4 ways you can support a friend who suffers from anxiety
most of us are the type of people who will do anything to help a friend [or family member] when they need us. whether they need a small favor, need support while going through a rough patch, or just need someone to vent to, typically we’ll do just about whatever we can to help.
but what happens when a friend comes to us with something we can’t relate to? something we don’t have any experience dealing with? or even worse… something that we simply don’t understand? it sucks, right? feeling so helpless? wanting to be able to offer advice, but not knowing how to do it?
anxiety is one of those things that if you don’t struggle with yourself, it can be very difficult to relate to… and ultimately support… a friend who does. you may worry about saying the “right” or “wrong” thing… maybe you’re not sure if you should try to talk it through or offer them a distraction… or maybe you just don’t get what it is that’s supposedly getting to them.
if you have a friend or family member struggling with anxiety, and you’re not sure how you can help them, here are 4 ways you can be supportive, regardless of if you can relate or not:
1. empathize with them. as much as you can, really try to empathize, even if their specific worry seems “silly” or ridiculous to you. phrases like, “i totally get why you’re feeling anxious” or “it must be hard to worry about blank so much” can really go a long way, and can show your friend that even though you might not be able to directly relate to what they’re going through, you can still appreciate where they’re coming from. the last thing you want to do is make them think that their feelings aren’t valid.
2. don’t try to minimize what they’re experiencing. on some level, most people who struggle with anxiety know that their anxiety isn’t 100% rational. that’s kinda the point. even if your intentions are good, trying to tell someone that “things aren’t as bad as they think” can make them feel even worse.
3. help them face their fears. many people who struggle with anxiety use avoidance as a coping mechanism [i am a living, breathing example of this kind of anxious]. they’ll avoid places, people, and certain situations in an effort to stop being anxious about that specific thing… it’s the whole “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. but in reality, this actually only helps to maintain & reinforce the anxiety that they feel when presented with those circumstances. and while it may seem counterintuitive, encouraging them to their fears & expose themselves to the situations that are making them anxious can actually help them overcome their anxiety.
4. listen. it’s simple, but it’s honestly the best thing that you can do, especially if this whole anxiety thing is foreign to you. ask questions… what is your friend worried about? what does anxiety feel like to them? what kind of support do they need? when they answer… listen. not only to what they’re saying, but to what they might not be saying, as well [kinda like reading between the lines]. sometimes just having a friend lend an ear, whether they can offer true “help” or not, is the best medicine for someone who has found themselves lost in a sea of anxiety.
ultimately, what it comes down to, is just being there. anxiety can strike at any time, in any setting, under any circumstances. and speaking from experience, just knowing that i have a few people in my life who will simply be there for me when i find myself being swept away by tornado of anxiety is the most comforting thing i can think of. [i clearly really like the nature metaphors this week, huh?]
someone once said… “i get by with a little help from my friends”… and i really think they were onto something… and on that note, here are just a few of the people who make my life that much sweeter.
p.s. i’m now working one-on-one with clients to help them overcome their anxiety & pursue a life of balance in the same ways that i have. if you experience anxiety… sign up for my newsletter for more details to come… & to make sure you never miss a post!
3 simple ways to stop holiday anxiety in its tracks
well, guys, we’ve officially made it to the end of November. crazy, right? i can’t believe that Thanksgiving is in 2 days… which means that Christmas is just around corner… & then before you know it, it’s going to be 2018. twenty. eighteen. just let that sink in for a minute.
a lot people experience anxiety around this time of year, & who can really blame them? there are so many parties to attend, many of us are traveling to be with our families or are hosting our families ourselves… & we all know what family time can do to us, amiright? there’s also the whole food aspect that comes into play… being around that much food can be difficult if you have issues with food & body image… it’s all kinda scary stuff, right?
if you experience anxiety around the holidays… regardless of what triggers it… & would maybe like to change that this year, here are 3 ways you can stop holiday anxiety in its tracks, & actually enjoy the season just a little bit more this year.
1. slow down. food anxiety tends to show up a lot during the holidays. to say that the latter part of the year is all about indulgence is an understatement. i mean think about it… Thanksgiving is a holiday that revolves around eating. and 9 times out of 10 the food being served at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is not good for you. but, i’m a big believer in balance, & allowing yourself to indulge here & there without feeling guilty… as long as you’re mindful about it.
and the easiest way to do that is to slow. the f*ck. down. take small bites. actually chew your food. put down your fork when you’re talking in between bites. breathe. there is absolutely no need to rush. oh, & just stop when you’re full. you shouldn’t eat until you feel sick… ever. you don’t need to leave the dinner table hating yourself for what you just ate. listen to your body in the moment… you’ll thank yourself later, i promise.
2. take a lap. one of my favorite ways to chill the f*ck out when i’m feeling a little antsy is to step outside & go for a walk. i pop my headphones in, put on some tunes, & just start walking. sometimes i walk to nowhere. sometimes i wander for 15 minutes… other times i wander for an hour. sometimes i’ll grab a coffee or a smoothie along the way. there’s just something about being outside, looking up at the sky, & feeling the fresh air on your face that has serious healing powers, regardless of where you are.
3. practice gratitude. it’s easy to forget that the reason these holidays exist in the first place is to celebrate life. to celebrate everything we have. to celebrate love. we can all get caught up in the details, which can send us into a downward spiral of panic, but when we find ourselves having one of these moments… whether it happens while you’re trying to shop in the middle of a very crowded store, or while you’re having a conversation with your grandma about why you still don’t have a boyfriend, or when you find yourself stranded at the airport after 14 hours of flight delays, the best thing you can do to pull yourself together immediately is recognize that your anxiety is taking over, take a deep breath, & find something to be grateful for… even if it’s something simple. when we take the time to express gratitude, it helps to put whatever is making us anxious into perspective & ground us just a little more in the moment.
BONUS TIP: avoid political conversations by setting the precedent that you’re not going to talk about politics with your family… before you arrive at Thanksgiving dinner. listen, & take it from me… i know from experience that it is just not worth it to get into political debates with your family. you think they’re wrong, they think you’re wrong, you’re not going to change your mind, & they’re not going to change theirs. those are the facts. is it upsetting? yes. is it worth getting into an argument about over Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? absolutely not. but, even if we try our hardest to avoid the conversation, there is often still that onnneeee aunt/uncle/brother/sister/parent that just looovvvvveeesssssss to stir the pot. so, this year, ask your family [over the phone or text, anything works here] to please leave their opinions at the door. tell them that you want to spend the holidays enjoying each other’s company rather than wanting to punch each other in the face. leave the politics for the “professionals”.
do you have any go-to strategies for dealing with holiday-induced anxiety & making it into the new year with your sanity? leave them in the comments below!
and don’t forget: i’m now working one-on-one with clients to help them overcome their anxiety & pursue a life of balance in the same ways that i have. if you experience anxiety… or if anything in this post spoke to you on any level… sign up for my newsletter for more details to come… & to make sure you never miss a post!
happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
solo-cations + why i’m planning on making them a regular thing
hey guys! it’s been a few weeks, but glad to be back. i took some much needed time to step back [from a few areas of my life] and just try to relax… which is what i want to talk about in today’s post!
after a very, very eventful spring and summer [seriously, i don’t think i stopped going going going from the end of march until the end of august]… i was just craving an escape… alone time… away from LA. labor day was approaching, and since i didn’t have any plans and the majority of my friends were going out of town, i figured this was my opportunity to chill the f*ck out and lay low.
i’m the type of person that wants to do all of the things… and i knew that even if i told myself i was going to have a chill, relaxing, productive weekend in LA that there was just no way that would actually end up happening. the minute i get an invite to a party or anything… i have a very hard time saying no… because i legitimately want to go! i’m not a “yes” girl in the sense that i agree to do sh*t i don’t want to do… i just, ya know… get #FOMO and love my friends and being social and out and about… which is typically fine… but sometimes i do just wanna relax, too.
so, i figured a little escape from LA was my best bet… so, i went to airbnb, found a room in a cute little cottage in dana point [about 60 miles south of LA right on the beach] and booked it. done and done. on the books.
and wowowowowowowwwwwww was it exactly what i needed. first, let me just say that dana point is so effing cute. it’s such a quaint little beach town with everything you need [or everything you do not need] for a relaxing, rejuvenating weekend.
i walked around the marina each night and watched the sunset [and ate ice cream for dinner bc #vacation]… i went to the beach… i sat on the porch of my airbnb and read every morning… i went to yoga in lantern bay park… i meditated every morning… i journaled… i stumbled onto live music in a little plaza and enjoyed that for a little bit… worked on some blog stuff… it was great.
i haven’t traveled solo very much [the only other time i’ve traveled alone was during the 2nd half of my trip to australia, when i visited brisbane and sydney] and although i definitely prefer traveling with other people, there are a few benefits to what i’m now referring to as the “solo-cation”:
1) you can do whatever the f*ck you want, whenever the f*ck you want. i can’t tell you how nice it was to be able to sleep in, and then wake up with no plan. usually when you’re on vacation with other people, there’s some kind of a game plan in place… a set time to wake up and be out of the hotel… places to go… things to see… which is all great, but sometimes you just wanna do you, ya know? on a solo-cation, you can do as much or as little as you want, and you can change your plan at any time, no questions asked.
2) it gives you a chance to actually recharge. ever come back from a “vacation” saying, “wow, i need a vacation from my vacation”? usually when we’re traveling with other people, we’re very gogogogogogo… probably drinking [at all hours of the day]… staying out late… having big group dinners… talking and talking and talking… which is all great, but it’s also exhausting. when you’re traveling solo, you have time to yourself. you can listen to your body, and do what feels right for you. honestly, it was so nice to not have to talk to anyone for almost 48 hours… and i mean that in the most loving way possible!
3) being alone is actually a good thing. society has lead us to believe that being alone is a bad thing… but i absolutely disagree. think about it… if you’re not okay being alone… with yourself… what makes you think anyone else is going to want to be around you? yea, of course, going to a restaurant by yourself can seem or feel “weird”… but it really isn’t, i promise you. once you get over the idea that people are staring at you, or feeling like a loser because you’re alone… you’ll realize that it’s actually pretty great… and good for your overall mental health and well-being, too!
so, for these reasons, i’m officially making solo-cations a regular thing. i’m thinking 2 times a year… maybe fall and spring… since those seem to be the least busy times of the year for me. even if i just head somewhere close by in so-cal, taking a few days to get away from everything really had a positive impact on my mindset and feeling of overall well-being… and i can’t wait to do it again! you don’t have to go far from home to feel the benefits.
i would love to know… have you traveled solo before? if so, how did you like it? where did you go? where should i go for my next solo-cation?! tell me in the comments below… and have an amazing weekend!
3 tips for a zen vacation
so… i’m leaving for Cuba tomorrow… CUBA. i literally never dreamed this day would come… that i, as an American citizen, would EVER be able to visit Cuba… so i’m pretty damn excited to say the least! i’m desperately in need of a vacation, so in keeping with the theme of the moment, i thought a travel-related post was necessary. let’s get right to it.
the term “vacation” has lost a lot of its meaning in 2017 america. i’m always reading about how many people don’t use their vacation days, how few vacation days many employers even offer in the first place, & how even when we do take vacation, we have a hard time actually vacationing…
you know… we check our email, we take work calls, we text with our bosses… some people will actually sit in their hotel room & work remotely because they feel so strongly that they can’t get away or everything will fall apart.
thankfully, i’ve never been one of these people. i love travelling, understand the importance of taking a break from things to reset and recharge, & just generally love being able to live life for a week or so a few times a year as if i have no real responsibilities.
so, if you’ve ever found yourself doing any of the above… or even if you’ve actually taken your vacation days, decided to check out, & had crippling anxiety over not knowing what was going on back home to the point that you couldn’t even enjoy your vacation… you’ve come to the right place.
here are my 3 tips for a zen vacation:
1. pack a journal. journaling can be really therapeutic. putting pen to paper & just writing, not even about anything in particular, can do wonders for a racing, anxiety-ridden mind. i always pack a journal when i go on vacation, & it serves a few purposes. first, i love being able to write down all of the amazing experiences i’m having, so that i can look back on everything in detail years later. sure, pictures will help keep the memories alive, but those little details can easily be forgotten. second, it’s a great way to pause, take a step back, & really start to process and get clear on things that might be going on in your life… ya know like your feelings, emotions, where you want to go with your life, if you should or shouldn’t break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend, if you should make a big, risky career move… whatever. i also love the practice of using a gratitude journal to put things into perspective & remind myself how great my life is, even when things aren’t going my way.
2. swap out your daily coffee for tea. as a society, we seriously rely on coffee to get us through the day. when you’re on vacation, you should be relaxing. sleeping in and going with the flow. sure, you might have tours or dinner reservations at specific times, but other than that, vacation is about taking it easy. instead of running to the closest Starbucks to get your daily fix, pack some herbal teas instead**… especially those of the calming variety [think chamomile, lavender, ashwaganda]. it’ll help to ease the mind & reduce all of the stress you have about not being at work… which will help you be more present in the end.
[**of course, if you’re going someplace like Columbia, Italy or Bali, where coffee is a huge part of the culture/cuisine… DRINK ALL THE COFFEE YOU WANT.]
3. get off your effing phone. i get it. we all want to be connected to our friends & family. we want to share all of the cool pictures we’re taking at all of the amazing places we’re visiting. [#doitforthegram] but, if you truly want to enjoy your vacation, if you really want to experience the culture of this new, exciting place you’re visiting… get off your effing phone. you don’t even have to go totally off the grid… [i know, scary thought, right?] even just limiting yourself to only checking social media in the evening when you’re back at your hotel can make all the difference… i mean… do you really wanna find yourself standing in front of the Taj Mahal or at the top of the Eiffel Tower scrolling through effing Facebook or answering a work email? i don’t think so.
i’m planning on going 100% dark in Cuba… my phone is going into airplane mode from the moment i step on the flight to Havana, & staying that way until i land in LA next week. i’m really craving a little disconnection, and since wifi is hard to come by in Cuba, this is the perfect opportunity to just go for it.
what are your favorite ways to check out & really keep it zen when you’re on vacation? do you have any Cuba recommendations?! leave them in the comments below… & i’ll see you on the otherside… adios!
5 reasons we all need yoga right now
life in 2017… it’s interesting, right? the world is a really, really crazy place right now.
there’s lots of change happening and many of us are getting caught up in the moment of everything… we keep scrolling through the comments of those truly awful facebook posts [i’ve literally lost all faith in humanity doing this]… we’re cutting people out of our lives when their opinion doesn’t align with our own… sometimes, we’re just curling up into a ball, crying our eyes out, and telling ourselves that we should just give. the eff. up. that it’s all a waste of time and we have no control over where anything is going.
it’s easy to forget the big picture. it’s easy to feel hopeless. it’s so easy to be afraid of what’s ahead. but does feeling this way help us rise above the bullsh*t and continue to move forward, both on a personal and societal level?
i’m guilty of feeling all of the things i outlined above. i go through periods where i feel paralyzed by my anxiety… moments where giving up seems like the best option, because why fight a losing battle, ya know? and this applies to my feelings on my personal goals, my professional goals, and where i wish society would go as a whole.
my anxiety pretty much encompasses everything. it’s not picky. if i can worry about it, i most likely will, sooner or later. but there’s one thing that always, without fail, snaps me out of it. one thing that brings me back to the present moment, brings me back to my power…
probably not very surprising, considering that yoga works wonders for a lot of people, and i’ve talked about what it’s done for me personally here many times before. but sometimes, we do need that friendly reminder to put us back in our place.
a few years ago, i wrote an article for elite daily titled “5 reasons why all millennials would benefit from practicing yoga” that really hit home for me when i was writing it… and i think it resonated with others too – it was shared almost 300 times!
i wanted to share it here today, because i think all of these points are still valid… for everyone, not just millennials [although they may hit a little closer to home for us than other generations].
… and then go hit the mat… and take this little piece of yogi wisdom with you…
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