How The Instagram Community Helped Me With My Anxiety

Last Friday I had my first panic attack in years. The last one I had was back during a math test (You can see here what a struggle math was for me) in college. Basically the week had been the absolute perfect storm leading up to 4 pm Friday afternoon. I had it at my desk and couldn’t get out of work fast enough. I went to bed at my normal time on Friday night and then woke up at 3 am on Saturday. 3 am. What does one do when they are up literally because they are so worried about stuff? You edit photos, listen to insomnia podcasts, plan your weekend, walk around trying to exhaust yourself and so on. It was terrible. Oh and you get even more mad about how Instagram shows you photos from like six days ago. I think I managed to like every single photo that was posted last week though. So much refreshing. My thumb was tired from liking things.

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On Saturday morning I asked you for your tips on recovering from a panic attack. Totally not understanding how AWESOME you are, I hoped for like two tips. Little did I know. I came back to my phone 30 minutes later and literally had 15 messages. By the end of the day, I had gotten over 50 messages of love and support. Most of you also included the ways that help you rid yourself of anxiety.

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So much for social media being the worst. Being on Instagram actually is the reason I was able to function during the weekend! The great thing is that I was able to leave it for a couple hours, check back in, get even more encouragement and carry on with my day. Oh yeah! And you guys gave me the best encouragement and also your phone numbers. Seriously, isn’t it insane that we can have such a community that people hear you are having a hard time and send you their number for support?

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I asked a lot of you if I could share your anxiety tips and thankfully you all said YES! OF course, the first thing I want to say is that there is NO shame in getting help. One of the best things I’ve done in 2017 has been to get into therapy. I am such an advocate that EVERYONE can benefit from this, even if you don’t feel like anything is wrong. Sometimes you just need to talk to a non-biased person who can help you get where you want to go. I’ve got more to say about how therapy and counseling has been beneficial for me, but that’s for another post. Today we’re here to talk about what you all have shared about what helps your anxiety.

Your Anxiety Tips

  • Scent can really transport you and calm your worries. At first I thought this was a little too hippie. Yet here I am. I got this, but a lot of people swear by lavender. I’m actually going to travel with this work my work trips and slip it into my carry-on.
  • Meditation – truthfully this doesn’t work well for me as when I am alone with myself I tend to be hyper-critical but a lot of you told me you use an app to guide your meditations that help calm you.
  • Turning off social media. Obviously this is counter-intuitive to this whole post, but even if you can for a few hours, take a break from the distractions.
  • Podcasts – you know me, I love podcasts regardless, but the noise is a great distraction even if it’s just on in the background.
  • Go for a walk – this one I heard a lot. The weather in Kansas is GORGEOUS right now so being outside really did help me.
  • Turn off your electronics – read a book and soak up the silence as much as you can.

Anxiety Tips for the Type A

I’m a planner – not shocking. But anxiety has a way of paralyzing me so I’ve had to find little ways to feel in-control when really I feel like I am spiraling downward.

  • Tess shared this with me and I LOVE it! Pick one thing that you CAN control and give yourself a time-limit to work on it, make a mini-plan, and then stop there. For me, I decided to plan out my lunches from Monday-Wednesday. I made my plan, what I needed for groceries and stopped. It was only ONE thing and it wasn’t an immediate need. However it helped me get past my anxiety block.
  • Plan to exercise – One of the things that I know caused the attack was that I didn’t exercise all week. I knew that I should have been and that was making me feel worse. I had no idea the impact that exercise had on me mentally until last week. Plan some sort of activity and if you can’t, if you are feeling anxious, do what you can to get your body moving.
  • Make a realistic to-do list – write out what you KNOW that you can do without pushing yourself. And yes, writing down showering as a to-do, counts!
  • Make a plan for how you are going to help yourself get back on track. For me, I plan how I can work on what I know was a trigger for this and make sure I take care of myself.

Obviously all of these are just suggestions, you have to find what works for you! For me, a mix of all these anxiety tips is what works. Sometimes though what normally works just doesn’t work one time and you have to find another way.

It’s so important to have many ways to deal with anxiety because it means you know yourself and trust me, you will know what’s right. Don’t ignore your gut about what you need. It’s there for a reason.