Hi guys! I wanted to start this post by saying thank you so much for all of the positive feedback and support about my last blog post. I really hope that I was able to give you guys an insight on my struggles, as well as anxiety, depression, and binge eating in general. My goal is to be able to use my story to uplift others and show people that they are not alone.
A few days after I posted “My Mental Health,” I took a poll on Instagram about this weeks post. So many of you said that you were interested in how I cope with depression and anxiety, so that’s what I’m going to discuss this week. Some of these methods were recommended by professionals and others I discovered work for me.
One of the biggest challenges that come with having severe anxiety is the inability to think clearly when something stressful arises.
Whether it be having a panic attack or feeling really uncomfortable in a situation, it’s hard for someone with anxiety to address the situation and act appropriately. I used to “cope” during these situations by binge eating or locking myself in my room for days at a time. However, obviously, this doesn’t work. When I went to see a counselor, she addressed this and told me about self-soothing techniques.
Self-soothing techniques are activities that help calm an individual when they are upset or in distress by using the five senses.
For example, someone may use nicely scented lotion or light a candle that smells pleasant to them. Taking in the good smells and focusing on that may calm someone down. Others may look through pictures with their friends and family or wear fuzzy socks.
These are some of my favorite self-soothing activities:
- Looking at nature (sight)
- Painting (sight)
- Sucking on a piece of candy (taste)
- Burning a wax candle (smell)
- Listening to soothing music (sound)
- Playing guitar and singing (sound and touch)
- Wrapping up in soft blankets (touch)
I know that some of these things I can’t do all of the time. However, they really help me when I’m alone and upset. Also, my counselor recommended I make a self-soothing box. This is where I keep some of my self-soothing tools, such as pictures from hiking trips or pieces of candy. Creating this box also helped me discover my love for painting.
⬅️ The top of my self-soothing box: I love flowers and my favorite color is yellow.
The front of my box: I love cacti, I think they are so cute! (too bad I can’t manage to keep them alive). ➡️
⬅️ One side of my box: “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.”
I included this verse because it talks about worry while still being relevant to the theme of the box.
The other side of my box: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
I put this verse on the box because it is my favorite verse. It’s a great reminder of God’s love for us and how he shaped each and every one of us. ➡️
In this box, I also like to keep index cards with Bible verses for different types of stressful situations.
I also manage my mental health by staying physically healthy.
Not only does this make me feel better about my physical appearance, but it has some mental effects as well. Exercise releases endorphins, a feel-good hormone. Exercising can be in many different forms, but I personally go to the gym. It takes my mind off of the stressors of life and I feel great afterward. Eating healthy also makes me feel healthier. I’ve noticed that when I consume a lot of junk food, sugar in particular, that I feel depressed. Part of that reason is that I know my decision I made wasn’t the best, but it just also makes me feel generally bad.
To keep myself accountable and prevent binge eating, I post all my meals and workouts on my personal social media. It has really helped me think about what I eat and how much I consume.
Prayer, scripture, and journaling also help me cope.
These all sound obvious, but they are crucial. Using the other methods will only bring temporary satisfaction. They may bring you happiness, but they won’t bring joy.
Journaling is one of my favorite things. I have a journal that I write my prayers in. I also write about everyday occurrences, construct poems, and journal about my faith. It’s an outlet that allows me to to do what I love, just like this blog.
So that’s it! These help me cope and many of them may help others as well. Even though I have these methods in mind, I still have bad days. However, these skills make life a lot easier to handle.