How I Deal With Anxious Feelings

I don’t know about youuu, but I’m feeling twenty-twoooo….

…mosquito bites.

I counted twenty-two mosquito bites on my legs thanks to an evening session of frisbee golf on Saturday (worth it). I used to never get bitten (mostly in my ED phase, perhaps because I had low blood sugar?).

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looking slightly diseased

Since I was unaccustomed to so many bites, I Google searched what to do with the itchiness and found some good suggestions: aloe, rubbing alcohol, and oatmeal. I also found some questionable “cures”, like Scotch taping your mosquito bites at night to prevent subconscious scratching. I mean, I get the idea, but I think I would subconsciously rage over the fact that there were little pieces of tape all over me.

Anyway, yesterday was a MONDAY kind of Monday, especially coming home late from a few days of vacation in St. Louis. A long list of errands needed to be completed on minimal sleep, although a couple mini naps happened in order to tame the beast that is Alison Sans Sleep.

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It’s no surprise that I have a greater tendency to feel anxious and stressed when I’m very sleepy; I think most people can vouch for that. The anxious feelings* and stress escalate when I know I have a bunch of time-sensitive tasks on my to-do list.

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After dealing with insomnia* during my senior year of high school— perhaps the most stressful time of my life— I’ve learned how to reign in the anxious feelings and deal with stress in a more mature, effective manner (i.e. not bawling my eyes out in a panic at night).

So today, I’m sharing with you how I deal with some of those anxious feelings that threaten to interrupt my daily flow, productivity, and joy.

*I use the term “anxious feelings” rather than “anxiety” because I have not been diagnosed with clinical anxiety. I’ve also never been diagnosed with insomnia. All I know is that I couldn’t sleep for an extended period of time, which impacted my daily life for a while. Since I have no clinical diagnoses and since God blessed everyone with different brains, I understand that these tips may not be helpful for everyone or even anyone.

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1. Tell myself that it’s okay to feel anxious.

Nine times out of ten, my anxious feelings perpetuate because I am nervous to feel anxious or tired. My brain tends to create catastrophes out of small trials or signs of negative health.

“I NEED to get a lot of sleep. I’m not going to live as long if I don’t. My performance will plummet if I don’t fall asleep now. This isn’t okay.” 

“Stress will kill me. I need to stop being so stressed. Why am I feeling so stressed? I’m trying really hard to reduce my stress.”

Answer: It happens. This too shall pass.

2. Make a to-do list of many little things.

Write every little detail down in your to-do list. This may seem counter-intuitive, since your to-do list will look longer, but being able to check off several little tasks is a big morale booster for me.

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Always.

For example: Rather than writing “clean bathroom” on your list, you could break that down into “clean toilet, clean bathtub, clean sinks, clean floors.” That way, each item on your list is a small and doable task. This strategy can make a monster project seem less daunting.

3. Make humorous commentary about what’s happening.

(Edited to add this one!) 

Whenever it seems that more stressors are arising, sometimes I just need to laugh at myself and just make lighthearted commentary about all the things that are stressing me out. It’s the same idea as making humorous commentary when watching a scary movie to decrease the fear factor. 🙂

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4. Move (and groove).

It doesn’t have to be a grand workout or anything.

I didn’t include a solo dance party in my day in the life vlog just for comedic effect. I truly do love blasting tunes and dancing to keep me smiling. Some quick yoga or inversions to get the blood flowing in all sorts of directions helps to clear the head as well.

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5. Talk to someone.

The power of a listening ear is such a blessing. And if no one is available, I talk out loud to myself or to God. Hearing myself sort out my anxious feelings can help me understand them better.

6. Nap.

Naps are magical if time permits. Even if time doesn’t seem to permit, sometimes I allow myself a quick one anyway, because it will help me be more productive and less crabby for the sake of others.

If I can’t sleep, lying horizontally with my eyes closed for ten minutes can still bring me some sanity.

7. Make a mental gratitude list.

“Be grateful for what you have, and you’ll end up having more.” (<— from this amazing blog post via Marc and Angel)

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Gratitude helps eliminate any of the “woe is me” thoughts.

8. Remember Him.

The #1 thing that gets me through anxious feelings (or any negative feelings, for that matter) is remembering that my life belongs to God. He will provide, and He will not give us trials that we cannot overcome with His help.

There is nothing that I’m feeling that our Lord Jesus Christ has not felt.

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With that, I hope you all have a day free from anxious feelings! Stay tuned for a cool blog switcheroo tomorrow with Actively Gemma!

So tell me:

Do you deal with anxiety or anxious feelings often? How do you deal?

Do you know any good mosquito bite treatments?

Behind the Scenes #2

Alright, I am officially calling these random thoughts posts “Behind the Scenes.” Cool? Coooool.

I’m also going to link these up to Amanda’s new Thinking Out Loud posts! It’s these random thoughts posts that make me go “mhmm,” “HAHAHA,” *gasp*, and “really??” And I love that. It’s the little things at their best!

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1. This insomnia is so bad that I’m not upset about it anymore. Yes, it puts a significant damper on my exercise plans (zero energy) and I feel perpetually tired, but whatever will be, will be. Che sarà, sarà. Things will hopefully fall back into a normal cycle one of these days. I guess this sort of forces me to really crank down my exercise, so maybe this is all a part of God’s big scheme! Your prayers are much appreciated 🙂

2. I received my Black Friday purchases from Forever 21 on Monday! I mentioned in a previous post that this is counting as a Christmas gift from the ‘rents. We’re not too formal with the gift-giving actually. Whatever we give or receive around Christmastime can count as a gift, and then we just exchange little trinkets and cards on Christmas day for the formality 🙂

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Pink lace shirt and a leather spiky skirt

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Totally out of my comfort zone and my usual style, but I kinda like it! I can be bada$$. <—Ironic because I just typed that.

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My favorite out of everything— soft and breezy striped ombre shirt

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Cheetah print high low dress

There was also a cream-colored lace top, but I forgot to get pic of that. Also, my eyes are so Asian. Where are they? 😉

3. Guess what else came in the mail?! A special little package from my Elf4Health buddy, Emily (<—go check out her blog)!   She sent me some yummy local treats from Wisconsin and a sweet note:

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I already tried some of the Bhakti Chai mints and I love ’em. And how did she know I love spinach artichoke dip?? Thanks so much again, Emily! You should be getting a package soon too 😀

4. I was watching Weelicious videos a couple nights ago (I sort of live vicariously through Catherine— she has so much fun cooking with her kids + she’s just awesome) and when I was watching her egg-in-a-hole video Tuesday night, I told my mom that I really wanted to try making it soon. Then mom said, “Can you make that now?” I replied, “Like, now? You want it now?” She smiled and said, “Yeah!” Fine with me! It smelled so good when I made it, and I when I had a bite, I knew I had to make one for myself for dinner the next night:

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Check. that. out.

My mom put coconut oil on hers too. Highly recommend that.

5. My friend Kristi brought me some food magazines that her family wasn’t reading anymore. She knows me way too well.

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6. I finally started reading Catching Fire on our snow day (Tuesday)! I’ve only put it off for about a year and a half. I borrowed the book from my friend Itzel, and I still haven’t given it back. She knows, but she also rolls her eyes at me when I tell her I still haven’t read it yet. Sorry, girl. I also just want to watch the movie!! So many people love it, and I’m the kind of person that wants to read the book before watching the movie.

7. Eating pomegranate seeds by the spoonful is a daily occurrence.

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8. College admissions decisions are coming soon. I just don’t know when. I’m expecting at least a couple in the next week or so, but the rest should come sometime before the end of January. Eek!

9. We bought Trader Joe’s salted almond butter a couple weeks ago and I cracked it open on Tuesday night. I haven’t had almond butter in forever just because my love for peanut butter and sunflower seed butter blinded me. I also remember not really lovin’ almond butter all that much in the past, which is why I got salted for my first time giving it chance again. It still takes third place to the other two, but I do think I’ll be having it often 🙂

10. Speaking of which, I was in a huge rush this morning (trying to sleep in as much as possible), so I grabbed a banana and a spoonful of the AB before heading out the door. Bad idea. The almond butter is incredibly drippy, so I had to peel my banana right away to catch the waterfall of nut butter off my spoon. ‘Twas tasty nonetheless because I do love drippy nut butter.

Have a lovely Thursday, everyone!

So tell me: Do you go all out with Christmas gifts? Have you ever tried egg-in-a-hole? In order, what are your favorite nut/seed butters?

I Am My Own Worst Enemy

I’m not going to sugar coat anything here. Last night was my worst night of insomnia ever. After getting a less than stellar night’s sleep on Sunday night, I was wiped out for the rest of the day. Thank God there was a two hour delay yesterday, because otherwise, I would have been an absolute zombie.

Last night, I tried winding down by 8:30 and I was in bed by 9:00, absolutely exhausted. Knowing that the murmur of TV usually helps me fall asleep, I took the iPad into my room to listen to Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. After two episodes, I was still up and frustrated as heck. I went downstairs in tears (crying has been a nightly norm for me this past week) and tried confiding in my poor mother, who could do nothing but say she wishes she could take my place. I appreciate you, mom. Another hour or so went by, and by then, my head and stomach were in pain because I was just. so. tired. I wept and felt extremely helpless, because I knew that the root of my problem was ME. My brain. My anxiety. And no one, not even I, can help that. In the spur of frustration, I let my mind fall into dark thoughts. When my dad came home from work at around midnight, he just held my hands and we prayed together. That was really the only thing anyone could do at that point. I didn’t end up falling asleep until around 12:30 probably. Three hours to fall asleep. 

God promises that He will not let us suffer through anything that we do not have the strength to fight through. I must say, He’s pushing me farther than ever! Thankfully, today is a snow day, so I hope to find some sleep. If we didn’t have the snow day, I told my parents I wouldn’t go to school anyway. “It’s just too much,” I told my mom.

I’ve tried so many things to get me to relax and take my mind off of whatever it is I’m gripping onto so tightly:

  • sleep tea
  • reading
  • television (sometimes works)
  • hot shower
  • soothing fragrances

Yes, these things are definitely relaxing, but with a brain as stubborn as mine, the relaxation doesn’t always last.

I tell people that my insomnia is 100% psychological, because it is. My personality is naturally stubborn and often anxious about little things. I’ll start falling asleep, but then I’ll wake myself up again, and this will continue as a vicious cycle. Perhaps it’s because I know I didn’t have a good night’s rest the night before, so I set myself up to think I won’t be able to sleep again. I know that stress triggers my insomnia as well. If I know I have important things to do during the week, or even if I just want to be energetic for the next day, I put pressure upon myself to get a good night’s rest, which makes me nervous. The thing is, once I start thinking this way, it’s hard for me to let it go. The more I try to let it go, the more I think about it.

I was never someone who struggled with sleep when I was younger. I could fall asleep at a loud party in 2 minutes if I was tired. I could sleep through my brother jumping on my bed. Obviously, things have changed, and I think the only way to truly fix it is to work through it and carry my cross. This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with, and maybe it’s God’s will for me to suffer through this and learn from it and grow closer to Him, because the only thing I can do sometimes is pray. Pray hard. And offer up my suffering for others who are suffering more than me.

I’m sorry this is such a “woe is me” post, but I just wanted to be completely honest about how I’m feeling about this. The wonderful thing about blogging is that I can just throw my thoughts out there, which is quite therapeutic.

Here is today’s Operation: Fight Insomnia

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A nice, warm breakfast and finally reading Catching Fire

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Trying this out

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Thanks for listening to me 🙂 I hope you have a lovely day!

 

Fascinating Friday Links #15

Hey hey! (in the words of my friend Jeannine— happy birthday, girl!)

I’m gonna keep this intro short and sweet as my eyes are slowly getting droopy. I’m trying out some Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra tea to help a little with my insomnia this week. Jo’s post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. She mentioned that tea with valerian helped her fall asleep quite well, so I picked some up for myself on the way home from school. I’m convinced that my insomnia is purely psychological (can my brain just have an off button sometimes??), but perhaps this tea will help bring my stress levels down a bit. Pray for me! *As I’m completing this post in the morning, I must say that I still couldn’t really relax last night until I had the background noise of the TV. Slept on the couch again then! Oh well.*

But today is Friday, so that’s definitely something to be happy about! I’ll be going to my friend Jeannine’s birthday dinner tonight and then the rest of the weekend should entail the usual activities (dance, Mass, teaching religious ed., homework, etc.). All good stuff happening 🙂 Here are the Fascinating Friday Links to end the week!

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Health and Fitness

[A workout for Catching Fire fans! (and non-fans)] Legs Catching Fire: A Hunger Games Inspired Workout via Blonde Ponytail

[Two posts from Tina—it’s all about balance] 11 Tips to Stick with Your Workouts Through the Holidays + Planning to Gain Weight This Season? Is That Okay? via Best Body Fitness

[Quick and simple] Movember Minute Workout via Purely Twins

[Love all these exercises] 6 Exercise Alternatives to the Barbell Front Squat via Your Trainer Paige

[Fun little workout idea!] The 12 Days of Fitness via Jessie Loves to Run

[LOVE] 10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out via Wellfesto

Food for Thought

[Wealth distribution is way more skewed than we thought] 9 Out of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact via uTrend

[Interesting topic] Food and Gender Stereotypes via The Big Man’s World and Kelly Runs for Food

[Great story that literally hits home] The True Meaning of Home (and How I Learned It) via Goins Writer

Food for Belly

[Holiday cookies galore!] 25 Best from Two Peas & Their Pod + 27 fabulous ones from How Sweet It Is

[I like this eggnog-in-breakfast thing] Eggnog Baked Oatmeal with Caramelized Bananas and Vanilla Brown Butter via How Sweet It Is + Baked Eggnog French Toast with Sauteed Pears and Pomegranate via Little Ferraro Kitchen

[Need] Easy Sweet Potatoes + Eggs via Edible Perspective

[Gorgeous] Winter Tabouleh via Flourishing Foodie

[Yes, please] Healthier Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies via Yeah…Imma Eat That

Miscellaneous Fun

[Wait, what?] Kids’ Movies with Adult Innuendos via ChaCha

[Media blows things up] Ever Hear About The Lady Who Spilled Coffee on Herself at McDonald’s and Sued for Millions? via UpWorthy

[Personally, this is how I want to find my soulmate] 5 Secrets to Successful Dating via Chastity Project

[Acne is sneaking up on me] Guest Post: How to Create Flawless Skin for the Holidays via Strength and Sunshine

[Great roundup of tips] Bookmarked: Blogging Tips via Lean Green Bean

[These guys rock] Angels We Have Heard on High (Christmas w/ 32 Fingers and 8 Thumbs) via PianoGuys Youtube

Happy Friday!

So tell me: Have you had insomnia before? How did you deal with it? What are you doing this weekend?

Sleepy Monday

Hey there!

I hope your Monday is going well so far. Mine has gone by pretty fast, which is why I haven’t posted until now. The only thing is that I’m super tired thanks to a great 2-hour stretch of insomnia last night -_- . I have an issue every so often in which I’m SO tired that I have trouble falling asleep. I’ve figured out that it’s probably due to my over-thinking, stubborn brain. That little stinker. It’s hard to explain why I have so much trouble some nights, and it is certainly never fun to experience, but it happens.

Anyway, two different doctor appointments were on the schedule for today. Fun stuff, right? The first one was at 10 AM so a quick breakfast had to be put in my belly:

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Bowl of Special K strawberry, PB Puffins, and chia seeds with milk + banana with sunflower seed butter

Tasty! (*In the Candy Crush man’s creepy voice*)

After my appointment, my mom and I made a quick stop to Costco to pick up some replenishments for our pantry and fridge. Then came the highlight of my day–a Starbucks catch-up with my friend Lilly from dance!

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Green tea frapps for both of us

In my dance company, we have a fun “Big Sis, Little Sis” matchup where a current company member becomes the big sister to an incoming company member. Lilly is a senior like me, but she just moved to New York last year and made it into company this year, so I’m her big sister (even though I’m shorter 😉 )! We had an awesome time talking about college, west coast vs. east coast, and healthy food (which she loves just like me!). Loved our bonding time 🙂

I just finished lunch, which I threw together in about 2 minutes, because I kinda just want to NAP. I wanted to work out around this time, but I think my body needs sleep. Plus, I have another doctor’s appointment at 5 PM. Woo.

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Whole wheat angel hair pasta with spinach and salmon. Sriracha drizzle of course!

My lack of sleep is making this Monday sort of a hazy day, but pray for me that I can nap and sleep tonight!

Have a great rest of the day!

So tell me: Do you ever have trouble sleeping due to over-thinking? What do you like to get at Starbucks or any coffee shop?