Morgan here. Duh.
I feel like this blog is going to be like a roller coaster. There’s SO much I want to write about… advice, feelings, travel, recipes, fashion… EVERYTHING?! So buckle up, friends. You’re gettin’ it all. One week may make you laugh, one week may inspire you & this week, I hope my words can simply make you feel less alone.
Let’s talk about anxiety.
Did you know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. (adaa.org)
WITH THAT BEING SAID...
Bleh. I hate that word. BUT! I know by me sharing my experience with it, it may really help someone out there... so, let's dig in, shall we.
I have struggled with anxiety for just about as long as I can remember (I started paying attention to it more in high school) and let me tell ya, it ain't fun. It definitely has gotten worse for me over the years...
(Probably doesn't help that I went on reality TV and now am a totally self employed business owner/influencer who depends on social media to pay my rent? Just a random thought)
...and I am so thankful that I have this platform to share my experiences, thoughts, & what I have learned. I never expected that writing would actually bring me a lot of peace. Kind of nifty?
If you are also someone who struggles with any form of anxiety… I see you and I am here to tell you that you’re a freakin' champion. Seriously. Also, let’s keep in mind that I am NOT A DOCTOR (truly shocking, I know). I’m just your friendly internet bestie who word vomits her feelings on the internet for the world to judge! Woohoo.
With that being said, I am not going to talk about diagnoses, medication or anything along those lines - although I do absolutely support going to talk to a doctor and seeing what options are best for YOU. Seriously, there is nothing wrong with seeking help and taking care of yourself. With this post, I simply want to open up & tell you what day to day things help me cope with this little thing called anxiety.
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE FOR ME?
Imagine someone grabbing your lungs with both hands and squeezing as hard as they can.
Imagine racing thoughts - that you cannot shut off - that keep you up late at night and wake you up early in the morning.
Imagine your heart pounding like you just ran a marathon, but you’re sitting still.
Imagine this little nagging fear following you wherever you go, but you can't seem to put a finger on what it is.
That's what anxiety feels like for me.
Whew, sorry I got so doom and gloom with those statements but I truly didn't know how else to describe it? I think it's often times very frustrating for me when I hear people blow off anxiety and think someone is being dramatic.
It isn't dramatic. It's what many people actually deal with on a day to day basis!
Okay now that I got all dark on ya, sorry about that, let’s get to the helpful, juicy stuff! Anytime I do a Q&A on my Instagram I am floooooded with questions on how I deal with anxiety, how I stay motivated, etc. So I decided to put together a little list of things that really help me, and hopefully they can help you too!
DAY TO DAY THINGS THAT HELP ME COPE WITH ANXIETY.
- Journaling & Writing To Do Lists.
Every single night before I go to bed, I sit down and journal out my "to do list" for the next day. For some reason, this helps calm my thoughts before bed SO MUCH. Instead of thinking about everything I need to do the next day and letting my anxiety take over, I take peace in knowing it's allllll written down and organized (even my workouts). I also make it a point to journal out my thoughts first thing in the morning, just to get everything out of my head. I've found the more I write things down, the better I feel! Seriously, if it's not on paper, I will sit in the same spot for 45 minutes just thinking, stressing and not being productive at all.
...& not to totally make this into a self promotional moment BUT... I do sell a really awesome planner that I made specifically for your mental health and staying organized. Check it out here! Seriously, this bad boy is a GAME CHANGER for me & I think it could totally help you.
- Exercising + Releasing Endorphins.
ENDORPHINS ARE MY BFF. Seriously, gimme a month and you will probably see that phrase on a sweatshirt being sold on my website, hehe. I cannot stress how important physical activity is for me and coping with my anxiety. I always tell my friends and family "I can't talk to you until I get a workout in!" because I know I will not be a pleasant person.
I make sure to prioritize at least 30 minutes of movement each day (preferably in the morning) because I know it's going to help my state of mind so much. For some reason, once I break a sweat and release those endorphins, I feel much less overwhelmed and more able to tackle my day. Take that anxiety!!!
Even if you can't get in a whole, sweaty workout... even something as simple as walking around your neighborhood can really help.
- Staying Away From “Over Indulging”
This is me politely trying to say... getting hammered and partying all night long IS NOT GOOD FOR MY ANXIETY?! Who would have thought. I'm not sure if you've ever heard of "hanxiety" - But yes, it's real. It's a combination of anxiety + a hangover, and I trulyyy don't wish it upon my worst enemy. Now, does this mean I never go out and let loose? Absolutely not. I "over indulged" on New Years Eve and texted Steve Aoki asking him to get LUNCH with me (mortifying and a story for another time) & guess what? I lived. I woke up with a gnarly hangover and it wasn't fun and I spent 24 hours trying to calm down my raging anxiety... but I lived.
My point to this is that I make an effort to try not to do this OFTEN. AKA, I save my "rage your face off" moments for very special occasions and it's absolutely not a weekly occurrence. If I do decided to over indulge on the spicy margs, I make sure I am super kind to myself the next day and also practice a lot of self care to cope (baths, walks, naps, etc).
- Weekly Therapy + Talking Through My Feelings
If you have been following me for awhile, y'all know how big of an advocate I am for therapy. Seriously, it has changed my whole life (I also wrote a whole blog post on this). I think it's such a great outlet to just get everything OUT to a neutral, third party who isn't there to judge you - only there to listen and offer advice. When I feel super anxious, I will even write out my thoughts (I title this list "Therapy Points" in my journal LOL) and I will make it a point to bring them up in my next session!
PS: Reminder that therapy is normal, amazing, empowering, game changing and something we should all be more open to speaking out about! Just my two cents ;)
- Sleeping MINIMUM 8 Hours a Night
This is a BIG ONE for me. Seriously, you do not want to be around me if I am sleep deprived... ask my family and friends. She is GRUMPY. Getting a good nights sleep is so important for me & let me tell ya, I don't mess around with my sleep schedule. I keep a pretty strict routine and aim to go to bed + wake up around the same time every. single. day. I've found when I am not sleeping enough, my brain simply cannot handle emotions and my anxiety is absolutely through the roof. Not only does sleep help me cope with feelings, anxiety, daily tasks - there's also so so so many health benefits to sleeping a proper amount. I'm going going to list 'em because my fingers currently hurt from typing this but just trust me. Sleep is your friend, friends!
- Eating Clean, Healthy Foods
This is a simple one. When I am fueling my body properly, I feel good and when I feel good, my anxiety is significantly less. Boom. Easy.
When I have my off days and I eat McDonalds (okay, not going to lie this rarely happens because I just don't like fast food but it does ON OCCASION), I feel crappy and my anxiety is like WTF, Morgan. There's apparently some science behind this? But again, I am not a doctor (almost failed intro to math in college, oops) but this is just something I think that helps me personally.
- Pay Attention To Triggers
THIS ONE RIGHT HERE. Can you think of anything right now that triggers you? That makes you nervous sweat? That makes you feel down in the dumps? That makes your heart race and you feel just OFF? Hello, triggers. I can think of a few of these for me that I specifically know I need to avoid for my mental health.
For example, there's certain things that I have noticed from past relationships or past friendships that send me in a downright downward spiral & I have learned, it's okay to stay away from those triggers!
This can look like: blocking someone on social media (or muting them), asking someone to not bring up a certain topic, not going to a certain place, etc. If you know something is going to be HARMFUL to you, it's okay to protect yourself and not put your mental health in a compromising position. Note: this took me A LONG time to learn and it's something I am still working on as a self proclaimed people pleaser.
- Create Healthy Boundaries & SAY NO!
Ah. Not saying no. This is something I have struggled with big time and it was the cause of a lot of my anxiety. I used to have a problem with saying YES to everything and everyone. Seriously. If you invited me to dinner on a random Tuesday, I wouldn't think about what I needed to do, or if I was too overwhelmed with work... I would say yes, just because I thought I had to? I thought by me saying no and setting a boundary, that person wouldn't like me anymore, or they would think poorly of me. That's incredibly freaking wrong
I have learned that you absolutely need to set healthy boundaries and it's okay to say NO if you need to. You should always put yourself first and if someone in your life really cares about you, they will respect that!
Okay, that's all folks. Have any more that you'd add to this list? Shoot me a message on IG!
I hope these little tips help you in any way that they can. I could write a lot more on this topic, but let's be honest... my hands are cramping up and your attention span probably isn't that long. (How can we scroll TikTok for hours, but our brains can't read more than 2 sentences? IDGI).
If you struggle with anxiety, remember - you aren't alone. Take care of yourself, friends! I'll leave you with this...
“Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” - Corrie Ten Boom