7 Non-Negotiable Steps to Managing Your Anxiety For Better Productivity
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This weekend I was curled up on the sofa, watching TV with a warm mug of tea. An idyllic & rare scene for some busy entrepreneurs! A day with no plans, no distractions – me time!
And yet – I couldn’t shake this uneasy feeling sitting in the bottom of my stomach.
What have I forgotten, what should I be doing?
Nagging me – this constant cycle of what have I missed, why do I feel nervous, I must have forgotten something.
If you know, you know! Welcome to the world of anxiety! And that’s on a good day….
If you suffer from anxiety, you know there is no way to immediately ‘fix’ it. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to manage it!
Today I’m going to share the 7 steps I took to help manage my anxiety – and I’d absolutely love to hear yours too!
One of the key components of anxiety is negative thinking. We live in our minds 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.. and if we tell ourselves something enough, it starts to become our reality!
It’s so important to remember, just because our minds tell us something – doesn’t mean it’s true. When struggling with mental health, our thoughts can become warped by negativity & low self-esteem.
Stop and listen to how you talk to yourself. Note down any negative thoughts when they arrive & write down any evidence that shows these anxious thoughts aren’t true. It’s your anxiety talking!
Let’s say you make a mistake at work, your thought pattern could instantly be ‘my client will fire me, I’m rubbish at my job, I always make mistakes.’
Is this really true? How many times has your client told you how great you are, or that they are really happy with your work! How many mistakes do you make in comparison to how many you don’t.
By looking at the evidence, you can train your brain to think differently & realise that those instant thoughts are often far from accurate!
Our lovely client Tracey, founder of The Proud Company – offers incredible content that can help you to change your mindset and transform your outlook and approach to life. Her aim is to help you change your ‘brain tape’ as you know it. You absolutely HAVE to try this x3 free part training that she created. It’s a no brainer if you’re ready to start making effective changes in your life each day.
Tracey also offers a monthly membership, which includes daily content, tips and recordings to listen too. So, whether you’re a busy corporate that struggles with Sunday dread creeping in, or you’re an ambitious entrepreneur that can’t switch off, holding all the stress of running your own business – this is PERFECT for you.
When you start observing your thoughts, chances are your self-awareness will improve a whole lot! You’ll probably even notice a few patterns in your anxious thoughts! This is the key to understanding your anxiety triggers.
Keep a journal and write down what negative thoughts are creeping the most. What happened in the lead up to these thoughts, what situation may be causing them? Is there anything you can do to stop this situation happening again?
Maybe you find that you have a client who is causing you to feel overwhelmed & stressed, triggering negative feelings & anxiety. If that’s the case – it might be time to say goodbye or set some boundaries!
What about if you’re in a situation that is unavoidable or you just can’t figure out where the anxiety is coming from. Like me, relaxing on the sofa on a Saturday afternoon! Sometimes, anxiety decides to pop in uninvited.
We can’t always escape it, but we can do a few things to prevent it, starting with looking at what we put in our body!
If you are struggling with anxiety, I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep an eye on your caffeine & alcohol intake. You might be thinking ‘but alcohol helps me feel better & less stressed’!
I hear you! Alcohol might make you feel great at the time, but it actually depletes your serotonin (happy hormone) causing you to feel more nervous, anxious and pretty rubbish!
Alcohol is a depressant, while caffeine acts as a stimulant. Both can disrupt sleep patterns and even cause further stress. Ever had a case of the alcohol blues? I know I have! No matter how great it feels at the time, if it’s leaving you feeling down, anxious or stressed for days after – cut it out!
Most of us rely on our morning coffee fix, but when you’re keeping your anxious thoughts journal – keep an eye on the next time you have a coffee, how do you feel after? Caffeine is a common anxiety trigger – so if you find yourself feeling uneasy for no reason in the morning, it might be worth limiting your caffeine intake for a while. Try cutting down to one cup a day, perhaps straight after lunch – when you really need that boost!
For an incredible caffeine alternative, I loveeee Hybrid Herbs, it’s a natural blend that offers energy, better sleep & is even proven to help with stress & anxiety. It’s a highly recommended source from close friends of mine too.
You can even get it tasting like your morning cappuccino by following one of their yummy recipes from their Instagram page!
I don’t need to tell you that life as an entrepreneur is unbelievably busy! The online world is fast-paced and runs 24/7. Which is great for business, but what about our brains?
Do you ever think to yourself, ‘I never used to be so forgetful, why can’t I stay focused, or retain information?’ Technology has changed the world, but it has also caused us to be overstimulated, with a sensory overload of never-ending tabs, notifications and emails.
Constantly being busy, without a break might feel productive – but it isn’t. Overworking our minds makes us less productive, forgetful and have a huge impact on our mental wellbeing. How Constantly Being Busy Affects Your Well-Being (verywellmind.com)
One of the simplest ways to manage anxiety is to give your mind time to unwind! Take a break from the screen every now and then & get outside, read a book or just relax. I guarantee you’ll be more productive & find yourself able to focus.
If you find it hard to take breaks, schedule it into your calendar – just 15 minutes to yourself can help you to refocus and give your brain a well-deserved break.
Mindfulness is an incredible tool for managing anxiety. Practicing mindfulness means that when you feel the anxiety bubbling up inside you, you are able to mentally take yourself away from the situation – which helps you to regain control and focus.
My husband is pretty much a mindfulness guru and teaching me mindfulness has done wonders for my anxiety. Mindfulness is more than taking time out, it’s training your brain to be present & focus on something other than the anxiety storm going on inside our head. Just as we train our bodies, we can train our minds too – it just takes a bit of practice!
We all know we need to exercise to keep fit & healthy. But exercise doesn’t just help keep our bodies fit, it’s great for anxiety too! Exercising releases endorphins (another happy hormone) giving us a boost of pleasure.
I know, I know – most of us don’t relate exercise to pleasure! But I PROMISE the results are worth it for an anxious brain. If you hate the idea of going for a run, find something you enjoy! I personally find the concept of working out every day a bit overwhelming, but the lovely Kate once told me to just start the day with a super simple 10-15 minute workout. You don’t even need to get dressed or have breakfast, just get your body moving! Since I took away the pressure of a lengthy, gruelling work out I’ve finally been consistent and I start my day with a sense of achievement! Here’s a link to the pilates routine I’m following!
The key thing to remember is that exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Whether its walking, swimming, rollerblading or sailing. Being active makes us feel good & takes our mind off our worries!
Remember, you are NOT alone! If you’re struggling with anxious thoughts, talk to someone, bottling everything inside isn’t good for anyone! A bad spell of anxiety can cause us to lose our sense of reality, especially if we isolate ourselves or don’t talk to anyone. Talk to your friends, family, a support group or a mental health professional.
A few professionals I recommend:
Anxiety Support Groups:
This is something that I have struggled with my whole life. I understand how debilitating it can be. But, with these 7 steps to managing our anxiety, there are things that we can do to help our symptoms & stop it from holding us back completely!
If you suffer with anxiety, how do you manage your symptoms and stay present? I’d love to know!