With the holidays, and with them our excitement, coming to a close, winter weather that continues to chill us to the bone, and all the expectations we create for ourselves for the coming year, January can be a very stressful time for many. With large amounts of stress, you may start to notice yourself feeling more anxious and may suffer from anxiety attacks. Just the thought of an anxiety attack can sometimes bring one on. No matter the cause, if we don’t get a handle on coping with the amount of stress we may be feeling, it can quickly turn into a health issue that cannot be ignored.
SIGNS OF ANXIETY
Not everyone experiences stress and anxiety the same way. Anxiety can bring on restlessness, a rapid heart rate, increases in sweating, and more. It can take a serious toll on your health by affecting your regular sleep patterns, eating habits, and daily tasks. Anxiety not only affects our minds, but it also affects our bodies. You may be feeling aches and pains in your back, muscles, and joints, strong headaches, experiencing issues with your digestion, or noticing physical muscle twitches.
No matter your anxiety level there are ways to alleviate the symptoms. The first step is to understand what is triggering your anxiety. It may not be one issue, but a combination of stressful occurrences in your life. As discussed earlier, January is a historically stressful month. Many people feel buyer’s remorse or depression from the amount of money they spent during the holidays. The weather can be a major factor in one’s level of anxiety, especially in areas where there is a lack of sunlight over the winter season. And in addition to the new year, we are also feeling the stress of a continued global pandemic.
5 COPING STRATEGIES
If you start to experience insomnia, obsession over tasks, or panic attacks, there are coping strategies to help you make it through your anxiety. Here are five coping strategies that may help relieve your stress:
Meditation is a great tool to cope with everyday stressors and growing anxiety. This strategy provides you with a tool to dig deeper into a relaxed state of mind and clear all thoughts using breathing exercises and becoming more aware of the present moment. Daily meditation may help you manage anxiety attacks before they happen.
Much like meditation, yoga can assist you in becoming more grounded and aware of the present moment. Yoga combines physical stretches, breathing techniques, and meditation. There are a wide variety of yoga practises that may appeal to you with low to high energy techniques. Yoga helps the body to reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure, and ease breathing. The relaxing effects of yoga work in opposition to the effects of an anxiety attack.
If meditation and yoga do not work for you, you could try a physical activity to keep your body and mind busy. From jogging, hiking, biking, swimming, to dancing, physical activity has many health benefits for your body and mind. When you start moving, your body releases endorphins, which is a chemical in your brain that interacts with the receptors that reduce thoughts of pain. Not only can physical exercise help reduce stress but it is also known to release positive chemicals in your brain to help boost your mood. Not only can you relieve stress and increase your mood, you may also find you sleep easier, have increased energy, and an increased immune system.
Reading & Writing
Writing in a reflection journal may help you sort through your feelings of anxiety. By writing about your daily experiences, you may start to see a pattern in days that have more anxiety than others. Perhaps you were overwhelmed at work or were thrown into a stressful situation that triggered your anxiety. Writing about your worries can help ease the pressure in your mind and body. Acknowledging your feelings, even written on paper, may help alleviate anxiety. You may also find that speaking of your fears can help you determine how to overcome them or whether it is time to seek further assistance from a professional.
Whether you already have good coping strategies or need more assistance in handling your anxiety, seeking professional help can be a great way to relieve your stress and share your feelings and experiences in a safe and non-judgemental environment. Counsellors are trained to handle a variety of topics and can provide you more insight into what may be triggering your anxiety, in addition to coping strategies you may not yet be aware of. Our counsellors at Strength Counselling provide individuals with individual E-Counselling which is offered through confidential, online, video conferencing. This counselling is ideal for individuals who are nervous to leave the comfort of their home, live in a remote area, and more.
Not only is it important to ensure we are physically keeping healthy, but now more than ever it is also integral to ensure our mental health is well taken care of. If we continue to ignore high levels of stress and anxiety the side effects can be detrimental to our long term health. Anxiety can be really tough to live with but there are many coping strategies available to help relieve your stress. If you would like to discuss anxiety, coping strategies, or would like to talk to a professional, please contact us HERE.