Tuesday, January 11, 2022

My Anxiety Management Kit

I have family and friends who have been infected with the coronavirus. Got worried last night when my best friend told me he tested positive too. Good thing they are all vaccinated so they're all asymptomatic. My boys have been very strict with me. They don't allow me to step out if there's a delivery. We all wear masks if someone drops by, even if it's just at the gate. 

I always feel anxious whenever I feel unwell. A dark cloud always comes over me when I get sick. I've had to deal with anxiety since I had my first pulmonary embolism in 2018. It felt like it was easier to manage when I was busy at work, but that didn't help. I was just avoiding the issue and it eventually emptied my tank. After I had my second pulmonary embolism, I realized I needed help. 

A huge part of recovering from an illness relies on having a sound mind. Battling physical illnesses requires you to have a strong will. I know my issues are extraordinary compared to most, but I thought I'd share what I've been doing because it may help you or a loved one who may need help. Here's a list:

1. Sleep - I had trouble sleeping for years. My doctor kept reminding me that getting 8 hours of sleep was important for recovery. What helped me was putting a few drops of lavender on an essential oil stone. Using an air filter also help a lot (doc said breathing well is a huge part of getting proper sleep). Praying the rosary before sleeping also helped me calm down. 

I guess a huge part of being anxious was being far away from home. I rarely have trouble falling asleep since I got home. 

2. Look Up - I got this tip from my Kuya. Whenever the black cloud sets in and my train of thought goes dark, I break it by looking up. It forces me to think of something else. 

3. Essential Oils - I have been using EOs since 2019. It was my HS classmate who's a doctor who finally convinced me to use them. I do a lot of research though before using any oil to make sure it doesn't interact with my meds. I diffuse several times a week and the boys love it too because it makes our home smell good. 

4. Drinking Lots of Water - I doubled my water intake. It made my blood flow better and resolved kidney issues. Feeling good means less anxiety. 

5. Exercise - this was never in my dictionary. The only willing exercise I used to do was malling*. It's the only place I could easily get 10k steps. My back ached so bad after my first PE I had to go see a spine doctor. He enrolled me in physiotherapy. My PT said I should treat exercise like the requirement to brush my teeth. Strangely that's what got me moving! As long as I do at least 30 wall push-ups a day I've been okay. This has helped expand my lungs, keep my core firm and keep my joints working properly. I guess it helps produce needed endorphins too. I'm not as grumpy anymore. 

6. Hugs - get at least 8 hugs a day. 

7. Do some gardening - watering plants have been helping me with balance. I use it as escape time to stay offline too. 

8. Stay offline - my doctors mandated this for me. I set up my phone to track how much time I spent online. It took me four months before I became less wired. I realized that my doctors mandate to stay offline was the best advise they gave me. 

9. Get a hobby - I read that anxiety stems from being unable to control a situation. I found it very useful to work on my hobbies. It made me feel accomplished whenever I finished a project. Working on your hobbies also help keep you offline and away from triggers!

10. Know your triggers. A good understanding of what stresses you out is important in managing your well-being. Part of this includes surrounding yourself with people who truly love you. 

Of course, pray and always remember that Papa God loves you. 

*Malling - going to the mall to shop!

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