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FIRST OFF – Apologies as it has been WAY too long since we gave our website some love. We have really been focusing on our Youtube Channel these past few months and unfortunately with working full time we can’t do it all. However for the next 11 months we want to focus more on the site and brining you all more lifestyle content with a major focus on LIFE.
To kick off…
A few weeks ago I wrote on Instagram Stories a bit about my struggle with anxiety and tips that I have used to overcome it. When I ran a poll on if people would like me to write a long form blog post pertaining to this advice I got an overwhelming response. I guess – to make a long story short – I never knew how many young women really struggled from this. When I had my first panic attack, which was the scariest moment of my life, I never thought anyone else would understand that indescribable pain. When I started opening up to people close to me I received mixed responses… But I get it. To people that have never experienced TRUE anxiety & panic they can’t relate and almost shrug you off to being *dramatic*. However YOU ALL gave me the strength to write this and write it so that if you are currently struggling – you are not alone and you are DEFINITLEY NOT being dramatic.
To give a little bit of back story I have not suffered from anxiety my whole life. It started when I moved to New York. My first panic attack happened when I was in Las Vegas with friends in 2015. I unfortunately was all alone because I decided to not go out the final night, so I wouldn’t be hungover for my flight. Instead I experienced something that at that time I had no idea about. I thought I was having a heart attack. I was so far from home, no one to talk to, and a full night to wait until I could board my plane home. I couldn’t sleep so I went to the airport, sat and prayed for this feeling to end – it didn’t. The worst part of anxiety is that no one knows what is going on in your mind. From the outside you look so normal but in the inside you can’t settle down you can’t calm your mind. When I finally got back to my apartment in Brooklyn I was an utter mess. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t laugh, I couldn’t sleep & I had be at work at 7:30am the next day. Somehow I fell asleep for 2 hours and made it into the office. The next day, after work, I went right to the doctor where I was prescribed medication. At that point in time I thought that was the only solution…. Which seems so crazy to me now.
After 4 months on that medication I threw it out and knew I could kick this any other way. I wanted to be able to conquer this ongoing feeling. During those 4 months I thought that trigger of anxiety would never end. But I knew deep down that I was so much stronger than this and I have always been so mentally strong, throughout my whole life.
In comes my family, mom, dad, kelly, my boyfriend Kyle. The people that I leaned on most. And the place where my first tip comes in.
1.) Family will always be the most important people in your life. They are your support system, they know you inside and out. They will never let you down. A simple call to my mom when I was feeling anxious has been able to bring a calmness to my mind. Being able to fully open up to them and cry to them without any judgement has helped me get to the healthy mental state I am in now.
2.) Bye Bye Caffeine. Simple science will tell us that caffeine rapidly improves your heart rate. It not only does that but also has the ability to change your mood. Caffeine causes you to go from a very high HIGH to a very low LOW, when the boost in energy wears off. To people that suffer from any sort of anxiety or depression, caffeine can be your worst nightmare. Again I am obviously not a doctor but from a lot of my friends that have overcame anxiety this has been a major key in their journey.
3.) A cut back on alcohol. This one took me a little longer than the others to learn. I realized that every time I was having a panic attack it was stemming from my poor mental state when being hungover. I mean alcohol is a depressant. So it does what it is called – it makes you over think, huge component to the Sunday Blues, and causes your overall physical state to deter. All in all IT CAN MAKE YOU FEEL BAD ABOUT YOURSELF! Being hungover truly sucks. Due to all of this I have made a very conscious effort to cut back on drinking. I try to only “go out” one night a week, absolutely no drinking on Sunday’s and if I do drink during the week, it is only 1 glass of wine at dinner. I would say this is the #1 thing that has truly helped curb my mental state. I also went 25 days in January sober – YAY!
4.) Any sort of physical activity!!!! When I started working out regularly again like I was doing in high school & college.. I can’t comprehend to you the enormous change. ENDORPHINS ARE REAL PEOPLE. (Elle Woods was not lying). It was hard for me at first to carve out the time, but getting myself into workout classes with amazing instructors has been completely life changing. When you feel good about yourself your mind begins to see things a different way. Which in turns makes you feel a different way. I highly recommend any sort of work out that combines meditation & high intensity. If you live in NYC please DM for a list of classes I recommend in the city!!
5.) Quick tips if you are having a panic attack – There are a few things that have brought me comfort if I am in the midst of an anxiety attack. #1) Tea. #2) Something heavy on my chest, this has been anything from multiple blankets, to a heating pad. #3) Having someone you are close to near. Even if not physically, on the phone will bring you comfort. #4) A TV show or movie that you have seen a million times that makes you laugh. This for me is How I Met Your Mother. I don’t know why this helps but it will clear your mind & focus.
6.) Finally, finding a doctor you trust to talk through it with. It was hard at first living in NYC because I didn’t have a doctor that I found comfort in. So when I was able to go back home to Indiana and talk through what was going on, with my youth doctor that truly brought something back in me. This one is hard to describe but I promise getting that doctor on the phone to talk through the facts will help put your mind at ease. Even if your choice is also to find a therapist or psychotherapist. All amazing options that just show you are going in the right direction.
Overall, as I said, I am not in any way trying to take the place of a doctor but more so give you any tips that can somehow impact how you are dealing with anxiety. Remember that you are not alone & for my people living far from home – always know that at any point in time you can go home. Just knowing that will get you through even the toughest of times. If you ever want to discuss this topic further, the quickest way to get in touch is always direct message on Instagram. 🙂
Thank you so much Courtney! This has been so helpful! I, too, suffer from anxiety and I’ve learned that masking it only makes it worse. Working out these past few months has definitely helped me. Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed I open my window all the way and just take in the fresh air. I know it sounds weird but it reminds me how much bigger the world is than me and my small problems and kind of puts things into perspective. Even when its freezing cold it just relaxes me.