After losing my second child during pregnancy in May 2019, I developed what I thought would never fully grip me — anxiety. I had suffered with it before but never to the extent that I had when I lost my son. I found myself having panic attacks in the middle of supermarkets or uncontrollably sobbing when I saw a blonde baby boy. Right there, I knew that I needed to do something and I needed to act fast.
Here are some things that have helped me in managing anxiety in public places.
Choose Your Playlist
I have often seen people wondering around the supermarket in their headphones and laughed at how ignorant they looked. Then, I became one of those people.
Music is a wonderful gift and lyrics have the power to speak directly into our hearts and minds. Whenever I find myself experiencing anxiety in public places, I force my headphones into my ears and listen to music that declared hope, truth, and life.
This is a fantastic way to manage your anxiety as no one knows what you are doing. It really helped me to carry on with ordinary tasks.
Take a Deep Breath
Breathing exercises have become somewhat ‘trendy’ now with all the mindful apps circling around. Despite that, I have found that deep breathing in a moment of dread has saved me on more occasions than I can count.
I have found that a couple of deep breaths can fully reset my thoughts and bring me back to my present reality. Sometimes I will even audibly say to myself “okay” as I take a deep breath and continue on my way.
Remind Yourself of Your Current Reality
Often, when we find ourselves experiencing a difficult season and the weight of our reality is heavy on our chests, we assume that we will always feel this way. The truth is that anxiety can be something that we consistently have to work through, but it will not always be this intense. When I experience a panic attack or a feeling of dread, I try to remind myself of all the times it has happened before and how I am still standing. No one can rush anxiety.
Talk to the Right People
When feeling extremely low, people typically fall into one of two categories.
The first is a complete shut down of any kind of communication as we can become embarrassed of what we are feeling. The second is that we completely overshare with everyone as we are desperate to be understood and to have our feelings validated.
I have found that having two to three people who I can really trust and care deeply about me that I can contact at any time has literally saved my life in certain scenarios. Good friends are like gold dust in seasons of depression and anxiety as sometimes we become a hard friend to keep. Find your nearest and dearest and hold them close.
Just Get Out There
It is so easy to stay indoors and stay in alone. When anxiety is a very real thing in our lives, it is also incredibly draining. We find that even just looking after ourselves becomes a near impossible task.
I encourage you to get outdoors at least once every day. Sometimes, it is necessary to get out of our own heads. This can only be possible if we physically get out of bed and face the outside world. I have found that even just walking my dog while applying all of the above techniques has helped me to move forward.
In closing, anxiety can be all-consuming but there are things that we can do to manage it. By letting the right people in and applying healthy techniques, we can ensure that we are moving forward step-by-step, day-by-day.