Anxiety is an intense, all-consuming experience. From an overwhelming sense of doom to an all-consuming attack, anxiety can wreak havoc on our bodies and mind. So, how do we deal? When that fight or flight instinct starts to kick in, it can feel like we’re trapped inside our own bodies. So we’re here to suggest a few at-home activities that can help you press pause on your anxiety by redirecting that anxious energy into an activity that might calm you and your nerves.
Give one or all of our tips a try, and see what activities work for you in beating your anxiety!
When stuck in a bout of anxiety, your senses are working in overdrive. So popping into the kitchen and trying your hand at cooking or baking can help soothe some of those senses. Pick a new recipe you’re excited to try--something truly mouthwatering like these Greek lemon oven-roasted chicken thighs, or bake something festive for the season. Bread recipes like this one for rosemary Parmesan bread are great because the act of kneading the bread will require that you get your hands and your thoughts involved in the project. From watching the recipes come together to inhaling the smell of the final result, cooking and baking can be a productive, and tasty, self-soothing technique.
If you’re a SheFactor Podcast regular, then you already know that our fearless leader, Tori Ganahl, has implemented a mandatory dance break into all of our daily routines! If you missed it, here’s why you should: it’s hard to stay down when you’re moving your body around. According to Anxiety.org, dancing (or what they term “dance movement therapy”) “uses expressive movement and breathing to deflate hyper-aroused thoughts.” Convinced yet? Get up and move to the groove of one of these dance tunes on the Girl Power Playlist created for SheFactor by A Time and a Playlist. Also, feel free to listen to yourself--if more soothing tunes are what your body and mind are craving, that’s cool too!
What better way is there to express yourself than through art? You don’t have to be a professional to be successful at it - in fact, doing art “your way” is what makes it so special. Art requires some tactile creation that comes from within yourself, which is what makes it so beneficial as an outlet for easing anxiety. Some examples of approachable art projects include scrapbooking, finger painting, or coloring in a coloring book. Like cooking, getting hands-on in this activity will help you refocus your nervous energy that comes from anxiety. Plus, the nostalgic aspect of art will bring you a childhood sense of calm. Start with a simple form of arts and crafts, and try to not be too concerned about the end result. It doesn’t have to turn out pretty, it just has to be fun!
Puzzles come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re definitely not just for kids! The adult versions of puzzles are these expansive, 1,000-10,000 piece jigsaw puzzles of beautiful landscapes, scenery, or art. No matter what your age, puzzles are great at providing you with a feeling of accomplishment. The reward of seeing the finished piece is helpful for alleviating anxiety because with anxiety often comes a feeling of loss of control. Whereas, with a puzzle, you can work towards creating something beautiful, one piece at a time. So zone out for a little bit, pick a puzzle with a graphic of something inspiring, and feel in control as you complete it, one piece at a time.
Does your mind feel like it’s just overflowing? Anxiety can materialize as a million racing thoughts and can feel very overwhelming. Well, good news -- you can let some of those thoughts out through writing! Whether it’s stories, letters, journaling, or just stream-of-thought free writing, putting pen to paper is the perfect way to express our pent-up emotions and feelings. Just let it all out on the page, in whatever way is helpful for you. If you need a bit of direction on where to start, try some of these SheFactor journaling prompts geared toward gratitude.
The goal of any activity that encourages or requires mindfulness is to help anchor you in the present moment. Oftentimes, anxiety can remove us from the present moment as we start to worry about the past or future, and all the “what ifs” in this world. The great thing about mindfulness exercises is that you can choose from a variety of activities, based on what suits you, and achieve impactful results. Whether it’s yoga, meditation, or just some simple deep breathing exercises, these activities result in increased mindfulness because they really require you to focus on something right here and now. Remove yourself from your anxiety, and land in the present moment, by becoming actively aware of your body and your surroundings through these types of exercises. If you’re looking for some apps to help guide your mindfulness journey, check out our previous blog post here!