Whether you’re dealing with anxiety at work, at home, or in relationships, you know that it’s more than just feeling nervous–anxiety can be debilitating. It’s tough to manage anxiety once you’re in it, and trying to control the situation can sometimes make it worse and have adverse effects on your work performance and quality of life.
Thankfully, there’s a better way.
Taking steps to prevent anxiety can reduce how often you feel anxious. While everyone experiences some anxiety from time to time, it doesn’t have to be a constant factor in your life. Here, we’ll take a look at some simple routines you can implement in your daily life to keep anxiety at bay.
1) Get enough sleep
We know–if you’re someone who struggles with anxiety, it’s likely that you come alive at night, after the stress of the day has passed. It can be tempting to stay up until the wee hours of the morning, finally enjoying some time to relax, but doing so can create a downward spiral that’s tough to climb out of.
Try going to bed at the same time on weeknights as on the weekends, and create a good sleeping environment by keeping your room cool and keeping electronic devices out of your bedroom, if possible. When you get enough sleep, you give your body the rest that it needs to solve issues without an onslaught of adrenaline-fueled anxiety.
2) Get moving
When you’re anxious, it can be tempting to fall into distractions (like scrolling on your phone) instead of doing what you need to do to get your nervous energy out. Exercise is a great way to keep anxiety at bay, before it starts.
There’s no need to train for a marathon if that’s not your thing. Doing something simple like getting out for a walk each afternoon or going to yoga a few times a week can be all that you need to calm racing thoughts.
3) Talk it out
There’s nothing wrong with going to therapy, and doing so can be super helpful if you’ve been struggling with anxiety for some time.
If you’re not currently struggling with anxiety but do from time to time, keeping up with a therapist (even if you only go once a month) can help you get a handle on problems before they start to affect your life. Just like you go to a doctor when you get sick, it makes sense to go to a professional when you’re struggling with your mental health.
There’s no need to be embarrassed or ashamed–your therapist has heard it all. Choose someone who makes you feel comfortable, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
4) Stop isolating
Many people who deal with anxiety get tempted to isolate themselves from others when they’re having a tough time. Doing so can be counterproductive, however. Feeling the support of friends and family can make it easier to crawl out of the depths of anxiety.
When you make a point to see friends and family regularly, you may find that your anxiety at work and home dissipates as you remember that you have a strong support system of people who are in your corner through the ups and downs of life.
5) Spend time in nature
Taking a walk through a beautiful wooded area or on a sandy beach feels great, but getting in tune with nature has more benefits than putting you in a relaxing setting. When you spend time outside, the sun allows your body to produce vitamin D, a natural mood and energy booster.
If you live in an area that’s dark for much of the year, you may want to consider using UV therapy to help you get the (imitation) sunlight that you need. If you have a pet, getting outside with them is a great way to get some exercise and sunshine at the same time.
6) Cut the coffee
It can be tough to go without your morning cup of joe, but many people find that cutting down on caffeine (or even cutting it out completely) can go a long way in stopping anxiety before it starts. When you cut down on caffeine, you’re making it easier to control your heart rate, and you’re giving your digestive system a break.
You’ll likely also find that it’s easier to get the sleep that you need (especially if you tend to have a cup of coffee in the afternoon as a pick me up). Be warned, if you normally go heavy on the caffeine, you’ll want to slowly wean yourself off. Going from two cups of coffee in the morning to one is a smart move before you cut out the stimulant altogether.
7) Consider your sugar intake
Sure, sugar tastes delicious, but overdoing it can fuel anxiety. Try using an online app to record your food for a few days and take a look at your sugar intake. If you’re ingesting more than 36g of sugar each day, there’s a good chance you’re overdoing it. For many people, cutting down on sugar has a similar effect to cutting down on caffeine. You’ll likely notice a better mood and better sleep (after the initial withdrawal period fades), as well as less anxiety at work and home.
If you’re an employer and notice an employee struggling with anxiety, helping ease them through it is the way to go. Happy and healthy employees perform best, which means better marketing ideas and more thorough execution.
If you’re dealing with anxiety, you’re not alone, and it’s smart to choose some of the above steps to try to prevent your anxiety from occurring in the first place. As always, if your anxiety puts you in a crisis, it’s important that you reach out to a local crisis facility or a mental health professional to get the help that you need.