Hi friends! Kaylyn here!
I keep things positive over here, and I’m going to keep it that way because talking about your mental and emotional health is something that is so important to your wellness. Anxiety and depression affect people in all different ways and let me disclaim by saying I am NOT a doctor or even close to it. I want to share my own struggles with them and what helps me overcome them on a daily basis and hopefully it can help you too. The main takeaway from this though is that it’s okay to not feel okay, and you are not alone. Here are the ways in which I cope with being a business owner with anxiety and depression.
I’m an open book when talking about my emotions, my anxiety, and my depression but it took me 6 months to even admit to myself that I had depression and even longer to say the words out loud to my husband. Every time I said it, I would burst into tears because it felt like something was wrong with me and like I didn’t have a reason to be depressed, so I was really hard on myself for feeling guilty about the way I felt. Once I opened up and talked to my husband, my doctor, and my friends, I felt so much more relieved and validated than ever before. All of those self-shaming thoughts about how I shouldn’t be depressed were instantly gone and worrying about what other people thought was the last thing I ever needed to worry about. This was about a year ago and since then, I’ve learned so many ways to help myself manage the crippling anxiety and frustrating depression that sneak in when they can.
Find friends or family that you feel safe talking about your emotions and feelings with. Especially during this isolating time, it’s more important than ever to take care of your mental health and be able to talk things through. There are also so many wonderful apps for therapists on call/chat/email/Zoom that are there for you as well. Heck, I’m even here for you if you need to talk because I care about you and I know other people do too! It really makes the biggest difference when you’re able to talk through and express your feelings because there’s a reason you feel what you feel, and being able to understand it is essential.
I’m a list-maker, but I also tend to write down everything on the same list and that immediately gets overwhelming for me. Some days, I like to do that and cross off as much as I can to see ALL the highlighter, but on days where I’m feeling anxious even a little bit? Oh man… talk about overwhelmed immediately. On days like this, I like to break down my to-do list into categories and only put what I know I can get done on there. I’ll also have an “other” list – things that aren’t super pressing or little reminders of what I need to do. These “other” things allow me to not feel as much pressure on that list to get it done, which helps when looking at what you got done in the end of the day. The other thing to remember is to be easy on yourself and set realistic expectations. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment every day by putting together a list that’s impossible for you to do and then get mad at yourself for not getting it done. Remember we’re all human and can only get so much done during the day!
Do you feel like you don’t get enough done during the day? I was feeling like this and felt super unproductive for days when I thought of what I can do to shake this feeling. I ended up grabbing an old journal and carried it around with me the whole next day. Throughout the day, I would write down ALL of the things that I did that day, even if they didn’t seem that important. Take out the trash? Write that down. Do the dishes? Write that down. Feed the kids breakfast? Write it down. It is SO HARD to keep up with what we’re “supposed” to do each day and sometimes it feels impossible to get all of those things done. Make this “accomplishments list” on a typical day if you’re feeling like this and I promise, your page will be FILLED by the end of the day. You really don’t realize how much you do – especially you, parents!!
I learned so much by seeing my therapist each week, but the best thing I got out of it was this list of coping statements. In one of my first sessions, she gave these to me to look over and repeat to myself when I was feeling very down and/or anxious. Saying them out loud makes such a huge impact, even if you don’t feel it right away. Positive self talk takes time and practice – it took me a full 6 months to really understand how powerful it is. Screenshot these, copy/paste them or bookmark this page to re-visit them on a day you’re feeling down and the power of positive thinking will train your brain to think more positively. A lot of these are also focusing on how the physical effects of anxiety make you uncomfortable or in pain, but they’re not dangerous or going to harm you.
“It’s going to be okay”
“This isn’t an emergency”
“We are okay”
“This feeling isn’t comfortable or pleasant, but I can accept it”
“I can be anxious and still deal with this situation”
“I can handle these symptoms or sensations”
“This isn’t an emergency, it’s okay to think slowly about what I need to do”
“This isn’t the worst thing that could happen”
“I’m going to go with this and wait for my anxiety to decrease”
“This is an opportunity for me to learn to cope with my fears”
“I’ll just let my body do its thing. This will pass”
“I’ll ride this through – I don’t need to let this get to me”
“I deserve to feel OK right now”
“I can take all the time I need in order to let go and relax”
☀️ “There’s no need to push myself. I can take as small a step forward as I choose”
“I’ve survived this before and I’ll survive this time too”
“I can do my coping strategies and allow this to pass”
☀️ “This anxiety won’t hurt me, even if it doesn’t feel good”
“This is just anxiety, I’m not going to let it get to me”
“Fighting and resisting this isn’t going to help, so I’m going to let it pass”
“These are just thoughts, not reality”
“I don’t need these thoughts, I can choose to think differently”
“This isn’t dangerous”
“Don’t worry, be happy”
Something that has significantly helped me has been a daily gratitude practice. It’s so simple, but again – the power of positivity. Each day, write down or say out loud (don’t just think it!!) one or multiple things you’re grateful for. It can be as small as something like the piece of cheese you ate earlier to something big like the sun, air, and sky. I have personally found that the more specific, the better. Doing this before bed or right when you wake up really starts or ends your day with that positive thinking and recalling things you’re grateful for really makes it feel like you’re wrapped up in a warm hug. Here are some examples direct from my journal:
“Today I’m grateful for my dogs, Grayson and Olive and how they are always there for me, unconditionally. I’m grateful for the excited and happy kisses Grayson gives me every morning when we wake up and how he springs off the bed, ready to go even though he has no clue what we’re doing that day. I’m grateful for their positivity and how even just watching them sleep brings so much joy to my heart.”
“Today I’m grateful for this beautiful weather. I didn’t realize how much I needed a little bit of sunshine on my face today and I am grateful for this day.”
“Today I am grateful for Sheri and how much she cares about me. Getting a call from her always makes my day and I am so grateful to have her looking out for me and thinking about me often.”
I’m just gonna say it, meditation is really hard for me. It’s not something that comes easy to me at all and I honestly find a lot more power out of the gratitude practice than meditation. With that said, there are still types of meditation that I find useful and it’s all about finding what’s best for you. Here are a few ideas for you to try and see if they work for you. I will say, giving meditation a true shot at working is a must. Don’t give up on it so quickly, but really immerse yourself for a week of a meditation routine and then decide. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and can feel weird at first, but it gets less uncomfy, especially if you allow yourself to give into it – I promise.
Most people who know me know that I don’t love working out just to work out. Quarantine shockingly changed that a little bit! In the beginning, I signed up for Peleton’s app classes which are fantastic, even if you don’t have a spin bike. Now, we have a Peleton bike in our home to keep up with the workouts, which we decided was the best fit for us. I also utilize Rajni Yoga’s Youtube channel for stretches, yoga, and meditations. It doesn’t matter how you like to get active or exercise, but it does contribute positively to your mental health. Even doing a 5 minute core class or flailing around for a 20 minute “dance cardio” makes me feel like I accomplished something and getting that heart rate up feels GOOD!
Another one where you’re like “ugh yup, I’ve seen that suggestion, nothing new.” Well, buckle up cause there’s a reason that it’s the best thing you can do for yourself!! I’m not going to lecture you on how or what to eat because I’m sure you know what’s healthy for you and not. I do want to share my personal experiences with what 3 specific things affect my mental health:
This is one of my most popular pins on Pinterest and it’s because we need this reminder! Even if you’re a mom taking care of a clan of kids, or if you’re living alone with your pets – take some time to focus on yourself. Whether it’s daily or weekly, you need YOU time. This time to clear your thoughts, reflect on yourself and how you’re feeling is so important and there’s a million excuses to not to this but you just need to DO IT. Take a bath, go on a walk by yourself, sit outside and listen to your fav playlist, audiobook or podcast, watch twelve episodes of Zumbo’s Just Desserts – whatever it is!! Take the time for you and make yourself a priority. You are just as important as the other people or pets you’re taking care of.
Make someone’s day by giving a loved one a call or set up a Zoom date to catch up with your friends, family, cousins, whoever. This quarantine life can be very isolating, even for people surrounded by other people. Take the time to connect with the other people in your life that you love. Having easy conversations with loved ones, laughing or playing games, talking about the weather or the deer outside your window – whatever it is you talk about with them, it’s nice to chat for a while and often will refill your emotional bank account.
Remember we can’t do it all and we are all human. It’s okay to not feel okay and it’s okay to feel your feelings. You’re not alone in any of these issues and there are people (LIKE ME!!!!) who care about you and know how amazing, special and truly unique you are. Sending you a virtual hug <3
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