You may be overwhelmed right now, and not know where to start with managing your anxiety – you may consider an at-home anxiety checklist. With all that has happened this year, even if you didn’t have anxiety before, you may have developed it now. There are several ways you can combat anxiety, without spending a ton on medication or other therapies.
We will go through a quick anxiety checklist of things you can do for yourself to feel better. Finish your day with less stress, get better sleep and have more energy the next day. This is a practical anxiety checklist you can run through. All it needs is less than ten minutes to read.
The activities typically take less than one hour of your time to complete. And you can pick and choose which activities best fit your situation. So long as you make a sincere commitment to see these suggested strategies through, you’ll be on your way to a more relaxed state of mind.
8 Things to Add to Your Anxiety Checklist
1. Deep Breathing Exercises
This is also called belly breathing, the kind that involves your diaphragm, the muscle at the base of your lungs. This is in contrast to shallow breathing that we often do when we are nervous or stressed. Shallow breathing deprives the body from enough oxygen, making you feel even more wound-up.
To force your body to relax, and get enough oxygen to relax, you have to consciously take deep breaths with your diaphragm. Touch right beneath your ribcage with your palm, take a breath with the nose, not the mouth.
You should be able to feel your diaphragm as it pulls in and pushes out air. Repeat the action, as needed until your mind feels calm. Do not take fast, consecutive deep breaths, until you feel lightheaded. You can hyperventilate.
2. How to meditate
This takes just ten minutes of your day. It’s a way to train your mind to calm down and feel the present. We often feel anxious because we think of the past or worry about the future. Take ten minutes to focus on the present and give your mind a break.
There are so many meditation apps that can help you set up a meditation habit. Look for one that you like and use it everyday. Or you can set an alarm for ten minutes a day of quiet time for yourself.
3. Make self-care a priority
This isn’t the sort of thing only women do. Men have to self-care, too. Self-care can be an afternoon to get a massage, take a long bath or get your nails done. It can also be a half hour run or a work out.
If you’re more of a homebody, your idea of self-care might be reading a novel and having tea away from all the noise.
If you’re an extrovert, relaxing could be group activities, reconnecting with friends or meeting new people. If you are unable to meet with people at the moment, give them a call. Get some outside time with a short stroll.
4. No more sugary, caffeinated drinks
If you’re really struggling with anxiety, you’ll have to make adjustments to your diet. Eliminating sodas, coffee, and pre-workout drinks reduces heart palpitations, and other bodily reactions to anxiety.
Your central nervous system is already overstimulated, that’s why you are experiencing anxiety. It’s time to clean out your diet and give your body a break.
Drinking water as a substitute! Your body will thank you.
5. Fix financial stress
Possibly the most common stress is not having enough money. If finding a higher paying job, or finding a job is not an option, clean up your family budget to save more money.
Organizing your expenses is the fastest way to feel in control of your financial destiny. First you need to track your expenses, then look for areas where you can cut back to save more money.
Where to cut back:
- Paid subscriptions for entertainment (TV, music, etc)
- Ask your insurance, credit card, internet and mobile carriers to have you switch to a plan that costs less, or if they can reduce your bill some other way
- Get a roommate to split the rent or negotiate with your landlord to reduce your rent
6. Clean the house
There’s no better time to audit your belongings, and sell a few things. Start with gadgets and appliances that no longer get regular use. You can also sell your furniture and house plants. Items that don’t get much use but have some resale value.
It is more difficult to resell things like clothes, curtains and sheets, toys, and books. Most people just donate these things. But if you have the time, post your more expensive items on Facebook marketplace or Craigslist and see if you get an offer.
You get to clean your living space and make more room to breath for yourself, while padding your wallet.
7. Practice good sleep
People who are sleep deprived have reduced immunity and are more prone to mental illnesses. So make it a priority to get good sleep quality. Go to bed at the same time every evening. Don’t stay up past your bedtime.
Give yourself an hour to wind down from an active day before going to bed. Create a routine for yourself before bedtime, that will set the mood for sleep. Your routine may include a bath, laying down to read, or having a hot drink.
Don’t bring work to the bedroom. If you can resist, don’t watch TV or eat in bed, because it stimulates the mind and keeps you awake much longer.
8. Fight negative feelings
There’s a huge difference between feelings and facts. When you make it a habit to distinguish subjective emotions from facts, you won’t have to dwell over negative feelings for much longer. This can take a long time to learn, and this is often what a psychotherapist will help do for you.
You can start and do it for yourself too. A lot of the negative thoughts we repeat in our minds are old habits, possibly habits we had since childhood. Thoughts like “I am not smart” or “I am not good enough”, are learned from a parent, teacher, guardian, partner or other people, which you can unlearn. By examining and discrediting negative feelings and thoughts, you can remove them from your daily life and move on.
Want help devising your anxiety checklist? Make an appointment with a psychiatrist, either in-person or virtually to prioritize what you want to implement first.