That’s what we’re talking about tonight.
I can’t believe I am even writing this post. It’s not an easy topic to open up about, but as I’ve gotten to know many of you I’ve been surprised just how common my struggle is. Somehow it helps knowing I’m not alone. And I feel so lucky those of you who have shared personal things with me feel comfortable enough to do that (….it seriosuly means more than you know!) Anxiety is something I’ve had to manage my whole life, so if sharing what’s helped me helps even one of you, then it’s 100% worth it.
For me, anxiety is like a two pronged fork. First, life is chaotic as a working mommy also running a blog. But the second reason I tend towards anxiety has a lot to do with how I’m wired. It is a natural tendency that will always be there and is pretty common, it turns out. A recent statistic I read has 33% of women dealing with anxiety at least in some phase of their life…one of three of us!
Here are some things that can give me somach turning anxiety on any given week:
- Certain work meetings
- Phone calls with brands to discuss collaborations
- Styled shoots (I usually get sooo nervous, despite almost a year of doing them?!)
- Editing photos (and thinking in my head: 8,000 people are going to see this, what if they don’t like it?)
- Getting Juliana to sleep and worrying she’s going to suffocate in her blankets…even though she’s FIVE (I realize that sounds crazy)
- Laying down to sleep and worrying I won’t be able to fall asleep
Saying I have anxiety might really surprise you with what I do for work. As a Regional Sales Manager a big part of success depends on the ability to read a person and develop a relationship with them. Developing these relationships is something that happens very naturally for me now, but for years I had social anxiety and could NEVER have imagined myself in this role (or having a blog…or TALKING ABOUT ANXIETY ON MY BLOG!). But that’s why I wanted to open up tonight.
If you struggle with it too, I know how debilitating it can feel. But here’s the truth: no matter how intense your anxiety can be or feel, you are still one hundred percent in charge of your life and what it looks like. Phew!
Anxiety doesn’t define you. What defines you is how you respond to it. Don’t let it dictate what you do or don’t do, or what you go after. In many cases, anxiety comes when we step into our growth zone. Rather than shying away, in order to become what we want, we just have to develop healthy ways to manage it.
Here’s what helped me:
- Knowing my ‘North Star‘. I recently discovered this idea of having a ‘North Star’ in your life. Just as the North Star has been a guiding compass for centuries to help sailors navigate, getting clear on my ‘North Star’ has helped me put my life and goals into perspective. So what is it? My North Star is balance. When my life is balanced, I am mostly stress free and happy. When it’s unbalanced is when the anxiety creeps in. Thinking in terms of balance guides me with decisions (Should I go to this birthday party? That wedding? Should I volunteer on the committee?). Your North Star could be any number of things- God, your family, your health- but the idea is to have one central principal that reflects the core of who you are that you can always look to for guidance.
- Getting enough sleep. Like clockwork I’ll notice I get more anxious when I stay up too late. It’s still a struggle (late nights are SO quiet and peaceful for blogging!) but I’ve gotten a lot better in the last year about making sleep a priority and it makes a huge difference.
- Laying off the mom juice. I know this one is a real mood killer. I learned a few years ago I have a serotonin sensitivity and having more than one or two drinks decreases serotonin in my body, which increases feelings of anxiety. I did a little research on this and it turns out alcohol can increase anxiety even in people without a sensitivity.
- Eating raspberries. One of you actually told me about this one over the Summer and it’s a tip I use to this day. Raspberries are supposed to have natural properties that reduce anxiety. Maybe there’s an added placebo effect, but either way it works. ?
- Reminding myself I am in control
- Giving it to God
- Orange Theory
- Giving myself grace…aka taking a chill pill. I have to remind myself it’s ok if I occasionally miss a post, the house is a mess, I haven’t done laundry in 2 weeks, etc. It’s OK…and pretty normal actually.
- Drinking Sleepytime Tea. Sometimes I do this during the day too. It doesn’t make me sleepy, but it helps me relax.
- If the anxiety is around a particular event (e.g. giving a presentation), I’ll reframe it as a growth opportunity and think back to similar experiences. I’ll think about how I got through, how I crushed it and how good it felt afterwards.
If there’s one thing I hope you take away, it is that you are in control. You are the one that chooses how an obstacle like anxiety impacts your life. So don’t let it define you. See it as a challenge that only makes you stronger. Now go out and get it girl!
And I’m always here to chat. <3
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