Sometimes I will wake up with my heart pounding, my head spinning, and the irresistible urge to stay under the covers. Whether I know exactly what is making me anxious or have no clue, it is impossible to get up and start my day.
Luckily, these days have become few and far between for me thanks to therapy and medication. However, last year, I missed plenty of days of class because my bed felt safer than facing what was making me anxious.
While the ultimate goal here is to push through the anxiety and go on with your day, I know that is not always possible. You are not a failure for staying in bed. People with physical illnesses need days to rest and recover. People with mental illnesses do, too.
A day at home is not necessarily a wasted day. From my many days spent homebound with anxiety, I have learned small ways to make these days productive.
First things first, get out of bed.
I know first-hand how hard it is to force yourself out of bed. However, it is a key step reducing anxiety. Getting up and doing things, no matter how small, will make you feel better. I only feel worse if I spend an entire day in bed. I will toss and turn, constantly thinking about what is making me anxious.
GET UP & GET READY
Even though I’m not leaving my house, I still like to get ready for the day. Brush your teeth, wash your face, shower, get dressed. If you want, do your makeup. Look good, feel good!
EAT & DRINK WATER
When I am anxious, eating tends to be the last thing on my mind. I am either not hungry or my stomach is hurting. However, it is important to stay nourished. You will only feel weaker if you don’t eat. Even if it’s just a granola bar or yogurt, eating something is important. Also, remember to stay hydrated! Drinking water will make you feel better, as well.
TELL YOURSELF POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS
I beat myself up a lot when I stay home from anxiety. I often feel like a failure for letting whatever is making me anxious “win.” It is so important to remember that you are not a failure. You are tough for living with a mental illness. It is only natural for anxiety to keep you home some days, it is an illness after all. Check out My Passion Projects’ post full of positive affirmations!
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Take your prescription medications. Call your therapist. Do whatever is necessary.
REFLECT ON WHAT IS MAKING YOU ANXIOUS
Do you know the source of your anxiety? Is there anything you can do to relieve it? Have you experienced something similar in the past that you were able to work through? Talk to someone close to you about how you are feeling or journal about it.
TRY TO BE PRODUCTIVE
Sitting around tends to make me more anxious. Try doing your homework, cleaning your room, working on your blog, etc. Checking even the smallest tasks off of your to-do list will give you a sense of accomplishment.
DO THINGS THAT YOU FIND RELAXING
When I am anxious, I love reading blog posts and catching up on my favorite YouTubers. Anything that takes my mind off of my anxiety is helpful, really.
REMEMBER THAT A DAY AT HOME IS NOT A DAY WASTED
Consider it a self-care day. Remember how important it is to take care of yourself. You are strong and you deserve to treat yourself in the best way possible.
If your anxiety is crippling and is keeping you in bed very often, please seek professional help. Speaking from personal experience, it is the best thing I have done for my anxiety. For background information, I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder & Panic Disorder. If you have any questions or just want to chat, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @laurens_journey.