimate the power of to-do lists in an anxious person’s life. Making to-do lists helps me stay organized without getting anxious or worried about what to do (or not to do) next. Keeping record of what I have accomplished decreases my anxiety attacks and keeps me on top of my day.
Drink a lot of water. Like, a lot. Research shows there’s a connection between drinking water and our mental health. Personally, drinking water, especially in the morning, makes me feel fresh and healthy. And, apparently, tension increases with dehydration, so make sure you’re hydrated at all times.
How do you cope with anxiety and what’s your own morning routine?