Self-Care Tips For Women With Anxiety

Southern Utah Women Are Facing Their Anxiety

Lately you’ve noticed that you feel anxious more often and it’s starting to affect how you move through the day. It’s difficult to fall asleep and your dreams are stressful. You’ve begun to over eat (or not eat…) to cope with the stress you feel. And everything feels just a little bit harder; the emotional labor of the roles you perform is just so taxing. Recently, you had a day when you felt shaky, like you were over-caffeinated, and couldn’t settle your body.

Despite the beautiful climate and landscape of Southern Utah (home of our Guided Wellness team), there are many reasons you may feel anxious day to day. Many of our clients are preparing for major changes in their professional lives or are battling difficulties in their relationships. Others can’t put a finger on their stressor, but find they can’t shut their brain off when they get into bed at night.

The good news is that there are many ways you can tweak and adjust your self-care to reduce, minimize or eliminate anxiety. Our St. George clients have really enjoyed exploring their options and feel empowered that they get to create a plan or combination of self-care steps to feel grounded when their anxious minds and uneasy bodies act up. Are you ready for some fresh self-care practices? Let’s get started.

 
Women Looking away from camera.
 

How Can I Deal With Anxiety Symptoms?

What’s the saying? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. One of the best ways to deal with anxiety symptoms is to set up your life to help prevent them. The answer isn’t a sexy cure-in-the-moment type of answer, but it works. Really well.

Keep in mind that anxiety is a biological response to stress that you can’t ever eliminate completely. But you can take steps to reduce the intensity, frequency or length of your anxious thoughts, feelings and symptoms. Try these things, in this order:

  1. Get enough good quality sleep, when your body needs it, regularly.
  2. Drink enough water
  3. Eat enough quality food when you are hungry and don’t eat when you’re not hungry.
    Unless it’s a great food opportunity. (e.g. birthday, friend in town,holiday, in a foreign
    country and won’t get a chance at that food again, etc.
  4. Move your body regularly. Get your heart rate up and/or push your muscles beyond
    comfort.
  5. Go outside every day and, when possible, allow sun on your skin.
  6. Check in with yourself emotionally. You can do this by journaling or using the voice
    memo feature on your smartphone.
  7. Check in with what connects you to Something bigger. Pray, meditate, look at the stars
    or take a walk around the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve in St. George, UT.
  8. Check in with your integrity. Are you living in accordance with your own value system?
  9. Help someone else. Regularly.
  10. Connect with family and friends.
    And last of all, make sure that regularly you are:
  11. Having fun, or creating something, and or experiencing some kind of novelty. Our team
    of therapists at Guided Wellness embrace this with: gardening, knitting, cooking, theater,
    fire dancing, reading a book outside our typical preference and so much more.

When we tend to our physical, spiritual, emotional, social, and mental needs we feel better than when we don’t. This kind of adulting does wonders to burn off, solve, and stave off anxiety. These steps may not be sufficient to “cure” anxiety, but they are necessary. In fact, we invite you to think of the first half of this list as mandatory care (like putting gas in your car).

How Do I Relax My Mind From Overthinking?

The short cut answer to dealing with anxiety is to feel the fear and do it anyway. Now, this is the title of a book that you may or may not find helpful. But allow me to put a gentler spin on it. Would you consider the concept of feeling anxious about something and doing it while anxious?

Bill Hader (from Saturday Night Live) does a great job talking about this concept of feeling anxious and taking the feeling with you. You heard me, take the anxiety with you. If you wait for the anxiety to go away before you do something scary / overwhelming / uncomfortable, your life will get very small. If you do it while scared and anxious, you’ll get it done. And probably feel good afterwards. You may even be surprised that you feel less anxious (even feel good) along the way, as you are doing it.

 
Women enjoying drink.
 

How Do I Manage My Fear?

Anxiety does this mean thing where it poses scary questions and then tells us the answer is probably even scarier than the question. This is not accurate. The truth is the answer might be scarier than the questions. Key word: Might. The answer might not be what you want to hear or face. But it probably won’t be worse than the question your anxiety is threatening you with.

With this in mind, one way to manage the fear is to answer the question behind the fear. You can identify your fears by setting a timer for 5 minutes and then journaling any question that floats into your mind.Then, answer the question.

For example: What if I fail the test? Well, answer the question. If you fail, you may have to take the test again. You might fail the class. Face what that means. Do you need to pay to take it again? Do you need to take some time off school to earn money to take it again next year? No one likes these answers but facing them and coming up with a plan gives you your power back versus being held captive by a question that anxiety won’t let you answer.

Melissa Spaulding, CMCH and the owner of Guided Wellness Counseling, was once considering moving abroad for a year. All kinds of scary questions floated in her mind. What if I can’t make it work? What if I sell all my belongings and come back to the US with nothing? What if I have nowhere to live? And the biggie… What if I end up homeless and living under a bridge?!

When she listed out these questions and began to answer them she found solace. If she went abroad, it might not work out. That much was true. But, if needed, she could move back in with her parents and depend on a network of friends who would never let her suffer. She also had work experience that she could rely on in the areas of retail / sales, personal training and mental health. Suddenly, the idea wasn’t so scary any more.

Do This When Your Anxiety Symptoms Are Out Of Control

We get it, sometimes you need something you can do in the moment to manage overwhelming anxiety. During moments like this your job is to regulate your nervous system. You can do this immediately and quickly by simply connecting to the environment around you. Try and aim your attention and focus like this for a quick calm-down-and-breath intervention:

● Focus on 5 things you see
● 4 things you hear
● 3 things you feel
● 2 things you smell
● 1 thing you taste (even if it’s the taste of your own mouth).

Take the time to really see, smell, etc. You don’t have to have a grand spiritual experience with it, but you do need to focus long enough to really experience those senses. This does a few things. First, it forces your brain to focus on something else other than what you are overthinking about. This in turn, forces you to face the truth that if you stop thinking about whatever is concerning you. You are safe. You are conscious. Second, it puts you in the present moment and gets you out of the dystopian future your anxiety is creating in your head (like Melissa’s fear about being homeless and under a bridge)

Next, answer the question that’s hidden in your anxiety. What are you anxious about? It may be as simple as “I’m worried if we don’t pick up the groceries right now the whole day will go to shit, so what am I supposed to do?” Or it may be big, “If my partner leaves me I’ll have to find a new place to live. How will I afford rent?” Answer those questions.

Finally, something else you can do is box breathing. You do this by breathing in for five counts, holding your breath for 5 counts, breathing out for 5 counts, and sitting without breathing for 5 counts. Honestly, there are many variations on box breathing and many work very well. We like this one because you can count on our fingers as you breathe and all the ‘sides’ are equal. Box breathing slows your breathing down, which slows your heart down, which slows your blood racing through your system. When your body is calm the amygdala of your brain recognizes that you are ok and stops sending the danger message to the rest of your system, interrupting the anxiety cycle.

 
Someone using a phone
 

Therapy For Anxiety In St. George, UT | 84790

One of the hardest parts of your anxiety is that you feel all alone with it. It often doesn’t make sense to your loved ones because they can see how capable you are. But in your anxiety, it’s difficult for you to feel in control the way you used to. You’ve wondered if therapy can help you slow down and feel more confident and in control of your day to day life and relationships.

Therapy at Guided Wellness Counseling gives you perspective on all the anxious fears and worries that are sabotaging your wellbeing. Weekly sessions offer a safe place to put it all down and get centered. You pick up coping skills, routines and strategies that reduce, prevent and prepare you for the challenges ahead.

Call today for a complimentary phone consultation. We’ll explore what’s motivating you to seek therapy and what feeling better looks like to you. Then we’ll match you to the best therapist on our team and answer all your questions. Reach out now and get connected to the life you desire.

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Guided Wellness Counseling

Healing Depression, Anxiety, and Trauma in St. George and all of Southern Utah.

EMDR Therapy and EMDR Consultation Services.

720 South River Road Suite E 103, St. George, UT 84790