Anyone who combats anxiety knows that there’s no cure for taming the beast that lives inside of you. Sure, there are meditation methods, medication plans, and several other “fixes” that people will suggest, but no one goes to bed with anxiety and wakes up totally rid of it.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that some of the said suggestions don’t hold some validity. Life with anxiety is a marathon, not a sprint. So it’s the little wins along the way that add up to a healthier you. It’s tools like these small lifestyle changes that you can use to your advantage in the battle against your mind.
Here are 5 Small Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Combat Anxiety
1. Limit Your Screen Time
For most of us, reverting to our phones — particularly social media — is often an escape from whatever is going on around us. Whether you’re escaping boredom in a doctor’s office or escaping the laundry list of to-do’s that life has thrown at you, too much screen time is a recipe for disaster. Make small decisions each day to help wean you from that unnecessary sensory overload. Silence your phone and put it in a different room while watching Netflix. Trade in your phone alarm for an actual alarm clock and turn your phone off when you go to sleep.
I also like to use the screen time app in my iPhone to set physical limits on mindless scrolling.
More often than not, what we subconsciously turn to as an escape, winds up being a pile of emails, a comparison game of life, and an overwhelming world of anxiety.
2. Establish a Healthy Bedtime Routine
This goes hand-in-hand with #1, in that one of the most common things keeping us from a good night’s sleep, is our cell phone. So often, we work late, get home late, eat late, and then in a desperate need to unwind, we binge-watch Netflix while simultaneously scrolling mindlessly through feeds of unnecessary information, until we fall asleep on the couch.
Find healthier methods to unwind. Turn off your phone. Eat your dinner at the kitchen table, get ready for bed before you sit down to relax by washing your face, brushing your teeth, getting comfortable and preparing your body and mind for rest. And then if you must, watch a show or two with your phone turned off, and a limit of two episodes of The Office. Then GET UP from the couch, and GO TO bed.
These subtle changes to your evening can make a world of a difference.
3. Establish a Healthy Morning Routine
Wake up with a goal of combatting your anxiety, and start your day off with small lifestyle changes that will help you succeed.
Never underestimate the power of a clean space. Wake up and make your bed first thing in the morning. Not only will you have accomplished something before the day has even gotten started, but you’ve got something to look forward to coming home to.
Stay away from the cell phone — do you notice a common theme here? It can be so easy to roll over to your phone alarm, swipe it off, and immediately open Facebook or your emails. STOP THE MADNESS PEOPLE!! Those emails can wait, and Facebook has nothing but depressing news, baby announcements, and RANDOM videos to show you.
Wake up and make your bed, get yourself ready for the day, and get on your way. I would even challenge you to keep your phone off until you get to the office. It’s safer for driving, safer for your mind, and REFRESHING to the soul.
4. Get Your Blood Flowing
Exercising and working out is obviously critical to our physical health, but it also plays a key role in our mental health. You don’t have to join a gym, or add yet another task to your busy day in order to care for your mind though. When you get home at the end of the day, use that time you would normally watch TV to get the blood flowing. Take a walk, go for a jog, hop on the bike, and turn your phone on “Do not disturb.”
It’s amazing how much our physical health is directly related to our mental health. Do this for a week and notice the difference for yourself.
5. Download a Mental Health App
I know I know, I’ve spent this entire article preaching how much we should avoid our phones in our quest to combat anxiety. BUT, there’s no denying that our phones are GOOD tools when they’re used in a healthy way. Check out these 9 Smartphone Apps for Managing Your Mental Health.
You don’t have to change your life to combat anxiety. Simply start small, and make totally do-able changes to the way you already live.
How do you combat anxiety on a daily basis?