Anxiety and overwhelm… two of the most common words I hear from clients.
There’s so much information out there on how to manage anxiety but that can create even more overwhelm! “What do I first?” “What’s going to make the biggest difference?” “How am I going to fit this into my already full day?” are just some of the questions that caused me to retreat and hide on a daily basis.
My ultimate goal is to help you ditch your anxiety for good! And trust me, it can be done.
In the meantime, here are my top 3 tips that help me stay calm, positive, happy and in control of my life.
1. Move your body!
Exercise is good for you. Look, I know you already know that. It’s a proven fact. So why do so many people groan when they hear that exercise is ‘the best medicine for anxiety’?
It's because many people associate the word ‘exercise’ with something they don’t enjoy… feeling uncomfortable, out of breath, and sweaty.
In high-school, I hated P.E. I was overweight, unfit, and certainly not one of the school’s best athletes! I was embarrassed by the way I looked, and I always tended to come last.
It didn’t get much better when I started going to the gym as an adult. I felt even more out of place there because I didn’t feel like I ‘looked right’.
The word ‘exercise’ didn’t – and still doesn’t - elicit positive thoughts and feelings for me.
So, I’ve reframed it. I refer to it as ‘movement’. Every day, without fail, I somehow move my body.
I’ve tried lots of different things to find what works for me and what feels right for my body. I tried the gym again and decided once and for all, it wasn’t for me. I even tried pole and belly dancing! Hey… it looked fun!
I took up cycling and discovered that I LOVE it! The feeling of freedom and speed (a true dopamine hit 😊) gives me an amazing high. Yes, it took a while to get used to the seat and to build up strength in my legs, but it happened eventually. And now I cycle about three times a week with friends, even in the hills! It’s fun, and it’s helped me create a whole new community.
After trying Pilates and a few different forms of Yoga, I discovered that Yin Yoga was my favourite, as it complements other activities (i.e., a great stretch after cycling!), and is a great form of meditation also. You see, movement doesn’t have to equal sweaty, short of breath and turning red in the face. It’s in the word… movement.
What I want to demonstrate is that it may take time to find what works for you. Try different activities for a few weeks at least, and you’ll intuitively know if they’re for you. Don’t complicate it, start out with a simple walk around the block.
And if you’re physically challenged, dealing with an injury or it’s 11pm and you don’t want to go outside, keep it simple by doing some movements in your chair, or even 20-minutes of breathwork exercises and stretching. Every bit of movement counts. The options are only limited to your imagination.
2. Consistency is key – don’t give up the good habits when you ‘don’t feel like it’.
One of the first things to go when we feel anxious and overwhelmed is the things we know are good for us, but might take a little extra effort.
Why? Because we don’t feel like it.
This might be ordering in instead of cooking, binging Netflix instead of going for a walk or drinking another glass of wine instead of taking time to do some breathing exercises.
But the phrase, ‘I don’t feel like it’ is not serving you and it’s time to stop saying it.
Instead create and embed these habits in your daily life when you're feeling good, that way, when you do have days you’re feeling overwhelmed (like we all do), your mind and body already know what to do. It takes the decision out of your hands because it’s already a habit.
Think of these things as 'non-negotiables', like brushing your teeth or wearing clothes out of the house. I.e., the things you do every day no matter what.
Decide what this one thing is that you’re going to make a non-negotiable and begin now. Perhaps it’s a daily walk, five minutes of slow breathing, or a short meditation every morning.
Devote 1% of your day to this task to create a habit. (By the way, that’s only 14.4 minutes of your day, not long, huh?) Do it consistently and you will see how quickly you build a new habit.
If or when you have a day that you feel overwhelmed or anxious, stay the course. Keep that one thing in your day because you know it’s going to help you stay grounded.
Remember, choose an activity or task that works for you, and do it at a time that suits your life.
3. Keep things simple and slow down.
That's right, there's no rule that says you have to do all the things every day.
While consistency is important in building and maintaining a habit, it doesn't mean you have to do it every single day.
If you go from 0 to 100 miles an hour in your first week, you're setting yourself up to fail, which will only cement in your unconscious mind why you shouldn't have bothered in the first place. It will stop you from even trying the next time.
Instead, create a list of the things you'd like to introduce in your life and integrate them gradually. For you, this might mean over several weeks or months (or for some goals, even years!)
For example, if you want to change your wake-up time from 7.30am to 6am in order to ‘do more things’, ease into it. Begin by setting your alarm for 10 mins earlier each week. Within 12 weeks you’ll be getting up at 6am. Twelve weeks may seem like a long time, but introducing this gradually makes it more likely to stick.
And you want to succeed, don’t you?
If you want to begin moving more (notice I didn't say exercising :) ), begin with a 10 minute walk each morning around the block, and gradually increase your distance and pace as it becomes easier, rather than declaring that starting this weekend, and every weekend afterward, you’re going to hike up Mt Lofty in less than an hour! If you haven’t been moving much recently, the latter is a lofty goal (no pun intended!) When you don’t achieve it, it’s evidence that you shouldn’t have even tried in the first place, which will only increase your sense of anxiety and overwhelm.
Keep it simple and slow down. When you implement changes gradually and one or two at a time, you give your body and mind time to adjust to the changes and create evidence that you are capable of making change. The habit is more likely to stick and help you in times when you’re not feeling your best.
Living with anxiety is hard. I know. It almost took my life. However, you can overcome it. It will take work and when you’re ready to ditch it completely, give me a call. I would love to help you overcome anxiety and overwhelm for good.
In the meantime, follow these 3 tips to manage anxiety and when done consistently I promise, they’ll make a difference in your life.
If you’re ready to ditch anxiety for good, book a FREE 45-minute Discovery Call with me. I will help you:
Uncover and shift the beliefs that are holding you back from living the life you want.
Get unstuck and start living with positive momentum.
Find your purpose and take back your power to create a truly fulfilling life.
Eliminate anxiety and overwhelm for good!
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