15 Ways to Cope with Anxiety
One thing I noticed while going through chemo treatments was that there were times I became really sad, almost to the point of depression. There were days that I didn’t want to get out of bed. To be honest, I felt sorry for myself and that made others feel the same way about me. That was something I never wanted to happen. Those days that I had major anxiety attacks or was too depressed to get out of bed, I hid from my family because I didn’t want them to see how down I was. I made myself believe that my younger brothers shouldn’t see everything that was happening and shut them out whenever I felt sad.
I did, however, make it a point to attend all of their events; soccer games, awards ceremonies, every little thing just so they didn’t see me being sick. I was my brother, Caleb’s biggest fan at every soccer game, on days that I had chemo, I woke up and told myself that I was feeling great and would be there supporting him at every varsity soccer game, and I was there for every game, it also helped that the entire soccer team supported my brother and cheered him up on days he was down.
Although, majority of my days were good days, there were still some but not many were unbearable and I didn’t want to do anything. I found myself in a constant cycle, usually it would be about the third day after chemo that I would be sad for no apparent reason or just completely out of it, the only thing that would help would to go and see my friends or spend time with my parents. I was always that child that had to go everywhere with my parents, and 20 years later nothing has changed, but it got worse during my cancer treatments. Anything and everything they did, I was always right by their side.
Over the course of six months, I learned to manage my anxiety, enough where my mind would forget about all the bad happening. I used these strategies to cope with my anxiety. I am not a doctor, nor will ever be one. So if you are dealing with depression/anxiety I urge you to seek professional help. These strategies are something that kept my mind at ease and allowed myself to be happy and live life as normal as possible while undergoing cancer treatments.
1. Go Outside- the best thing that I did was get some fresh air, on days I was feeling down I would grab a book and just go sit outside for a while.
2. Get plenty of sleep- Sleep is what you need, especially after chemo or radiation treatment. If you are having anxiety go take a nap, no electronics, do distractions just go to sleep.
3. Talk to someone- Sometimes all you need is to talk to someone, just go out with friends, talk to your coworkers, you family anyone that you feel comfortable talking to. Remember no one except you knows how you feel, no one understands how you feel except wen you let them know.
4. Read a book- My favorite thing to do is to read. I love Harry Potter and I have all of the books so that is what I read. Sometimes being taken away into a magical land is better than reality at that moment, and there is nothing wrong with that. Just get lost in your book.
5. Breathing Excercises- My senior year of high school, I had really bad anxiety, I honestly felt like I was having a heart attack. My counselor at the time taught me a square breathing excercise. Breathe in for four seconds, hold it for four, breathe out for four seconds, hold it for four. Repeat until you are calm and relaxed.
6. Excercise- Sometimes when I’m feeling down, I got to the gym, put some music on and just go at it. Once I feel as if my mind is clear and I am relaxed, I feel much better, plus I got my workout in for the day.
7. Lay down next to your pets- There is something about our furry friends that puts our mind at ease. As if they are pulling the stress out of us. My cat, Elsa, knows when I am not feeling well and she just lays on top of me and just stays there. Our pets see more than what we realize and that is why they found us.
8. Listen to music- I love music, if I am having an anxiety attack, I just put my headphones on a get lost to the music. I don’t necessarily listen to the lyrics but the tone of the music relaxes me.
9. Use a stress ball- When I have anxiety, I tend to take my anger out on my family, usually I have a bad attitude with them. I did learn that stress balls ease my anger and allow me to forget what happens while using it.
10. Do something else (Distract Yourself)- Usually if something is causing anxiety, I just stop what I am doing and do something else. If at work, I just put my task aside and come back to it once I am ready.
11. Watch a funny video/tv show- I love watching TV, my obsession right now is WWE, yes, I watch wrestling. It is just entertaining and fun to watch. It takes my mind off of things and honestly it’s just funny to watch.
12. Take a bath- I absolutely hated taking baths and sometimes I still do, I just don’t know what to do. But after rough days at the cancer center, taking a bath was all I needed. I just put some lavender essential oil and epsom salt in the tub and soak in it until the water turns cold.
13. Clean- While cleaning is something nobody wants to do, I find it relaxing. I think my parents enjoy me cleaning to clear my mind, because then the house is clean and that’s one less thing we have to do.
14. Live in the now- I took a scholarship class a couple of weeks ago and the instructor told us to live in the now, don’t dwell in the past and appreciate life. Everything happens for a reason, so just go with the flow.
15. Don’t worry about what hasn’t happened- Stressing over something that hasn’t happened causes more stress. If you’re worried about something that is days away it’s going to cause more anxiety. Instead of being anxious, try looking on the bright side. Tell yourself that you are excited and happy and everything believe it or not everything will go right.