Tools For Coping With Anxiety! | What I Do DURING A Panic Attack

I’ve struggled with anxiety most of my life and used to have anxiety attacks regularly. Over time, I have learned several ways to keep my anxiety at bay which has honestly changed my life. You can read here all about how I got my anxiety under control when it was at it’s worst through meditation and mindfulness.

Even though my anxiety has been much more frequent in the past, I still have the occasional break down triggered by random stressful situations. Today I want to share with you what I do during an anxiety attack to calm my mind and get through it as painlessly as possible.

Breath 

This is by far the most important tip I have for you!

When your mind is “in the clouds”, it’s important to bring yourself back to the body. Anxiety attacks can cause extreme shortness of breath and even hyperventilation (often a symptom I experience). I will breathe so quickly that I’ll start to choke on my own breath which makes the experience even more frightening than it already is.

Without forcing your breathing, feel your chest rising and falling. Try to slow your breath and feel your body moving as you inhale and exhale. The last anxiety attack I had, my dad told me to focus on relaxing the middle of my torso just below the rib cage. This tip really helped bring me back to my body so I could slow my breathing.

Stay Warm

I often get chills and hot flashes while I’m in the midst of an anxiety attack. My teeth chatter and I’ll break out in sweats almost like the flu. My dad has always told me to keep the body warm during a panic attack by bundling up and drinking warm water. I asked him to help me explain why this helps so much:

First thing to know is there are many different causes of anxiety and panic attacks from a Chinese medicine perspective. No one treatment is going to help everyone – and you should always seek out competent healthcare advice to make sure a given treatment is right for your constitution.

That said, I’ve found the warm/hot water trick to be invaluable for people who are having high anxiety moments or panic attacks. Part of this is simple – drinking something warm is soothing for us – and the ritual of getting hot water can often be enough of a focus for the mind to reduce the anxious feelings, depending on their severity.

On a more complex level, we can think about what’s going on in the instance of a panic attack. Your body is flooded with biochemicals that signal the body to go into fight or flight mode. This shunts energy, heat, blood and resources out to the limbs so you can run for your life! The interior of the body, particularly the digestion, gets no love in this situation. So, by taking warm water into the center, we are reminding the body to pay attention to the interior, and giving needed yang energy (yang is the warming side of the yin-yang pair) that can help to draw excessive thinking and energy down and in – the perfect antidote to the “up and out” gesture that anxiety has.

-Eric Grey, MS, LAc

You can also read his helpful article about chronic anxiety here if you’re interested in learning about it from a Chinese Medicine perspective!

Accept 

It’s important when you’re having an anxiety attack to remember that you’re not going to die and that it will end eventually. As my dad explained, there’s a chemical reaction happening in your body during a panic attack that can’t be reversed, you just have to ride it out. Don’t force it to be over because the more you think about what is happening, the more you will stay in your own head which is why you’re having the anxiety attack in the first place.

Remember that the experience you are having is fear triggered by stress. Not fear triggered by something actually life threatening. Try to accept what’s happening and use coping tools like the ones I’m discussing in this post to get through it as painlessly as possible.

SOS Meditation

I use an app called Headspace that I refer to in the link at the beginning of this post for daily guided meditation. Recently I discovered the SOS and Singles section of the app. They have mini guided meditations to use in moments when you’re starting to feel very overwhelmed or are having a panic attack.

I find that if I feel anxious and am anticipating an anxiety attack doing one of these short mediations can completely erase the feeling!

Thank you for reading! I hope you found this post helpful for coping with anxiety attacks in the moment. If you have any tips I didn’t include please let me know in the comments below! I am always searching for new ways to ease my stress and make anxiety attacks easier.

Pack With Me! | 10 Day Trip To Oregon | Calpak Suit Case + Herschel Duffle Bag

Ahhh – that feeling you get the day before a long trip to relax with family.

I’ve never really had a suitcase I love, usually I pack in totes and backpacks when I can. But since I live in a different state than my family now, I just seem to travel more and more. I decided it was time to invest in some good carry-on luggage to make visiting home a little easier!

I purchased a duffel bag and carry-on size suit case for my travels that both fit within standard carry-on size guide lines. I got my duffel bag from Herschel Supply Co. and my suit case from Calpak. I love how the Calpak carry-on has a separate section to keep your laptop and other delicate items safe on your travels. I also appreciate how smooth the suit case is to pull around and how comfortable the duffle bag is to carry!

I used my duffel for this trip as my purse and catch-all for anything that didn’t fit in my suit case. I didn’t use all the available space so I know I’ll have room for an even longer trip in the future.

My favorite feature of this duffel, other than the cute color and style selection, is the separate compartment at the bottom for shoes! I never know where to put shoes among my clothes when traveling and this compartment completely solves that problem.

My biggest tip for packing any kind of suit case is to roll your clothing instead of folding! I’ve tested this theory multiple times and have come to the conclusion that rolling is the only way to go.

I store all my clothing rolled up on the right side of my suit case. On the left are compartments where I organize my underwear, bras, and any other accessories I might be bringing. Underneath this section is a separate compartment where I stored socks and a pair of sandals.

TIP: If you purchase the Wandr suit case I have with a separate laptop compartment, computer chargers do not fit in this part of the suit case. I stored mine in the main case with my socks. 

I highly recommend investing in good luggage if you are traveling often! Not only does it make for quicker packing but it keeps me organized on the go. If you have any packing tips of your own please leave them in the comments below!

Thank you for reading! 🙂

Smile Direct Club Invisible Aligners | Month #1 | Cheap Alternative To Braces! | Do They Work?!

My teeth have forever been one of my biggest insecurities. I always wanted braces or Invisalign to straighten my smile growing up. As we all know, orthodontic bills can get very expensive and they have never been something I could afford.

I’ve seen lots of ads on the internet for Smile Direct Club over the past year or so and have always been curious about it. After doing a lot of research I decided to give it a go since the cost was %60 less than going through an orthodontist, and many people seemed to have success with it.

Taking The Impressions:

Smile Direct Club is awesome because the entire process is done right from home! No orthodontist appointments – phew!

To start, you buy an impression kit online for $95 that allows an orthodontist to view your teeth and create a treatment plan for you! The impression kit includes detailed instructions on what to do and how to get the best impressions possible.

Once you’ve mailed your impressions back, you wait…

They approved my impressions and began creating a treatment plan quickly after I sent the box back. They updated me with emails along the way, I was even able to see how my smile would straighten online just a few weeks later.

The Aligners:

Below are before and after photos of my teeth the day I started using the aligners and the day I finished my first month of using the aligners. I zoomed in to the right side of my mouth where the aligners are doing the most work!

Excuse the poor picture quality! The extreme zoom blurred the photos, but you can still see a clear difference between the first and second photo! For only a month of wearing the aligners, I can see a noticeable difference in the location of my tooth.

They send you 3 sets of aligners for each month of your treatment. You wear the 3rd set for 2 weeks. My first Smile Direct package came with 2 months worth of aligners and a complimentary 3 month whitening treatment! Also included are tools for fine tuning and cleaning the aligners, a tray to store them, and instructions.

After wearing the aligners for the first full month, here’s what I’ll say:

The aligners have all fit in my mouth comfortably so far, I haven’t had to sand down any edges or fix any spots that are uncomfortable.

My teeth hurt with each new aligner for the first 3 days after changing them. Once the first 3 days are over there can be some sensitivity but mostly they’re comfortable and easy to take in and out.

The first week was an adjustment period, getting used to speaking with my aligners in as well as drink water and do other basic things was very weird. I had a callus on the tip of my tongue for several days as well as scrapes along my cheeks from chewing on them. Now that I am used to wearing the aligners, I hardly notice them!

By far the most annoying part of having invisible aligners is taking them out every time you want to eat. At first I was brushing my teeth every time I removed them which was a pain. Now, I simply swish my mouth out after eating and only brush 3 times a day.

Thank you for reading the first post in this Smile Direct Series! Look forward to updates every month on my experience with this company and my smile’s progress. 🙂

This post was not sponsored – all products were purchased by me and all opinions are my own!

All About My Pets! | Whiskey, Jaxson & Penny’s Daily Routine

My boyfriend Skylar and I are the proud owners of two beautiful dogs and one cat! I always knew I wanted pets instead of children growing up. Dogs take a lot of time and energy to raise but there’s nothing like coming home to a friend that is literally always excited to see you! Today I thought I would share with you a little bit about my pets and our daily routine.

Pups:


Whiskey is the first dog I have ever owned on my own (brown brindle on the right in the photos above). I bought her for $300 off an ad I found on our local Craigslist. She was advertised as a 1/4 Boxer, 3/4 Pit Bull. This was definitely a fib on the sellers part! She’s more like 1/3 Pit Bull, 2/3 Lab. Now that she’s grown it’s easier to see what  breed she is.

When I saw her for the first time I fell in love. She was the softest, prettiest little brindle baby. While she was a very challenging puppy, now at age 2 1/2, she’s finally starting to mellow out a little (and most importantly LISTEN). She’s 65lbs of furry, lickin’ love.

We got Jaxson Daniel, my boyfriend’s dog, two winters ago for only $200 in a town near where we live. He had one ice blue eye and one brown with the cutest gray and white coloring. There were at least 10 puppies to choose from but we knew he was the one when we saw how mellow and sweet he was. He grew to be 65 pounds, just like his sister!

Both of our pups are incredibly loving and sweet. They’re very co-dependent and love to play hard together and with their cat, Penny. We crate trained them both at a young age so they don’t mind being crated while we’re at work as long as they’re together. Sometimes they even hangout in the crate for no reason when we’re home.

Kitty:

Penny is our oldest animal, almost 3 years old! We found her abandoned in a parking lot at about 4 weeks old with 6 other kittens. We rescued two of them. I nursed them back to health as best I could, bottle feeding them and taking them to work with me (at the time I worked at an animal shelter) to make sure they stayed warm and fed.

Unfortunately, Leo passed away because he just couldn’t figure out how to eat. It was sad but we knew it was a possibility when we found them abandoned at such a young age. Penny stayed strong and lived to be the best cat ever!

Diet & Play:

The dogs eat 2 cups of Taste of The Wild dog food each morning and night. I mix their dry food with warm water and they absolutely love it!

Penny eats Blue Wilderness cat food. She is an indoor/outdoor cat that loves her dogs and is very tolerant of any kind of handling by humans or children!

Tip: If your dogs won’t eat their kibble, try adding warm water to the food. They’ll go crazy for it!!!

We’re lucky to have a big yard for our dogs to play in during the summer. They tire themselves out pretty well playing together but we like to throw a ball for them and let them play with the hose for extra fun too! I take them on some walks in the summer but don’t start walking them every day until winter when it’s snowy and our back yard is 7 feet buried in 7 feet of snow!

Let me know what your pet routine is in the comments below! I’m a dog and cat lover equally so I would absolutely love to see photos of your furry babies as well 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Plan With Me! | 4 Weeks Of Planning! | Vertical Erin Condren Life Planner

For those of you who don’t follow my plan with me posts, I use an Erin Condren Life Planner and order decorative stickers off of Etsy to organize my weeks!

These past 4 weeks of planning are some of my favorite spreads so far this year! I used deluxe weekly sticker kits by Paisley Prints Co and Planning Dreams on Etsy.

I had fun using the big statement pieces like the 4 square picture in the spread below to plan. I think bigger images make for a such a cute planning look!

Show me your spreads in the comments below! I always love seeing other peoples planning styles! 🙂

My Planning Essentials: