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*Disclaimer* This is not official medical advice and is my own personal opinion. Please see your primary care physician if you are dealing with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issues.
I’ve had Generalized Anxiety Disorder ever since childhood and although I’ve never been diagnosed with Depression, I can tell that I’ve had that for about the same amount of time as well. Of course, it’s never easy for anyone to deal with and I recommend that you see a professional to help you with the next steps. One step I took was taking medication for my anxiety. However, the meds only made me feel worse. I’m talking about waking up with my whole head and face hurting because I was clenching my teeth in my sleep. I tried something else and then that made me nauseous, as if I already didn’t have stomachaches from being an anxious wreck. Maybe there is a medication that would work for me, but I’m a little scared off from the side effects I’ve experienced, so I’m trying to take my mental health into my own hands and find ways to deal with my stuff without medication. Hopefully, some of my personal methods can help you too!
Shonda Rhimes said that when she’s brainstorming or writing, that she will sometimes experience a hum, and she follows that hum until it runs out. This hum is Shonda’s zone and you can find your own zone too! It doesn’t matter if you’re writing, coding, singing, studying, or whatever. Take a step back and look at moments when you’ve been so absorbed that hours have passed, you’ve ignored your growling stomach, or your mom is calling you from the next room to make sure you’re alive. What were you doing? Did you have a playlist on that sucked you in? Were you wrapped up in an audiobook while you were sketching? Did you have that let’s play on for the umpteenth time as you’re working on your coding project? Whatever it is, take note and use the things that take you into your zone to your advantage. I’ve found that deep focus can help distract me from the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
I love to laugh! It doesn’t matter how crappy or empty I feel, if something’s funny, it’s going to take a whole lot for me to not at least snort and one of my favorite ways to get into a giggly mood is to pull up a playlist of funny YouTube videos or to listen to a comedy routine. Some of my favorite comedians include Preacher Lawson, Drew Lynch, Chris Tucker, and John Mulaney. The latter two have specials on Netflix. I’d also recommend the Netflix comedy specials from Chris Rock and Kamau Bell. Whether it be comedy routines or news bloopers, exercise your laughing muscles as it may just help you cope with what you’re dealing with and make you feel a little less anxious or numb.
3. Listen to an upbeat music playlist
At high school prom, it didn’t matter what I was doing or who I was talking to because if the cupid shuffle came on, I would abandon my wallflower tendencies and get on the dance floor. The point is that there are usually some songs that you just can’t resist jamming too or at they at least perk you up. In my case, I belt like I’m performing at the Grammys. Y’know chorus and choir kid tendencies and all that 😊. Think of your favorite songs and make a playlist to pump you up. It doesn’t matter if it’s The Flight of the Bumblebee or if it’s I Like It by Cardi B.
4. Rewatch videos and/or movies
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen The Proposal, or whatever is your movie of choice (mine is Not Another Happy Ending), you know what’s going to happen and that will help your brain. You don’t have to be anxious about the rest of the plot or the rest of the video because you know the whole story. This limits the stress and anxiety put on your brain because you don’t have to deal with the factor of the unknown.
5. Dance and or exercise
For some reason, movement really helps me. Maybe it’s because I’m focusing on achieving a goal for a Blogilates or Fitness Marshall video, or maybe it’s because movement encourages serotonin to crawl out into the daylight. Either way, I know that exercising in the morning sets the tone for the rest of my day and having random dance breaks helps to either chill me out or wake me up. Put on your favorite song, shut the door, and dance like no one’s watching!
When I know that I have to encounter a stressful situation, I want to be able to meditate beforehand. There are lots of resources out there that you can use from the app Headspace to meditations on YouTube. However, YouTube can sometimes insert ads to meditation videos that previously had no ads, so make sure that you review meditation-videos before you get interrupted by a commercial when you desperately need to calm your mind. You can even buy meditation tracks directly and keep the download on your phone and computer for whenever you need it. In addition to meditation, prayer is a helpful tool for communicating your frustrations and feelings. I’m personally a Christian, but no matter what you believe, prayer is a place where your voice is heard.
7. Let it Out
Sometimes, the best thing you can do when dealing with anxiety or depression is to sit with your feelings and express them. Sometimes, you need to scream into a pillow, have a thorough cry, or even decide to stay in bed that day. We all want to be productive and do our things, but you can’t do that if you don’t take care of you first. I only ask that if you’re feeling off for an extended period of time or your condition worsens, that you reach out to someone that will help you whether that be your therapist, doctor, or a friend.
I hope that my personal methods on dealing with anxiety and depression help you and if you have any other coping strategies of your own or links to resources, please comment below!