Sleep Routine for Anxiety

There are many different factors in your life that can contribute to your anxiety. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it means that these factors can be leveraged as tools to support your mental health. A couple of major influences on your anxiety levels include lack of sleep duration or lack of quality sleep. Each of these factors can have a great impact on your mental health.  A sleep routine catered to your needs can make a big difference in your mental health.

What is a Sleep Routine?

Perhaps the idea of a sleep routine is foreign to you, so let’s start with the basics. A sleep routine is a routine you practice every night before you sleep. This could last any length of time that works for you. Some people have a 15 minute sleep routine, whereas others have one that takes 2 hours. It’s all about creating a sequence of activities that suits you.

What are the Benefits of a Sleep Routine?

Falling Asleep

There is so much that a sleep routine can offer, especially for those struggling with anxiety. Firstly, a sleep routine can help you fall asleep. Falling asleep is so difficult for some people, as this time of day tends to remove distractions and can leave you with your own racing thoughts. By setting a predetermined sequence of events, you can teach your body to expect sleep once the routine is complete. Of course, this can take some time. But if you struggle with getting to sleep, it’s totally worth it.

Duration of Sleep

Let’s face it: there’s never enough time in the day to get everything done! But it can be tough to settle in when you feel like your to-do list is piling up. This is another good reason to start a sleep routine. A big part of the routine is having a set time at which the routine begins. This allows you to stay consistent with your bedtime.

Not only that, but creating a consistent flow of sleep duration (when you go to sleep and get up) will allow you to sleep better throughout the night. Again, this call comes back to creating expectations. Your body will know when it is time to sleep, and eventually how long it can expect to sleep by repeating the same pattern.

Quality of Sleep

Giving yourself time and space to wind down at the end of the night can enhance the quality of your sleep too. Slowly bringing yourself to a state of relaxation can influence the quality of your sleep. Plus, if a part of your sleep routine includes managing some things that will help you in the morning (such as choosing your outfit or packing your lunch), this can impact your stress and cortisol levels, which in turn influences your sleep.

Sleep Routine Ideas

Your sleep routine should be as unique as you are. It’s important to add in elements that help you wind down, reduce stress, and create a sense of routine. Here are some ideas of what you can implement:

  • Herbal, non-caffeinated tea
  • Bath or shower
  • Reading
  • Essential Oils
  • Dim lights
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Skincare
  • Breathing exercises
  • Colouring
  • Stretching
  • Journaling
  • Light a candle
  • Relaxing music

Having a sleep routine can influence your mental health and your anxiety in a positive way. It can help you feel more prepared so that you worry less and relax easier. It does require a little bit of conscious decision making and consistency, but it’s so worth it for the benefit it can bring.

Sleep well!

Anxiety Roller Coaster: The Least Fun Ride Ever

When I was 16 years old, I had my first panic attack. Not a feeling of panic, but a full blown, out-of-my-own-reality panic attack. I felt the intense weight of the depersonalization and derealization as the world seemed to slip away from me. I’ve never been the same since. I’ve been struggling with some pretty intense anxiety for the past 10 years. For the most part it would come and go. I’ve had really good weeks, and really bad weeks. On some occasions it’s been so awful that I became agoraphobic. Anxiety has kept me from meeting new people, taking healthy risks, getting the grades in school I was worthy of, and even getting my drivers license.

ugh

 

More recently the experience has been more akin to waking up on the wrong side of the bed. I feel so wrong and uncomfortable, but I can’t explain why. The little things bother me, the really little things, like having to get cream for my coffee, or not having my clothes hanging in the closet ‘just-so’. When things don’t go ‘according to plan’ – this has also historically been a big trigger for me, as well as being exhausted or hungry. Needless to say, I’ve felt pretty vulnerable.

Anxiety is a slow build up. It’s like the rise before you get to the top of the largest hill on the roller-coaster. You hear the slow clicks as you ascend closer and closer to the top. You know exactly what’s coming. But you can’t stop it. Suddenly it’s that moment before the drop – the beginning of the panic attack – the adrenaline rushing through your veins. Fear takes over, you are in fight or flight mode; feeling like your life is in jeopardy. But it’s not. You’re just walking the dog, or getting bread at the store, washing the dishes, or riding a roller coaster.

It is likely I have some genetic predisposition for anxiety and panic attacks. Of course there are environmental factors at play too. For a long time I felt that it was an inevitable part of life, and the only way to deal with it would be to smother it with alcohol or prescription medication. One day I changed my mind, and I decided that I would figure out how to live life in such a way that my anxiety would always be manageable.

I found a way. Self-care is extremely important when it comes to managing anxiety. I know what gets me in a bad space and I avoid those situations. These are the following changes I have made to better manage my anxiety:

  • Sleep. Specifically, getting more of it. I know that when I’m tired I simply do not function well. I’m not talking about just being a little sleepy. I get complete brain fog, and I can’t think properly. And not thinking properly is a recipe for disaster. I need at least 7 hours a night!
  • Exercise. It’s good for the body and the mind. It gives me a healthy outlet for any of my negative feelings. And exercise releases good endorphins into your body, physically making you feel good!
  • Limiting Refined Carbs. A lot of people with anxiety aren’t aware that there is a long list of foods that can trigger anxiety. I found this out in a very round about way: I cut out refined carbs during my last cut, and I saw a noticeable decrease in my anxiety. In general I had a greater sense of well-being and more balanced moods.
  • Spending time with positive people. It’s the worst to spend hours and hours in a downward spiral of negativity. Energy is contagious. It’s important to be around people who want to talk about hopes, dreams, and possibilities. Not people who will get you thinking about all the difficulties of life.
  • Limiting Alcohol. I don’t go out partying like I did before (I’m getting old now anyways). In the moment I always feel great. It’s the next day when my body is recovering and all out of whack that I struggle with my moods. One night out every one in a while is okay. Binge drinking every weekend is not an option for me.
  • Relaxing, or “me time”. This one has always, always been hard for me. Sometimes I have to force myself to sit down and relax. But I absolutely need to do it. I need to stop and hold time every once in a while, whether that means sitting down for a movie with my significant other or taking a half hour at the coffee shop to read, I take downtime now.

The worst thing about having anxiety is when it disrupts your relationships. Yes, I’ve cancelled plans with friends before because I wasn’t practicing proper self-care and just felt overwhelmed with anxiety. I’ve lashed out at people I love because I didn’t know how to deal with the feelings I was having inside. No one should have to live that way. Anxiety is a cruel monster, and I won’t let it creep up on me anymore. I have daily practices in place to keep my anxiety under control, and when I follow those guidelines to a T I’m at my very best. No panic attacks. This is my way of beating anxiety – the natural way – so I can bring my best foot forward every day and live a happy, healthy, and full life.

20 Things You Can Do to Cope (the Healthy Way)

Hey you guys! I hope everyone had a wonderful week.

But just so you know, this post is more so for those who didn’t have such a wonderful week. I’m talking about the strugglers; the bad-day-ers, the self-sabotagers.

Sometimes when we’re hurting we want to escape, and we all have different vices. Some drink, some get high, some overeat, and some self-harm. But when you get down to it, these are all just the strategies we habitually run to when we want a way out of feeling the way that we do.

It takes a while to realize that these activities actually don’t make us feel better; they bury our pain. And it’s temporary. It will rise to the surface again, and the cycle will repeat itself until we learn to actually deal with our feelings in a healthy and constructive way.

 

 

Today, I’m making a list of all the things you can do besides engaging in any unhealthy coping activities. I suggest trying at least 5 – 10 in any given situation, because hey sometimes one just isn’t quite enough.

  1. Call a friend
  2. Get outside
  3. Hug an animal
  4. Watch funny videos on Youtube
  5. Organize your closet
  6. Cocoon yourself in a blanket
  7. Tell someone you love them
  8. Light some candles
  9. Yoga
  10. Watch a cartoon
  11. Deep breaths in and out
  12. Go for a workout
  13. SING AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS
  14. Take a nap
  15. Look in the mirror and say ” I love you “
  16. Look up travel pictures
  17. Draw/ Color a picture
  18. Find support for what you’re going through (counselor/friend/support group)
  19. Take a bath
  20. Dance (whether someone is watching or not)

I know these seem like simple things, and that’s because they are. Who wants complicated in the heat of a difficult moment? I hope you’ll consider some of these options the next time you’re in a bind!

Keep your head up, strong babes!

“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it”