ChangesApril 26, 2016
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.
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.
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!")