The other day, one of my friends texted our group chat of girlfriends asking for advice. She's rarely had to deal with anxiety in the past and felt ill-equipped to handle the mounting sense of nervousness and discomfort she's felt since sheltering in place, so she wanted our suggestions on how to best cope with it. Our friends immediately chimed in with various recommendations to get moving, get outside, and meditate. One told her to close her eyes and focus inward on her breath.
The minute I saw the suggestions popping into the texting chain, I felt two things:
1.) I was immediately overwhelmed with gratitude that I have such a strong support system. Even though the advice wasn't for me this time, it felt so heart-warming to see everyone jump in to help our friend... 2.) But at the same time, some of the suggestions blew my mind because they were literally the opposite of what helps me.
What's become clear in recent weeks, is that managing anxiety is far from a "one size fits all" scenario. We're dealing with unprecedented times and what works for one person may not necessarily work for you. To that end, I'm assuming that some people reading this post have come across countless solutions on how to handle their anxiety, but have lost faith when those suggestions didn't work.
In many ways, my friend's situation reminded me of one of my favorite moments from Sex and the City, when Carrie first admits her "Secret Single Behavior." For those unfamiliar with the episode, she says that when no one else is around, she relishes the time to indulge in her favorite random pleasure:
“I like to make a stack of saltines. I put grape jelly on them. I eat them standing up in the kitchen reading fashion magazines."
Although managing anxiety is probably far less cute than saltines with jelly, similar to Carrie, we all have something that works for us when we're feeling our most freaked-out and now is the perfect time to discover it. For me, if I'm in an anxiety-ridden place, the very last thing I want to do is sit alone with my thoughts and take deep breaths. Instead, I almost always feel better when I'm doing something somewhat productive while listening to something I enjoy. I can be cleaning the kitchen, organizing my bathroom shelves, or doing my nails—but I do it while listening to a true crime podcast, upbeat country, or 90s hip hop. It gets me moving and distracts me from my anxiety until I emerge in a better place.
Yesterday, I asked our team during our daily catch-up call what works for them, and it turns out Leslie does the dishes while listening to a twenty-minute episode of the Modern Love podcast, Jess plays Candy Crush while watching a show she's seen dozen of times (think: SVU, The Mindy Project, or Glee), and Natalie usually feels better after a good cry and a long walk listening to Elton John hits on repeat (Kelly does the same but with "The Bones" by Maren Morris!).
So here's my question for you: What always makes you feel better? What's your Secret Anxiety Behavior?