I am not a doctor, let me get that straight. I am not a medical professional of any kind so take my advice with a grain of salt. What I am is a 27-year-old woman who has been dealing with anxiety attacks for almost 10 years so I know a little bit about how to deal with anxiety and/or panic attacks.

The past few weeks have been probably some of the most stressful of 2020... not just for me but for everyone. There was a lot of uncertainty leading up to the election, the spike in Covid cases across the world, and now post-election stress is going to be mixed with the holiday season. It's just not good for anyone's mental health.

I have definitely experienced a spike in anxiety attacks over the course of the past few months and have found a few new ways to deal with them. I figured I would take you through every step of my anxiety attack and how I resolve them.

For reference, I am on anti-anxiety/depression medication that I take daily but that doesn't mean my anxiety is completely gone. It just means I can function on a daily basis. I still have triggers and still need to navigate an attack... this is what works for me.


At the First Sign of Anxiety

When I first feel the anxiety coming on, I try to take a few deep breaths. No matter what I am doing, I take a moment to close my eyes, put my hand over my heart, and deep breathe. It helps me focus and center myself, without getting distracted. If I'm working, I will briefly shut the computer so no blue light is coming in & turn off any podcasts or music I am listening to so I can sit in silence. The silence really helps ease me because sometimes the anxiety is just brought on by overstimulation. 

After I sit like that for a few minutes, I will chug some water and maybe rub a little lavender oil on my temples, just to set the mood. I'll also try to get up and eat something because even though it sounds silly, sometimes anxiety can be mistaken for hunger (at least in my experience!) 

However, sometimes the pausing and breathing are just not enough...

After the Anxiety Really Sets In

So some focused breathing didn't work *it rarely does* and now I'm in the midst of what I can tell will be a full-blown anxiety attack in a little while. With my breathing still maintained, I turn to my Headspace app and will do a guided meditation, or three. It helps focus my attention on something other than the panic I am feeling. It also helps ground me in the present and listen to my body... it's so hard to explain but goodness it really helps.

I have also been really into ASMR videos, specifically the ones from Lottie Loves ASMR. Her role-playing (is not as weird as it sounds) combined with her soothing, British accent is truly a match made in Heaven. I get lost in the feeling of watching these videos and it instantly calms me down. 

In conjunction with the Headspace app and/or ASMR, this is the moment that I will usually pop an Olly Stress Gummy or a Big Chill pill from HUM Nutrition. These are my lifesavers and have been for years. They really knock the stress out of you if you're on the verge of an attack. 

At this point, I also have gotten into the habit of writing down why I'm feeling this way. If I know the trigger, writing it out helps so much; if I don't know the trigger, writing down my physical symptoms as well as my thoughts still make a difference. I keep a little mood journal on my desk for these moments and it has helped immensely over the past few months. 

When I'm Having a Full-Blown Anxiety Attack

I rarely get to this place but if I'm in the midst of a full blown attack, where I simply cannot get control of my thoughts, am crying and hyperventilating, I completely remove myself from the situation at hand. This is going to sound strange but just listen... when I'm feeling this way, I lay on the floor in my bedroom.

This is something that started in college and was a funny joke between me and my friends; when I was feeling really stressed or having a bad day, I would just lay on the floor of our dorm. It helped me feel grounded and the hard surface provided a weird sense of comfort. 

Now, when I'm freaking out, laying on the floor is sometimes the only thing that helps. Depending on my mood, I will either lay in silence, play another Headspace meditation, or an ASMR Youtube video. Usually, after I cry it out and have a few minutes to myself on the floor, I feel a little better and can get back to work or whatever I was doing.

Even if I have already taken stress gummy, I will probably take my medication at this stage because I might be too far gone for anything else to help me. 

Once I come down from the anxiety attack, the feeling might still linger so I try to take better care of myself for that day. Maybe I'll spend a little less time on my phone, won't work on the blog after work, and might just spend the night reading. 

With every anxiety attack I have, I learn more about my triggers, my body, and my response. I definitely know how to deal with them better than ever before but it is a struggle every day. 

I mentioned a few products & services that help me during anxiety attacks but there are so many other things I use on a daily basis to help care for my mental health, even when I'm feeling good. Below are a few of my top picks:

I hope this helped, even just a little bit! If you have any other mental health questions, feel free to contact me (email or Instagram), and let's chat! 

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