Shopping (even online shopping) can be anxiety provoking. This Cyber Monday, as part of our #MentalHealthMondays series, we’re going to be talking about coping strategies for anxiety. Here are a few things you can try when you’re feeling anxious. If these symptoms are persistent, it may be a good idea to seek professional help.
- Keep physically active
Exercise releases endorphins; the happiness chemicals in the brain that help reduce stress and pain. Therefore, exercise is a powerful stress reducer. Explore how you can implement more physical activity in your daily life. You don’t have to do high-intensity training to fulfill this goal, you can take a walk. Start slowly, pace yourself, and then start increasing the amount and intensity of your exercises.
- Identify triggers
You have to know what you’re looking for. Learn what situations or actions cause you stress or increase your anxiety. Become more in-tune with your triggers (those things that make you tick). Do you notice yourself becoming anxious when you wake up and reach for your phone to start reading e-mails? It may be helpful to change your routine and avoid looking at your phone until you have gotten ready for the day. If you know “Sunday scaries” start creeping up on you, make a plan to do something productive on Sundays as you prepare for the week ahead and can confidently welcome Monday.
- Cut back or avoid caffeinated beverages
Coffee, coca-cola, and other soda products high in caffeine worsen anxiety symptoms. Find a balance and something that is realistic for you. Trying to stop “cold-turkey” from one day to the next will result in withdrawal symptoms and higher cravings. Instead, make a plan of action. Think about making changes to water a few times per day or switching to decaf coffee.
- Use stress management and relaxation techniques
There is a plethora of resources for stress management and relaxation techniques. Some include meditation apps, yoga, deep breathing, going to therapy, and more. Learn what works for you. As mentioned above, continue to pace yourself; this is a marathon, not a sprint. Adding these techniques to your routine and consciously making healthier choices will help reduce your anxiety symptoms.
- Learn about anxiety
You are not alone, and you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Find out what other people with anxiety are doing to manage it. Learn about the common symptoms, causes, and treatment. You can start noticing the symptoms when they’re more subtle allowing you to target them faster. Educate yourself on best practices and know when it’s best to reach out to a professional for guidance.