I was the young girl who never felt good enough, smart enough, thin enough. I felt like I was living a life in constant chaos, through addiction. Today, because I live the life of a recovering alcoholic, there are routines and rituals I do to take care of myself, to keep my mind healthy and anxiety at bay.
I know the value of structure in my life and I have benefited from creating that and committing to it over the past seventeen years. Here are seven rituals I use daily:
- Sleep whenever I can! I respect my need for sleep as best as I can. We all know that getting adequate rest is important and I laugh as I write that because I wouldn’t say I get adequate rest right now. My lifestyle doesn’t allow me to get much more than about 6.5 hours of sleep a night, but I don’t mess with that. And, if I need a nap during the day I take it. And guess what? It’s not ideal, but it is acceptable.
So whenever I can during the day I take a power nap. I get to the carpool line early and nap in my car. I squeeze in a few minutes in between clients, I have even been known to fall asleep on the viewing bench by the ring while Nora is riding. Ten minutes makes a big difference, so take it!
- Morning Meditation, a.k.a insurance policy for the day. When I wake up in the morning, I always start my day with a morning meditation time. This is MY TIME to get my head and heart in the right place for that day. Before I even get out of bed, I ask My God (DISCLAIMER: This is just what I do! You can insert Universe, Alla, Buddha, Nature, Your Family, whatever your conception of purpose or higher power is, OR just open your mind) to help keep me sober today and to help me know what His will is for me.
- Prayer. And then I pray for my children, my family, and anyone else I think of at the time. I do a daily reading for today’s date, reflect on that for a few minutes and how it could apply to my day. This is how I nurture my mind and my heart. It’s how I connect with something outside myself and create space for peace. But it’s also important to nurture your body!
- Exercise almost every day. Almost every week day, I get up at 4:15am (do all of the above), drink a cup of coffee and I’m either at the gym by 5 or meeting a friend to run. I also try and work out at least one, if not both days, on the weekends. If I am out of town or have sporting events I am attending, I use the hotel gym, I get out for a walk, do some yoga flows wherever I am, just move in some way.
Being sedentary allows the cortisol (stress hormone) levels to build up and is generally not healthy, so I try to keep moving. Exercise helps burn off the cortisol and the excess energy build up from the stress and overwhelm of everyday life. From doing your job, running a household, managing a marriage, taking care of aging parents, parenting special needs kids or whatever your life brings you. Exercise also releases endorphins and makes me feel good. Burning off the stress and overwhelm while releasing endorphins that make me happy is the perfect recipe for my overall well being and directly impacts my anxiety.
- I prepare healthy food. Preparation is the key to success in health so when I am not prepared it is way easier to fall off the wagon. Lack of preparation lands me in front of the cabinets eating Snyder’s pretzel nibblers, or excess hummus and tortilla chips. While they are good, too much of a good thing is not good for me. Maintaining healthy nutrition is also a very important part of my structure.
- Connect with someone at least somehow every day. Sometimes it’s just a few text messages, but I try for face-to-face connection at least a few times a week. I meet friends for coffee or lunch or go for a walk. As an entrepreneur, sometimes you end up working in an isolating environment. I LOVE my office in my basement, but it’s also important to make time to be with people that aren’t my clients.
- Vitamin D therapy. This means I get outside. I try and get outside in the sunshine as much as possible. Even 5 minutes at a time between clients is a help. But I try to get as much as I can. Even in the winter, I bundle up and go outside. Vitamin D has been shown to lift the mood and also boost our immune system. Sounds good to me. Being committed to my habits is how I handle my anxiety! It’s all about commitment.
How many of you have kids? How many of you have kids who play sports or do other activities? In the afternoon when I am super busy with kid activities and managing schedules sometimes I can feel the stress rising. When this happens I practice mindfulness. Well, while I am driving I practice mindfulness as well as breathing techniques. I focus on gratitude, noticing all things around me, the sunsets, how green the grass is, pretty front door colors, people running, and the stream we cross daily. Finding time in my busy schedule that often overwhelms me to practice this mindfulness keeps me grounded. Helps me maintain perspective.
These are the things that I do to keep my anxiety at bay naturally. We all have busy lives and sometimes the stress and overwhelm slowly creeps up on us. Sometimes we don’t even realize it until it’s too late. Having a daily structure that you can COMMIT TO is so important in the battle against anxiety.
And that’s why I created the free training 5 Steps To Take Control Of Your Anxiety In The Moment, so I could teach you what I have learned and benefited from for so long. Join me for the training so you can can learn how to take control of your anxiety naturally.