The Art of De-Stressing
FYI: I've purposely chosen a happy photo to keep this article focused on positive thinking and good vibes.
Anxiety is no joke. If you've ever felt the chokehold of a full-blown anxiety attack, you know how crippling it can be.
Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and there's no a whole lot you can do to avoid upset.
We've totally been in that boat lately. After the APMAs, we flew to New York for Nicholas and his band to do some promotional stuff for their latest album and its upcoming release. Upon arriving back at home, we discovered my car had been smashed up - window shattered - and broken into. Hood was popped. Trunk had been popped. Inside, completely ransacked. STRESS.
Nick went to out to the street to await the police's arrival, but when I went out to join him on the sidewalk, I heard him on the phone with the bank - his bank information had been stolen and was being used fraudulently, which meant they shut off his cards. STRESS.
Oh, did I mention we were flying to Las Vegas for a vacation less than 18 hours later?
To skip ahead a bit, I'll mention everything is totally fine now. Things sucked but we absolutely took action immediately in order to get it all fixed and made right again.
The reason I decided I wanted to share a post about all of this is because I truly wanted to address stress and anxiety (as 99.99999% of us deal with it) and share some of the remedies / techniques of combatting them that Nick and I have personally developed over our years.
I'll go first. I've been dealing with anxiety since I was a teenager. I come from an upbringing of having an abusive mother in the house, and absolutely drowned in my own anxiety and depression for most of my teenage years. I didn't always feel like I had the tools to deal with my ever-changing emotions, especially when you add in the rollercoaster of good 'ol teenage drama.
But I had essential coping skills all along; I just didn't know it.
A decade or so later, I've now got a much healthier set of go-to anti-meltdown tactics. I should note it's taken a significant amount of melting-down to figure it all out so don't you dare feel guilty about upset when it strikes. Focus on rediscovering that positive part of you and focusing on climbing back out of that hole you've fallen into. And trust me, we all fall in from time to time.
Being able to harness a few of these skills and have them in my back pocket for hard times has done so much for me personally. My goal in sharing them is out of the hope that someone else may be able to benefit from them, similarly to the way that I do.
Focus on your breathing.
So many times I've found myself lightheaded and confused, deep into an episode of panic. If someone is with me, they might ask "What can I do? What's wrong? What do you need? Do you need this or that?" I can't answer those questions... because I'm not even 100% what my middle name or how many days of the week there are is amidst this thick haze and near out-of-body experience that we call crippling anxiety. Once you slow your breathing from a fast pant to a healthy deep "in through the nose, out through the mouth" rhythm, you'll slowly feel your feet (and head) come back down to the ground.
Take a minute to yourself.
Go for a walk. Get some fresh air. Whatever you're doing, take a break from it and try to find some peace. Meditate if that's something you know how to do. Come back to your center, in whatever healthy way is best for YOU.
Have a snack.
I'm not saying to go eat a giant burrito because you might be borderline "hangry". I'm saying that anxiety takes a serious toll on the body. Give yourself the opportunity to take in a few nutrients. It may make you feel significantly better. Science totally backs this, btw.
Put. The. Phone. Down.
Yeah, you... reading this on a screen right now, YOU! Feeling upset, put the phone down, close the laptop, walk away from the tv. Sleep-loss, depression and anxiety are all totally associated with too much screen time. Use that time to do something positive for yourself. Start a book or an art project. Maybe go wander around Target - it's impossible to be sad at Target! ;)
Have you ever noticed that you maybe talk A LOT when you're nervous or stressed?! It's not quite a tactic to kicking the icky feels.. in fact, talking might actually be making you more upset! Especially if you keep telling the same upsetting story, over and over... and over... and over... Or have you ever been around someone who's nonstop chatter makes you want to start pulling your hair out? Yeah, that's not helping your stress. Pick a lighter topic, or just sit in silence for a few. Might do you wonders!
Hug your best friend.
Physical touch and a comforting presence means the world to a broken heart, and sometimes when you're in the anxiety hole, you need a friendly face or loving company to help you find your way out.
Do something mindless with your hands.
I mentioned crafts before, but I really did mean it. Are you into drawing or painting? Find a cool little kit at the local Michael's Craft store and snag one for hard days. Sometimes after a long shift at work, we could all use some crochet or knit-therapy! Make something for yourself, or even one of your friends or family members. Doing something for yourself feels great, and so does doing something nice for others. Also, I always tend to feel a jolt of pride when I've finished working on a craft project. It's fun and it builds confidence! GO YOU!
How your body feels and what you put in your body makes ALL the difference in what goes on inside your mind. Feed yourself shit, and you're going to feel like shit. Don't believe me? Watch Super Size Me.
There's no shame is anxiety or depression. There's no shame in addressing mental health. To not do so is a disservice to yourself, and probably everyone around you. Sure, some people seem like they're happy-go-lucky allllllll the timeeee. They're not. Even those people have rough days.
I hope this did a little something for someone out there! Either way, sending so much love and support to all of you - on good days and the tough ones, too.