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I have been dealing with anxiety for the better part of my teenage/adult life, on and off, but I don’t think it ever hit me as hard as it did this year. It honestly took me years to even accept I suffered from anxiety at all. I left my job, started a new job at an agency, and within just a few short months, was soon experiencing some of the most overwhelming anxiety I had faced in a long time. While the company is not to blame, I learned quickly that I had put myself in a job that was not good for me or my mental health. I was already facing a slew of other problems. Adding a tough job that required so much of my mental and physical energy on top of it was not a smart idea.
Getting through it all was not easy, and I had several nights where I wasn’t sure what to do or how to keep going. But the below tips helped me tremendously, and I hope they can help you too.
- Accept that you can take baby steps. You do not have to make drastic decisions in a day. Work at the pace that is best for you. What helped me dramatically is living by a “one step at a time” philosophy. I don’t need to tackle everything immediately. Often it is just about taking that first step, whatever that might be. Sometimes just running one simple errand is enough for the day. Get that haircut you’ve been wanting. Get a massage if you need it. Go on that hike you’ve been wanting to go on. It’s the little things that keep us going.
- Seek help. Learning how to feel comfortable talking about my issues helped me immensely. It’s incredibly hard to come to terms with seeking outside help from a therapist or psychologist, but trust me, once you do it you won’t regret it.
- Cut yourself slack. Sometimes it took constant reminders of this, but you do not have to meet any sort of standards in order to be your best self. Once you can cut through the BS of society’s stigmas, you realize it is just two words: “It’s okay.”
- Let go of things that are holding you back. This one isn’t easy, because we become so accustomed to certain things in our lives. But if you have a friend that is toxic, a bunch of junk piling up in your room, or even a job that isn’t a good fit for you, let it go. Always do what is best for you.
- Accept that you don’t need to please everyone. You never will. Realizing this sooner rather than later will save you a ton of headaches along the way.
- Accept that you are not tied to anything or anyone. You really don’t have to do something you don’t want to do—with obvious exceptions. If there’s no harm to anyone else, you have to put your happiness first. Refusing to make decisions out of unnecessary guilt will only hold you back. Your company will find another employee to replace you. That committee will be fine without you. Your friend will be okay if you stop hanging out with them. You don’t need to stay in situations that make you unhappy because you are afraid of what people will think or how it will make them feel.
Life is short and we need to make the best of it. If you’re having trouble making decisions or moving forward, the only question you might need to ask yourself is: “What is best for me?”