When I am feeling anxious I just want to stay curled up on my couch and never leave my house.
A few years ago I decided I wouldn’t let my anxiety shrink my world and steal experiences from me. I now make myself venture out and do everything I would normally do even when I’m feeling anxious AF.
When I head out I always make sure I have a few of these items in my purse. Feeling prepared and having a plan for how to cope with anxiety helps me stay calm. Here are some of the items I will carry in my anxiety coping kit.
I am obsessed with essential oils. I use energizing ones when I work and put a few drops of lavender in my diffuser before I go to bed. When I’m out and about I carry a special Anxiety Ease essential oil blend. If I start feeling anxious I just put it on my wrists and it helps me anchor myself in the present moment.
I never leave the house without headphones. They are perfect if you just need to block everything out and focus on your breath for a while. I use them to listen to music or guided meditations. Putting on headphones is a universal do not disturb sign so if you’re on a plane or bus pop in your headphones to signal to everyone around you that you don’t want to chat.
I keep a collection of guided meditations on my phone that I can use if I start to get bad anxiety. I have even put my headphones on to do them in the bathroom at parties and in the airport. Find a couple that you like and make sure you have them downloaded and ready to go. These really help me and I find it really comforting to know I can sneak off to do these. I try to be proactive and do these as soon as I start to get anxious instead of waiting until I’m on the verge of a panic attack.
Something to Fidget With
I personally like to keep crystals in my pocket to fidget with if I’m feeling uncomfortable. I carry different ones on different days but my favorite is rose quartz. I find crystals really comforting to hold in my hands and I imagine them radiating calming and healing energy through my entire body. It’s a good distraction and an easy way to try and ground yourself back in the present moment.
I find aggressively chewing gum when I’m stressed out to be really relaxing. It’s also an easy thing to find if you find yourself away from your house and unprepared to cope with anxiety. Focus on the taste and try to bring yourself back to the present moment.
I recently got caught without my medication when my car broke down and it really sucked. Keep extra medication in your purse in case you get stuck somewhere overnight. It’s always better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it.
Make playlists of whatever music helps you feel calm and download them onto your phone. I am sure a lot of people would tell you to make a playlist of relaxing songs to listen to but that doesn’t really work for me. I like to make playlists of dance and pop songs and try to get myself in a better mood. It helps me to focus on happy and lighthearted feelings to try and shake off the doom and gloom that comes over me when I start to feel anxious.
TV show or Movie
Put your favorite movie or TV show on your phone so that you can watch it if you start to feel anxious. If you have your headphones you can always sneak off into a corner and zone out for a little bit. I do this a lot when I’m traveling and my usual tricks aren’t working to calm down. I’ll sneak off into a corner and watch a movie for awhile and just zone out.
Books are also great distractions. Keep something easy to read on your phone or in your bag. I like Bossypants by Tina Fey and Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I also find that sometimes I get too distracted to read so I will listen to audiobooks instead of reading. Figure out which one helps you get out of your head and back into the present moment and keep it on hand.
These are the best for when you feel like you just want to disappear. There’s something about wearing sunglasses that makes me feel like a bad ass. I keep them in my bag and wear them whenever I start wishing I could just disappear.
Water can help calm anxiety especially if you drank too much caffeine or ate too much sugar. Drinking water can help alleviate some of the negative symptoms and help you start feeling better faster. Plus it’s great for your overall health and even helps make your skin look good. Find a water bottle you like and keep it with you all the time. I’m obsessed with this one because it keeps my drink cold all day even in the Florida summer.
OK so this isn’t really something for your anxiety kit but I used to go to an anxiety support group at my school and it was really helpful! You can look online to see if there are any support groups in your area. Sometimes hearing how other people are coping with anxiety can be helpful and make you feel like there are other people that understand. If there isn’t an in person support group I have a Facebook mental health support group for ladies that you can join for free. The group is full of other bad ass ladies working on their mental health.
Again, not really something for your anxiety coping kit but if you are really struggling with anxiety I recommend finding a therapist near you that specializes in anxiety. Talking to someone that is trained in helping people cope with anxiety can be really helpful especially if you’re support system isn’t that great or doesn’t understand what you’re going through. I currently get my therapy from an online service called BetterHelp. They match you with a certified therapist that you can work with over Skype, phone calls or email. This is a great option if you’re anxiety is preventing you from talking to someone in person.
I always keep earplugs in my bag when I’m traveling. They are also great if you have roommates and you just want to be left alone. They’re great for when you just want to block out the world but find yourself in a noisy environment.
My anxiety sometimes makes me sick to my stomach so I always keep these in my bag. I take one as soon as I start to feel really anxious and it helps settle my stomach and keeps me from getting nauseous.
I literally never leave my house without my journal. When I’m feeling anxious I usually write out a couple pages of affirmations and that helps me focus on the positive and come back to the present moment. The affirmations I use the most for anxiety are “Everything always works out for me in the end” and “Everything that happens to me is for my highest good”. I have a printable list of affirmations you can grab in my resource library.
I love adult coloring books and they’re a good distraction if my mind just won’t slow down. Amazon has a ton of adult coloring books you can order. It’s nice to have something to focus on and keep your hands and mind busy.
I hope this list gives you some ideas for creating your own anxiety coping kit. Being prepared with a plan to cope with anxiety can make it easier to put yourself in situations that might make you anxious. If you’re looking for more information check out my Mental Health Resource Library and my other posts about anxiety.
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