Updated: Jan 4
Congratulations you have survived the Hunger Games, I mean the year 2020! For most of us it was complete trash and we are happy to see it go!
2020 took so much and left us with so many unanswered questions that the little voice inside our heads was working overtime. You know the voice that keeps us up late at night and follows us around all day constantly telling us negative things about ourselves. Yea, the one that NEVER stops!
We call that annoying voice, anxiety! 2020 had our anxiety through the roof with the grief, virtual learning, racial tension, furloughs, the election, isolation, and breathing like Darth Vader in those masks. It was awful BUT we finally made it to 2021, so this year we are taking back our power. We won't allow our anxiety to keep kicking our arse. This year we are grabbing anxiety by the balls and showing no mercy.
So how do we take control over our anxiety? Well first you must recognize and acknowledge it by identifying your triggers ,symptoms, and patterns. Once you have a better understanding of your anxiety then you can develop a plan to help you decrease those symptoms. The key is to be proactive! You know there is a problem so be intentional about keeping yourself grounded before you are triggered. I know that may be easier said then done but no worries. I have 10 hacks for you!
Alright let's get this list started already. Essential oils are life and they help with so many issues, including anxiety. So my first hack is lavender. Lavender has calming properties that relax your over stimulated nervous system during an anxiety attack. There are multiple ways to utilize this oil. Place a couple of drops on your pillow case, massage on your temples, place in a humidifier, or simply rub on hands for deep breathing aromatherapy. Inhale 2,3,4....Exhale 2,3,4.
Next up we have chamomile!! This also has calming properties and can be utilized the exact same ways as lavender. Although it does not smell as intoxicating, it is soothing. Chamomile as an essential oil can also be added to a balm or shea butter to massage on your body particularly in the areas where you hold your anxiety. You can use bath salts and infuse them with chamomile to create an anti anxiety spa right in your own bathroom. My favorite use of chamomile is as a tea after three sips I'm drifting on a memory! Note that lavender can be used as a tea, bath bomb, or balm as well.
No I didn't sneeze, lol! Ashwagandha is a plant that has many healing properties. The anti stress and sleep inducing properties are calming to the nervous system. The properties enhance the hormones in your body that regulate your stress responses. In other words it makes your anxiety symptoms STFU! It is taken orally and can be purchased at any health store or from the devil, also known as Amazon! Consult your doctor and take as directed.
Another great herb for anxiety is valerian root. Valerian Root is known for calming and is often used for insomnia which is a common symptom of anxiety. This herb is essential for relaxation and calming the body for SHORT term usage. It can be taken as a tea, capsule, tablet, or extract. Again consult your doctor and take as directed.
Insert legal jargon removing me from any liability or whatever right here! Now let's proceed with these hacks and this fifth one is FREE99!
This next hack is a reactive measure to use when your anxiety is already escalated and you are heading towards an attack or already having one. Go to your kitchen because you should already have what you need there. ICE. SALT. CHICKEN FINGERS. No this is not a Karen recipe but quick things to help your body recover. Option 1 grab two ice cubes and hold them in your hand until they melt. Yes it is cold, it's ice! Hold until it melts. Option 2 grab table salt and place a few sprinkles on your tongue and let dissolve. It will be salty so don't use this if you know you got hypertension, lol! Option 3 chicken fingers, but not the kind you eat. This is the name of a self soothing technique. Make each fingertip slowly touch the tip of your thumb in a rhythm. Do this on both hands at the same time repeatedly while controlling the tempo. These are just a few examples of ways to tap into your senses to bring your body back into the present to ground yourself during an attack. This was really 3 hacks but I said I wasn't going to be petty in 2021 so let's proceed to number 6 shall we.
Me reserving my petty, lol!
Since we are tapping in to our senses let's make some noise. My 6th hack is using sound therapy to help your anxiety. Try apps like Headspace or mediation music like Londrelle or the Meditation Mixtape to get you grounded and calm. Starting your day with intention and meditation will lay a great foundation and ending your day this way helps you to decompress before bed. Be intentional with how you want to start and end each day. Londrelle gets me through the door everytime!
Now that you have the right sounds turned on ,be sure to remove the clutter with media restrictions. Be intentional about the types of music and media you consume starting and ending your day. Try setting limits on your social media usage through alarms or even using an app. Have a cut off time so that you can decompress before bed, It may seem minor but we know that our senses help us to calm our nervous system so they can also be used to trigger it.
Yall still with me or has the ADHD taken over?
Who said we don't be reading, lmao!
Alright hack number 8 pocket reminders! These are small subtle reminders that you have on your person at all times to help keep you grounded. It can be a nostalgic item like a picture of your child, an heirloom, or keepsake. Or it could be something you purchase that gives you a gentle reminder to breathe like pocket gems or even an item with a texture that stimulates your sense of touch if you are escalated. For example the feel of velcro is prickly and may even tickle your finger and satin is smooth. Having a small piece of velcro or satin inside your pocket that you could rub to soothe your self during an anxiety attack is subtle and easily accessible.
This journal walks you through identifying your triggers, symptoms, patterns, and developing a boundary plan. It gives you tools, tips, and guides you to uncover the underlying issues for your anxiety. It is a great gift for anyone you know struggling with anxiety.
And FINALLY number 10 is to find a d**n therapist in 2021!!!! There is no cheat code black people, you must do the work. This year we will prioritize our mental health and stop waiting until we are at our lowest point before we seek help. We get it you are strong, you have literally survived 100% of the worst days in your life but in 2021 we are done surviving it is time to thrive!
Thanks for reading be sure to share, leave a comment and subscribe. And if you are in Tennessee, I know a dope black therapist accepting new virtual clients!
Pametria Dominise, The Empowerment Expert
Follow me on IG www.instagram.com/pametriadominise