What works for me, probably more information than you ever needed to know lol........
I know that trying to stay calm and anxiety free this year is near impossible. I'm a cheerful person, even with all the struggles I've faced, and continue to face (that took years of practice btw) but even I've had a tough time this year. It's just a hard year from the beginning and it doesn't appear to be getting easier. I know we are all dealing with so much stress this year, and it can get heavy. So I wanted to post part of my routine below for how I keep anxiety in check. Also I need to acknowledge that my faith in God is an enormous factor for me in keeping my peace and joy and thankfulness, here are the other things I practice in addition to my faith. Use what works for you and find what better fits you for what doesn’t.
What works for me?
– I practice positivity all day, every day. I look for and lean into any good I can find in situations around me. Learning to do that took years of practice, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it’s a struggle for a while. Even now there are days when I fail miserably at this. None of us are perfect, it’s not possible to be happy and put together all the time. But to practice leaning into the positive, makes a world of difference in your ability to deal with the bad. When I fall apart and I forget and I lean to the negative, I don’t beat myself up now. I just let it go, forgive myself, get up and try again. I am also able to move on if it's something out of my control. I have to be okay with the fact that some days when I have a Lyme flare up, just getting out of bed and making it through the day in one piece is a good day.
-I focus on being Thankful…for everything. I will sometimes walk though my yard, walking my dogs and just rattling off things I’m seeing or hearing that I’m thankful for. For example the blue sky, the green grass, the sound of the birds, the sound of running water, the smell of fresh rain, the wind through the trees etc. I just work at making my mind focus on good things first. But I also have learned now to be thankful for the struggles I’ve faced, that was a day I never thought would come. By doing this I can more accurately assess things that are not good going on around me and respond to them instead of reacting to them. It enables me to take productive action, instead of those things controlling me and my life.
Leaning into the positive does NOT mean I’m a pushover, or that I tolerate abuse, injustice, bullying or that I’m okay with terrible things happening in the world around me or anything like that. I still hardcore fight injustice, bullying or anything I know isn’t right. What it does enable me to do is pause and plug-in, in the ways I know that I can be most effective to change those situations. Most of those won’t be on social media (some will), so I try to keep more positivity there and I work on stuff behind the scenes. There are times though when it becomes necessary to address things via social platforms and when that is the case, I do so. But there are multiple times when I can find organizations and ministries to get involved with who are in a better position than I am to get things done and I find out what I can do within those.
- I eat as healthy as I can. I’ve eliminated sugar from my diet except limited amounts that come from actual fruit. Over the last two years I've also worked hard at eliminating most processed foods and started focused on trying to purchase as much produce, fruit and anything else I can from local farms, until I'm in a position to plant myself. When your physical body feels like crap it's that much harder to focus on good, but it's not impossible. I've learned even at my worst there were changes I could make. So look for the changes you can make to better your health, no matter how small and start there.
-Hydration – Lots and lots of water, water with lemon, fresh squeezed juice, herbal teas. Full disclosure, I also have 1 to 4 cups of coffee a day, it keeps me sane and awake lol.
part of my schedule
My mornings start early am (sometimes the sun isn’t up yet)
- I have crazy busy mornings, so within 2 min of waking up (in other words I’m on auto-pilot) I have multiple things I have to get done. So I do all that first just because I have to (Ex: Getting Hubby’s lunch and getting him off to work, getting animals taken care of etc). Then after all my morning chores, duties and responsibilities are complete, my day (not on auto pilot) starts and includes the practices listed below:
-Water with lemon- I down one full bottle (reusable bottle I fill up the night before). Dehydration causes all sorts of negative things so stay hydrated.
-Turn on dance playlist and act like an idiot for several minutes…this clears my head, allows me to get in some fun cardio and it just removes my need to be perfect, to care what others think of me or get everything right the rest of the day.
***If you can’t dance because of health reasons (I’ve been there) try just bobbing your head or just focus on music with super positive lyrics and joyful things. Or Read some happy, sassy poetry. Whatever clears your head and body and changes your mood to positive, for me that is music, for you that might be something else: prayer, poetry, art etc, but make sure it’s not something that you will end up distracted for hours by. This is a 5 to 15 min practice max. But if you are able to dance, no matter how bad at it you think you are it's so freeing and fun.
- Workout – I do an actual yoga style workout (meaning the movements) to release tension in my body and stretch out good. I've found it's the most beneficial movements of exercise for me and it's the movements I get injured in the least. I’ve had a history of getting injured without much effort. So for now I can only do certain workouts with safety. Yoga moves work best for me and my body right now! Hoping at some point soon I can make it back to kickboxing.
-Shower – I do all my vocal training in there. Because my throat gets dry super easy, the warm steam from the shower helps my vocal chords stay moist while I warm them up. Then I sing a series of difficult songs that require me to stretch both mentally and in skill to sing. Sometimes I surprise myself and sometimes I wince in pain at what I just heard come out of my mouth hahaha. Both are 100% okay. If I mess up mid-song I shake it off, laugh and keep going. My biggest enemy has always been myself, I held myself to a set of standards I would never hold anyone else to. One of best lessons I’ve learned in my journey with Lyme disease is that it’s okay to make mistakes, to not get it right, to not be perfect. All I am required to do is just be me and do the best I can each day. Some days my best will be more than good enough and some days it won’t even come close, but on both types of days now I learn and grow instead of berating myself.
Now I'm ready to work, it's about 8am when I get to this point lol. So for the next 8
hours with the exception of taking out the puppies, a lunch break or any errands I have to do it's grind time. Oh and COFFEE!!!! Make sure you find time to eat also lol
At night after Ramon is asleep, he goes to bed several hours before me because I battle insomnia, so I sleep very little. I’ve been that way my entire life, but he needs at least 7 hours to function. I use that time to pray and to mediate. That clears out all the junk from the day that might pile up in my head so I can relax and on a good night at least get a few hours of sleep. I always do this at night; it just makes me feel calmer and settled after a crazy day. I also write in my journal, my gratitude journal and my devotional.
Because of toxin build up from Lyme I take an epsom salt with essential oils detox bath three nights a week. On those nights, I mediate in the tub lol. Detox herbal teas are also great for the days I'm not doing the bath!
For the dance and act crazy practice I listed above:
-My dance playlist-
I will list some of the songs I use (don't judge me lol)…..these are the songs that energize me to move and not care what I might look like at the time haha. Make sure you are using songs that speak to you. A fun unexpected side effect of this practice is it removes those mental walls. Meaning now, when one of these songs comes on the radio and I am in the car or in the house I'm free to go crazy (while still driving safely of course)! I’ve been doing this in my own space so long that it’s like breathing now. I don’t worry about what I look like or what anyone thinks about it anymore.
I should also point out I do not censor the music I listen to. I know not everyone agrees with that and that’s ok, I do me. I feel music enables people to say things they might have bottled up and not be able to say in person. So you may not like some of the song lyrics I choose. The full list of music I enjoy is far too vast to name lol. I’m a fan of music that is cross genre, cross cultural, and in multiple languages, and both Christian and non because I feel that exposes me to the most things outside of my bubble. It also allows me to see how people different from me express themselves musically and artistically. I may not end up liking it all, but I give it all a shot.
But for this practice I pick songs that make me want to move, that bring out my hyper/sassy side and if it has a beat I can't stay still through lol. So the songs below are the ones I use the most often for this purpose and I explain a little bit of the reasons for some of them.
Chandelier – SIA – I don’t know what it is about this song but I just feel 100% free with it. I do everything from showing off my lack of dancing skills to playing air drums and rocking out with a nonexistent microphone haha. I no longer care what I look like doing it. This was huge for me, because getting stuck in my head has always been a struggle. Also I have a super busy brain so it’s nice to have a few minutes where I’m just cutting lose not thinking at all.
9 to 5 - Dolly Parton - country music is the genre I love the least lol. But it's Dolly and a very relatable song! This is for the days when my auto pilot doesn't want to disengage lol.
All about that bass – Meghan Trainor – the lyrics speak for themselves, if you are unfamiliar “My momma told me don’t worry about your size, boys like a little more booty to hold at night” haha
She loves control – Camila Cabello – I love the sass
You need to calm down – Taylor Swift – Oddly I’m not a huge Taylor Swift fan, but I wish I could blast this song to the whole flipping world right now lol.
I listen as I said to a wide variety of music but for this practice of just letting loose and getting out of my head, these are ones I used pretty much every day just because they bring out my hyper side and they have a good beat and they have some sass. It's just whatever songs make you feel the most goofy and free.
-Make time in there to just have you time, to relax. Read a book, take a bubble bath, listen to your favorite album, write in a journal, scrapbook, go for a walk, watch live concert videos since we can't go them right now. Whatever you love to do. Even if you only get to do that for a couple of minuets.
I know this was a lot of information you probably didn't need, but I hope somehow it helps.
Next post.....authenticity, what you don't see
Be honest, Be real, Be you