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So, after my most recent Anxiety spike, I decided to take a peek at what in my day to day life might not be helping me keep things, um, regulated. I mean, obviously, my life is a nut house, we all can see that (thanks Snapchat) but maybe there were a few bad habits I could prune that might make things just a tiny bit easier on myself. 

As it turns out, I have a ton of bad habits so finding a few that I could regulate on proved to require zero effort. I also stumbled across this article from Buzzfeed and, while I don't know that I should build my existence based upon Buzzfeed, I did think that this one had a tip or two that I could make happen.

Change Numero Uno:

Thanks to the Buzzfeed article, I decided to set two alarms on my phone - one to turn off all social media and put my phone down at 9pm on weeknights and one to turn off the TV and go to bed at 10pm. 

Seems simple but, man, has this been life changing.

I hadn't really put too much thought into it but I had been spending endless hours at night scrolling through my phone on social media. Endless hours. I would look at the clock and realize that I had managed to stay up until midnight just scrolling through the same posts on Instagram and reading the same articles on Facebook. And I can assure you that none of it was worth the lack of sleep. My kid religiously wakes up around 6:45am, so some nights I was getting roughly 6 hours of sleep, and not an ounce of it seemed to be beauty sleep.

Looking back, I can also say for certain that the late night social media stalking was also contributing to the anxiety slide as I was looking at other photos, blog posts, outfits, make up or accomplishments and wondering why I wasn't able to measure up. The more I scrolled the more my anxiety convinced me that I was a sham of a blogger, mother, wife and so on. In my rational mind, I truly believe that comparing yourself to others is a fruitless task (and it should go without saying that I am, of course, thrilled for others successes) but my alone in the dark, late at night, burned out mind was having none of that.

Shutting off my phone at 9pm has proved to be a game changer - and going to bed at 10pm on the week nights (and, let's be honest, on the weekends, too) has only added to a calmer brain. 

Change Two

I am a serial Weight Watcher. I keep the app active on my phone and go in spurts where I am totally on the wagon and then much longer periods of time where I'm eating a wagon full of carbs. Feeling down  about my general physical appearance (whether warranted or not) is never good for my emotional well being so I'm working hard to follow my own advice and dress my body well while I'm working the plan. I'm also doing my best to take care of myself in a physical sense - it may seem superficial but keeping up with my eyebrows and nails keeps me from feeling like I'm a hot mess who is too overwhelmed to keep her life together. As you can imagine, when I have a uni-brow, I don't feel like I'm kicking ass and taking names. There is power in feeling your best and I need that power on my side while I'm handling my anxiety.

Change Three

When I recently plateaued on the whole WW thing, I complained to Meg that I was going to the trouble of measuring my wine and still nothing was happening. As she always does, she asked me if I had been drinking my water. And, as I always do, I said no. I never drink water. Coffee and Diet Dr. Pepper are my life sources so I really have no time for water. As it turns out, I was wrong. I now drink something insane (to me) like 5 Venti cups of water a day (and of course, a Venti coffee). As a random side effect/bonus, I am so full of liquid that I no longer drink diet soda. I can't even remember the last time I had a Diet Dr. Pepper and I weirdly don't even miss it. The lack of caffeine has helped with the whole going to bed at a reasonable hour and sleeping well thing and I'm sure there are other health benefits, too (jokes). 

As it turns out, talking about my anxiety has led many of you to feel comfortable discussing your own battles with anxiety. I never intended to keep mine a secret, I actually thought the cat was out of the bag, but I'm glad to keep putting my experience out there for ya'll to read. In fact, after my last post, I was asked to speak on a panel here in Greenville about successful women who deal with mental illness - and I couldn't be more proud. My goal is to continue to take care of myself physically and emotionally so that the next time I start to slide (and, there will always be a next time), I'm able to catch it sooner and rock it out harder. 

Ok, so tell me, what habit should I adopt from the Buzzfeed article next?
(cue my husband saying "the one where you're supposed to compliment your partner!")

Stephanie [Olive and Tate]
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  1. Get outside every day! It is seriously the best therapy. Absolutely nothing clears my mind and helps my anxiety like a long walk with my dog and hubs. It forces you to have meaningful conversation and the fresh air is good for the soul. As for the 10 pushups thing… I can't even do 1 so that's not happening anytime soon

  2. Ugh, I am definitely struggling with having the discipline to put my phone down and go to bed at a decent hour. Literally there is no reason I should be tired because I could go to bed at a reasonable time every night, but I don't. And I have to remind myself that it's a choice. No one is forcing me to stay up at night watching TV or on social media and that I'm responsible and can make a different choice if I want, and I know I should. But it's seriously SUCH a hard habit to break!

  3. I hate exercise in general but when my anxiety rears its ugly head, a 30 minute walk really helps. I recently discovered water aerobics and I love it even more.

  4. My favorite "good habit" is going on a walk outside every day! It's a great time to talk (with my husband) or a great time to think if I go alone. I always feel SO much better when I make this happen!

  5. I found Pilates about 20 years ago and it has helped me through many a rough patch and weight fluctuations. I take a class two to three times a week and walk my dog at least a mile every day. Makes a huge difference. I didn't really notice the difference until I went on a month long holiday a couple of years ago and I was a hot mess when I got home. So now even when I travel I go for a brisk 20-30 minute walk in the morning before doing whatever we're doing. Start small and build up!

  6. I love this post! I am an anxiety sufferer and these are some great tips. I especially need to stop the social medial scrolling at all hours of the night. I find exercising helps with my anxiety. Especially yoga! Some deep cleansing breaths are my go to during a minor panic attack. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Ugh, I want to learn to love yoga, I really do, but it's so slooooow ;)

  7. I love the idea of setting an alarm for social media at night. I am definitely the worst about that too! What I really should do is start reading again...I just two new books too, so no excuses!

  8. These are all great! I need to set an alarm for social media and I too find doing my hair and makeup even makes me feel better during the day, it's superficial but who cares, it works ;) I'm really bad at getting enough water in too, I need to work on that!

    1. the social media alarm has honestly been such a good thing - my husband hears it go off and always says "no more phone!!!" I guess I had gotten really bad about it!

  9. I didn't know you were on WW! I am too... well, except right now obviously due to baby. The water should make a HUGE difference for you - it always does for me. If you don't hit goal by the time I come back, I'll totally be your accountability partner! I think knowing all the principles of WW has really helped me keep my eating in check thus far this pregnancy, and I'll be back to my meetings as soon as this little one makes his/her debut!

  10. I actually have my phone set to priority interruptions only between 9pm-8am, which is only phone calls. Texts, social media, none of it will vibrate on my nightstand and peak my curiosity. It is so easy now to not check my phone at night.

    Sleep is sooo important.

    Feeling pretty helps my anxiety so much.

    As for further suggestions, exercise helps me so much with my anxiety, even though I hate it. Apparently, it activates receptors in the brain that help reabsorb the adrenaline and cortisol so they don't wreak their havoc. I also use spray-on magnesium oil and take a lot of fish oil and I think those help a bit. I really love the book From Panic to Power by Lucinda Basset. It's really retro 90s and kind of cheesy and self-helpy, but it really does...self-help me when I hit a rough patch.

  11. Don't love that anxiety is getting the better of you, but I do love this post! I have always had anxiety/depression prone issues and it has been out of control this year. Social media is a big trigger for me right now too. I can so relate to the endless scrolling of social media late at night, which I realized has ruined my sleep for the past few months. No sleep and no bedtime routine = tons of anxiety and cranky mama!

    I'm hoping the shift of lifestyle in Hawaii brings me back to center and that I can implement a lot more healthy habits once this whole move settles down. Water intake is hard for me too. I only drink flavored water right now, which helps. Way to go for no sodas! Seltzer water sometimes helps me drink more water too but can cause bloat from the carbonation.

    Again, love that you're opening up about this. I think I need to soon too.

  12. One of our new years resolutions was no phone or TV in bed when we are both in bed, and it has made a difference!! I'm back on the WW wagon too and I totally get everything you are saying. Nothing wrong with wanting to feel good!! And one thing that has helped me tremendously is having a fitbit. It seems silly, but I've been trying every day to get to 10K steps and my husband and I are competing to see who gets the most. And you can accumulate so many fit points for WW!!

  13. My BFF told me about your blog and I am so glad I found it! Thank you for sharing these tips - I needed this today. ALSO, I agree with Meghan - fitbit has made me WAY more active aka longer walks with my dog and taking the stairs at work. I mean baby steps you know! Keep on keeping on :)


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