mental health

Stress x Money

In the world humans have created, money is intrinsically linked to our sense of safety. Everything we’ve learned about how to survive & thrive involves money. So, when we think we don’t have enough money, our body reacts as though our life is at stake.

The past few months, I’ve run into some circumstances that have spread me thin financially, and I’ve been going into full-blown survival mode. For me, that’s been manifesting as a giant brain tornado — thinking TOO MUCH about “what do I doooo?!”, trying to control everything, complaining, feeling exhausted, beating myself up for not ‘getting enough done’, bingeing on screens, and feeling out-of-touch with my old friends Ease & Enjoyment.

Here’s what’s been helping me:

  • Coming up with a plan that I feel okay with (including a worst-case-scenario contingency), and then choosing to trust that plan every time I start freaking out.

  • Acknowledging my ‘wins’, even (especially!) the little things, every damn day.

  • Recognizing my humanness — I’m a person, not a money-making machine, and I have needs & limits!

  • Making time to reconnect with & care for myself physically & emotionally by meditating, moving my body, & spending time in nature

How to Regulate Anxiety

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Lots of people think of anxiety as a mental thing — negative self-talk, ruminating thoughts, catstrophizing... But that’s only part of the story — anxiety is at least as much a bodily experience as it is a mental one.

I don’t know about you but, when I’m having a full-blown anxiety attack, thinking ‘nice thoughts’ is usually not enough to calm me down. When my body is really activated, I need to address it directly. And science has confirmed my personal experience — emulating a calm state in the body can help the entire nervous system to settle down. Here’s how to do it:

  • Exhale completely • Deep breathing is often recommended to folx experiencing anxiety. But rather than hyperventilating or exaggerating your inhale (which can exacerbate anxiety) try starting with a complete exhale; then relax your torso and allow your lungs to naturally refill before exhaling completely again.

  • Use your Peripherals • When our defenses are activated, our vision naturally becomes very focused & vigilant; so shifting our perspective to be wider & more-relaxed imitates & reinforces a relaxed state.

  • Relax your muscles • Most of us have a tendency, when we’re anxious, to tense up in our face & jaw, shoulders, back, hands, and even our legs & feet; we can help to reverse the anxiety by consciously relaxing our muscles.

  • Notice that you are safe • Point out things you see, hear, & feel around you — the furniture in the room, the fan, the ground beneath you... Noticing that we are physically in a safe environment helps bring us out of the anxiety storm and into a state of feeling safe, which calms our nervous system.

  • Smile • Smiling has been shown to reduce our heart rate and release feel-good brain chemicals. For me, this is most helpful once I’ve neutralized a bit from crisis mode; it helps me shift from a neutral state to something more positive & optimistic

Self Love x Relationships

As Valentine’s Day approaches, expectations are mounting. There’s a lot of wishing & hoping (and sometimes even demanding) that our partner / date give us the right kind of love and attention — the right compliments & gifts & gestures.

I used to put a lot of V-Day pressure on myself, to be likeable or sexy enough to get the validation I felt I needed. Sometimes I got it, sometimes I didn’t. And when I didn’t, I was devastated because I thought it meant something about my worth.

By looking to my partner to satisfy my needs for fundamental love & worthiness, I was giving my power away and setting myself up for deep & devastating disappointment. But I learned how to take that power back when I started investing time & energy into giving myself the kind of love I needed.

Making this shift relieved a lot of pressure from the relationships I was in. And as I moved on to form new relationships, I was able to fearlessly communicate my needs & desires from a place of worthiness & love.

If you want to cultivate more self-love & self-worth, download our Free Self-Love Workbook 💕

How to (Lovingly) Deal With your Inner Perfectionist

A note to my fellow perfectionists-in-recovery: You don’t have to struggle with your inner-perfectionist! You just need to give her a better job. The urge to plan & perfect is not ‘bad’ or wrong. It’s natural to want to predict & control — it’s hardwired into us to keep us safe.

My inner-perfectionist is always scanning for things that could go wrong, and trying to formulate the perfect plan that will protect me from any & all bullshit. But we do not have ultimate control over our circumstances, and sometimes life throws a big pile o’ shit at our perfect plan.

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t really find comfort in ‘just letting go of the reigns’ or telling myself “whatever happens happens”. I find it much more helpful to give my inner-perfectionist a job that suits her skills — I have her plan for when everything goes to shit.

I think about practical needs, like housing & food & rest. But I also think about how I’ll take care of myself emotionally, and make a list of who I can rely on for help. I do this for anything that I might be worried about, big or small. It reminds me that I can get through anything, which gives me peace. And it makes my inner-perfectionist a valuable part of the team, rather than something to be reigned in or repressed.

Planners x Mental Health

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New year, new planner! 😍

Using a planner has been sooo helpful for managing my mental health and manifesting my dreams.

Before I started using a planner, my brain was constantly like, ‘don’t forget to _______’ and ‘I really need to _______’ and ‘I don’t _______ enough’ and ‘I feel like I’ll never _______’

And when I wasn’t stressing about what I should or shouldn’t be doing, I was escaping my feelings at the bar or vegging in front of the TV (which, as you might’ve guessed, were not the activities I wanted to be doing more of)

Now, every Monday, I look at all the notes and to-do’s I’ve jotted down throughout the week, divide them into baby steps, prioritize them, and schedule them out — all of them! I try to balance my time for work, self-care, and relationships in a way that feels right each week.

Then, when those thoughts come up, I can put them to rest knowing that it will all be done. And I take comfort in knowing that my time is dedicated to the things that matter to me.