Dealing with anxiety
Prior to COVID 19, the most common reason for people needing a massage was musculoskeletal issues.. Since the reopening of the practice, my most common request is a relaxing massage to help with anxiety.
Even though I do not have the licensing to work with anxiety directly (not a licensed counselor), I do have some tricks up my sleeve for dealing with anxiety in general. I am no stranger to anxiety, and neither are some of my children. So, without attempting to diagnose or treat anyone, I would like to share some of my ideas about coping with anxiety. ( Please keep in mind that you should seek professional help if your anxiety is paralyzing and or/ suicide thought inducing. )
1. Setting up a normalizing routine, as early in the day as possible. While it may seem boring to do the same thing over and over again, this routine gives the body and mind a sense of rhythm that can be comforting. Don't try to follow anyone else's routine, unless that makes sense to you. I love my coffee and Bible in the morning. I love a relaxed start of the day with a moderately paced cleaning up routine.
2. Grounding activity for the mind-- This doesn't have to be actually in the ground, but something physical with the hands and/ or entire body. The physical act of using our hands connects our minds to reality, but in a peaceful, sensible way.
3. Balance out the senses-- Too much time on the screen is only giving the visual senses stimulation and often without any time to really stop and think. We all know we need a media break. Maybe this will be the last thing you read on your computer today? Wouldn't that be nice? That idea of smelling the flowers is a real thing. Use all of the senses and see what happens.
4. Get outside-- Even if the weather isn't perfect , it's good to at least walk around the yard or the neighborhood. Who knows? You might actually see REAL people.
5. Get connected--Social distancing does not need to mean isolation. I realize that some people really do need to protect themselves from this virus in an extreme way, due to prior health conditions. Be wise about your health. I get it. But you can talk to people in other ways. Get creative. Set up your lawn chairs and make some friends.
6. Trust the facts, not feelings. When you are in a panicked state, feelings take over and run to extremes. It might be helpful to keep turning back to the facts of what has already happened and what is happening rather than what could happen. When we sit and look at the facts, life is just a little bit more manageable.
7. Remember a time when life was good, and imagine yourself going back there. For me, it is recounting God's faithfulness in a time of uncertainty. Some times life is hard, but it is much harder without God. Don't run before God in your mind. There's a time for looking at the future, but in a state of anxiety, this is not the time. We should recognize when we are struggling with anxiety and make a mental note to not make decisions about the future during this time. Make decisions about the future when you are at peace.
8. Recognize your own patterns. I know myself, and I know when the chips are down. I knew things were getting bad in April when my old "friend" anxiety showed up. Know thy enemy. I watched myself go through the wringer as I worked through each issue. Although it wasn't fun, I knew enough to know that I have seen this battle before and been on the other side of it many times. I would get there again. and again.
9. Give yourself permission to be human. Anxiety is complex human emotion. Without a powerful brain, there would be no need to worry about anything. And yet without a brain, we would have no complex ability to do all that can do as humans. It's quite amazing. Sometimes, we need to take the time to recognize and appreciate this complexity. Perhaps it is for that reason that our creator took a Shabbat, knowing that we needed it even more. If you are struggling with anxiety, when it the last time this concept of Shabbat was a part of your life?
10. You are not alone. Almost everyone that I have had contact with in the last month has had some form of anxiety or depression as a result of all that is going on in our world right now. I think we need to be honest about this and encourage genuine dialog between friends, colleagues, and clients. We aren't "not trusting God" if we admit we are struggling in this area. Some of best moments are when we are the lowest. But keep in mind, you have the freedom to reach out to a professional counselor. There is no shame in it, and it might just be the best thing to do!
Hope this helps! It was fun writing this list. If you think that a quieting massage would help you also, don't hesitate to contact me. http://rockfordmassage.com