Managing 20 Something Anxiety

Recently, a friend of mine texted me about going through a rough time. She was experiencing her first ever round of anxiety while trying to cope with regularly stressing issues.  She felt uncomfortable in her own skin, as if something was crawling all over. She thought she felt better until the next onset of stress brought on another wave anxiety. This time, she felt like she couldn’t catch her own breath as it felt like something was sitting on top of her. She didn’t know what to do or what to think about what was going on in her head.

After a few months of working at my first job out of college, I couldn’t contain my emotions. Overall, I felt sad, stressed, and especially on edge. My emotions and feelings were betraying me, as the smallest things would push me to worrying about my future and fearing the next interaction I would have.

Any of these thoughts or feelings sound familiar? These are just a few examples to help you identify an unfamiliar emotion you may feel at some point or another. I did not experience the same anxiety as my friend, but anxiety is scary and uncomfortable for anyone.

I learned to understand and manage my anxiety with professional help, but for some, maybe it’s not as frequent to warrant professional help. Here are a few things to help you understand and manage your 20 Something anxiety:

  1. Remind yourself that anxiety is a completely normal feeling to experience. You may be tempted to ignore it and try to push it off, but as uncomfortable as it is, you have to start out by trying to understand what triggers it for you.
  2. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING – I cannot stress the importance of writing down your feelings at a time like this. You might be thinking “Ugh I don’t want to do that. I don’t do diaries. I’ll just list it out in my head.” And I agree with you, I don’t do diaries either, and sometimes I do get nervous about someone finding my deepest thoughts and feelings written down, but get over all of that.

Writing down your feelings is very important to discovering the heart of the issue. You’d be surprised what you begin to learn about yourself or your mindset  when you bring a pen to paper. As your writing, more and more things come to the  surface that allow you to really see everything that has added to your anxiety.

Prefer to type it out on the computer? Write in a notebook or scrap paper? Whatever works for you! Personally, I like to keep all these moments in one small notebook. When I am having a tough time, I will flip through old pages to see if I experienced a familiar feeling before. How did I handle it? Did I get past it?

3. Spend a few minutes doing something you enjoy. Once you spend about 30 minutes (without distraction) writing out what is in your head; spend another 30 minutes doing something you ENJOY (get your nails done, eat a slice of pizza, or play a game). Allow your thoughts and feelings to cool down after bringing them all to the surface.

Part of learning to live with anxiety is realizing that it won’t just go away when you wake up tomorrow. Sure, you might feel better after distracting yourself, but putting off any anxiety you deal will only allows it to manifest.

That’s the thing about anxiety that makes it so convoluted –  trigger points don’t always make sense and can be rather unexpected. You could think you are perfect healthy and rested, but then it hits and you might not fully understand why. Identifying what causes it and allowing yourself to work through your feelings is a huge step to learning to adjust to anxiety.

If all else fails and you find your anxiety getting worse over the next two weeks, do yourself a favor and make an appointment to speak with a professional. Speaking with a professional is not as intense as it sounds. Most companies/insurance providers usually cover up to 6 or 10 sessions with an in-network provider. Therapy helps to identify trigger points and solutions when your feelings overwhelm your day to day life, and in time, the strategies they provide allow you to get better at anxiety over time.

Hang in there! Your feelings are working fine, but you just have to work with them 🙂

 

Holiday Social Etiquette: Answering Tough Questions

The holidays are finally here! I have been listening to Christmas music since November 1st, and I am so happy that the rest of the world has finally caught up to me! Tis’ the season for busy schedules, holiday baking and decorating, parties, and shopping on shopping! Every girl’s dream, right?

Oh and did I mention the holiday parties? I did. Ah, who doesn’t love the forced merriment? What a joy! My sentiment does sound somewhat bitter, so let me clarify. I absolutely love family gatherings. I truly look forward to getting together and catching up with people I don’t get to see so often.

What I am acknowledging is, there is a certain side to the holidays that can be difficult. Maybe it was a rough year for you personally. You’re nervous to see him/her after so long. You’re not at your ideal weight. You’re stressed out shopping without your Holiday bonus. Who will be my date to this holiday party? Ugh, another engagement/baby announcement on Facebook!?

So many thoughts! So many questions. But notice, all of these questions arise by worrying about what others might think of us; what others might ask of us. My thoughts this season? Focus on the positive. What do you have going for yourself? (And don’t play the sad puppy game with me! You are remarkable no matter what stage of life you are in.)

Maybe this was a great year for you. Maybe you have a shiny ring on your finger or dropped on dress size and can’t wait to dance the night away. However, we all have rough years and “off” days or even months. That is nothing to harp on; there is always a little good worth spreading.

Here is my personal perspective, I brought my boyfriend home this year for a series of family parties. As I would have guessed it, the E-word came up so many times; it was even directly asked to both of us at one point. How did I handle it? I focused on what I am proud of right now. “You know what, we are just so happy right now. We’re still getting settled in our new apartment. The time will come when it is right.”

Unfortunately, not everyone invited to holiday parties understands proper social etiquette; how to reciprocate, what to ask, and especially what not to ask. Don’t stress about lying or over-exaggerating something that did not happen as you had hoped. Focus on the good, and when in doubt change the subject. If not this year, next year is all yours with the right attitude.