There’s no easy way to talk about the details of anxiety. It can be nasty and embarrassing to talk about. For some of us, anxiety makes us bite our nails, makes us too anxious to move or shower, and can even prompt GI distress in the worst kind of way. For me, my anxiety makes it so that my appetite turns off…completely. Given a stressful enough event, my appetite can be turned off for a few days at time even. With my body producing cortisol and with no food or rest from anxiety, the effects of stress can wreak unadulterated havoc on my body. Fortunately, I’m slowly learning to deal with the effects of stress and I’m passing on my tips to you.
- When you can’t eat, something is better than nothing: Listen, if you feel anxiety like this, full meals might not be in the cards for a while. Especially balanced and healthy ones. You might not have the energy to cook a full meal. However, nutrition is important and at this point, eat anything your body wants/will accept. At this point, you’re just looking for calories. Candy, fast food, anything is on the table so long as you can get something down so you can get your strength back.
- Stay hydrated: In the grips of an anxiety spell, try very hard to stay hydrated even while your eating is out of whack. Water and herbal teas are best because they won’t dehydrate you, but anything will suffice so long as your having plenty of it. Not having fluids WILL make you feel worse, and as an added feature, peeing will feel REALLY uncomfortable because it’s more concentrated.
- Practice whatever hygiene you can: Sometimes you just don’t want to go through the whole rigamarole of cleaning yourself. That’s fine! If you can put on some deodorant or splash your face then do it. If you can keep in the habit of brushing and flossing then you’re already on the right track. Your hair can be greasy. Your make up can be smeared or flaking off. But try to muster the strength to do little things like brush and floss to care for your health. I find that swishing mouthwash in my mouth helps when I can’t be bothered to uncap my toothpaste.
- Slowly reintroduce food: If you go for a few days having eaten very little, don’t try and rush back into full meals. Breaking your calorie intake in a bunch of small meals will make it easier on your stomach. Pick some things you enjoy eating and have them in small amounts throughout the day to get your body used to eating again.
- Exercise: I know, I know. It seems kind of ridiculous to suggest exercise again like it’s some kind of cure-all. But it has a lot of good effects and I really recommend even quick walks. It’ll help your body feel better by producing endorphins and I find that it regulates my appetite.
- Get a screen dimmer app: Anxiety can make it hard to sleep. What can aggravate this even more is the blue light from screens. One way to help with this is getting something like F.lux that dims your screen as the sun goes down. It saves your eyes and has helped me go to bed earlier because the orange light is a) ugly b) doesn’t strain my eyes and c) doesn’t trick my body into wakefulness.
- Journal: Writing can help you process your feelings. By confronting your feelings on the page, you can sort of kick start the recovery process. I’m not saying that it’ll always help, but a private space where you can scream and be dramatic without getting any of the neighbors upset is incredibly therapeutic for me.
I’ve been in the grips of a bad spell lately, and I’ve just managed to dig myself out thanks to the love and support of my friends and family. With love and patience, I’ve been able to get the gumption to post again and I’m extremely grateful for that. And also? Happy New Year! LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE OF ME?! CAUSE I AM.