Living with anxiety can make even the most routine of weeks difficult to get through. And with all of the various anxiety-combating tips and practices out there, finding what works for you can be equally overwhelming! Instead of adopting an entirely new way of life all at once, I challenge you to set aside one week, focusing on one new anxiety-busting tool each day. When the week is over, do a mind and body scan. How are you feeling? Adopt the practices that worked for you and weave them into your weekly routine for a fuller, calmer lifestyle.
- Sunday — Set your intention: Sundays signal the start of a fresh new week — so instead of worrying over the coming craziness of work or packing your schedule with to-dos, pause and set a purpose. Pick a resonating quote, verse, or piece of inspiration to focus on for the week, and come back to it when anxious thoughts start creeping in.
- Monday — Prepare a healthy meal: The food you eat plays a critical role in how you feel from the inside out. Nourish your body with the mood-loving nutrients your brain is craving to quell anxiety. Healthy fats, omega-3s, and vitamins B12 and D are just a few key nutrients to keep your chill. Not sure where to start? Try one of these seven calming foods tonight.
- Tuesday — Go to sleep early: There is nothing more important for your health than sleep. Solid shut-eye can aid in reducing anxiety, giving you clearer thinking and an improved mood. The benefits of a continued pattern of sweet slumber are countless — so make it a priority to wind down and give yourself the true rest you need. Trouble falling asleep? Forget counting sheep — develop your own peaceful bedtime routine instead.
- Wednesday — Breathe deeply: Try a simple "box breathing" exercise to soothe your nervous system and keep you calm throughout the day. Breathe in fully and deeply for a count of four, letting your ribcage and belly expand. Hold your breath at the top for four, exhale fully for four, and wait one count of four before beginning again. Repeat at least five times. Set an alarm or reminder on your phone every hour to signal you to pause and refocus on your breath.
- Thursday — Have a "you" night: Plan a date just for you. Turn off your phone, tuck away your laptop, and allow yourself time focus on some self-care. Treat yourself to a pedicure, finally finish that book lying on your nightstand, or light a candle, pour some wine, and have a good ol' bubble bath. Staying disconnected and screen-free offers you refuge and respite from the worries of your day so you can start fresh tomorrow.
- Friday — Gather the gang: The week is over! Call up your pals for a night of fun. Whether it's an impromptu dinner party, laughing along with a funny movie, or hitting the town, being around your best buds is one surefire way to raise your spirits. But remember: if you plan on imbibing, limit yourself to one or two drinks over the course of the night. Even better — mix up a pitcher of mocktails. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it can worsen anxiety symptoms well into the next few days.
- Saturday — Get outside: When it comes to releasing anxiety, there's nothing like spending time in nature. Change up your scenery and escape the noise for a while! Bring a picnic to the park, frolic in the snow, take a dip at the beach, or head out on a hike. Any activity that gets you out of the house and into fresh air will do — even if it's a simple stroll to your favorite coffee shop.