healthy ways on how to cope with anxiety - kellylwellness.com

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healthy ways on how to cope with anxiety

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I always thought anxiety was this buzzword. Not only did I not know what it was, but I never knew how to cope with anxiety. I used to always say ‘my anxiety is through the roof right now’ to show that I was worried. I never really got the true meaning of anxiety until I was able to give my thoughts and fears a name.

My anxiety runs deep.

Witnessing and experiencing the loss of my sister when she was four years old has been a trauma that comes out in the most unexpected of times.

Waking up in the middle of the night crying in the fear that my parents were being murdered.

My husband going out to get us ice cream and getting in a terrible car accident.

Painting a picture of how I will lose all the people I love in my life.

… The list goes on. The fear of death and losing my family members sometimes becomes so debilitating that I feel as though I can’t move. My husband can’t console me and doesn’t know what to say. I mean… who does? I didn’t know how to cope with anxiety.

Then, my son was born.

Matthew was born on March 20th, 2020. Exactly one week after the world shut down, with no answers of this virus, and he was five weeks premature. That post talking about our pandemic baby will be a loooong one.

As any parent knows, the love you have for your child is borderline unbearable. Mix a deadly virus killing hundreds of thousands of people, absolutely no answers to how it spread and its severity, and two new parents shuffling in and out of the NICU everyday to see their newborn; I could not handle it.

I was having nightly panic attacks where I would wake up screaming and TJ would have to sit on me to calm me down. I was afraid we secretly had covid and we were killing not only our baby; but all the other babies in the NICU. We couldn’t see our parents, our friends, no one could help us with our two day old baby, let alone even meet the poor guy.

The anxiety that ensued as a new parent in a pandemic became almost unbearable. I finally knew that this ‘buzzword’ was no longer that. The heaviness in my chest, the rapid breathing, the feeling of overwhelm that would overtake my body was something I couldn’t handle. I had no idea how to cope with anxiety.

Then I realized I was coping with anxiety my entire life.

I was just using food as my coping mechanism.

These symptoms weren’t new; this wasn’t the first time I was feeling a loss of control, panic and this heavy chest where I thought I was going to die. I knew the feeling well, but it never lasted long. Why? Because that’s how my food obsession and binge eating began.

I realized the times I felt the slightest bit of discomfort, I would eat.

The times I felt panic, I would eat.

The times I felt overwhelmed or stressed, I would eat.

The times I felt as though I wasn’t good enough, I would eat.

The times I caught myself comparing myself to others, I would eat.

The times I would worry about a future event, I would eat.

Not only did I cope in a very unhealthy way that got me in the diet cycle hamster wheels for years, gaining and losing 40 pounds each and every diet and the worst relationship with food imaginable: my problems never went away. And it took me way too long to learn that.

Now, when I feel anxious, I know not to turn to food as my first line of defense. I address the issue at hand, and have healthy ways to cope with these feelings of anxiousness.

Want to know how to cope with anxiety?

While this list is not exhaustive, there are the three things I do the most, and that have gotten me away from using food as my main coping mechanism.

Deep breathing:

  • Find a comfortable area and take in five big, slow, deep breaths through your nose, while pushing your belly out (which fills your oxygen with lungs).
  • Hold your breath for a count of 4.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of 4.

Grounding techniques:

  • Pick a color and look around your environment and specifically pick things that have that color by repeating them in your mind.
  • Name ten things you see.
  • During a task, feel and think of the sensations. For example: if you are washing the dishes, think of holding the sponge in your hand, the warm water running, the soap and how the stainless steel feels, etc.

Affirmations:

  • Repeat to yourself the following: I am safe, and I am healthy.
  • Repeat for whoever you need to in that moment (for example): my son is safe, my son is healthy.

Want more? Join the Food Freedom Society Waitlist where you can heal your relationship with food, stop binge eating & overeating so you can nourish your body & finally stop dieting for good. 

In Food Freedom Society, you’ll be a part of a community of women who get it. Join the waitlist to stay in the know! 

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