Practical Steps to Make a Difference

With a lot happening in the world and across the country right now and loads of uncertainty about what the next day will bring - whether it’s our health or it’s our government - anxiety can feel like it’s at an all-time high. 

Folded in with the start of a new year, which can sometimes bring its own set of stressors - setting high goals and making scheduling and lifestyle changes to reach them - it can be overwhelming. It’s important to remember that there are tools available to realize the root causes of our stress and anxiety, and to help manage and navigate periods of high tension. 

  1. Think about what you eat. Regularly eating foods with a lot of saturated fats and added sugars can contribute to feelings of anxiety, especially in adults over 60. While many adults start the day with a cup of coffee, it’s important to avoid too much caffeine, which can mirror symptoms of anxiety, including restlessness. 
  2. Take a break. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, stepping away from work causing anxiety or, if it’s a situation at home that is creating stress, going for a short walk might be a way to make some space between yourself and the tasks or situations causing a high level of anxiety.  
  3. Find perspective. Especially in January 2021, it can be easy to start reading through the news of the day and then find yourself endlessly scrolling through depressing or even scary headlines that, in different ways, cause concern and anxiety. It can be helpful in situations like that to reflect on what things can be controlled and, when those have been determined, focus more attention on those responsibilities and relationships. 
  4. Try to laugh. While the internet can often be a sad or scary place, there are plenty of funny kid videos or weird pet GIFs that can bring a smile to the face of even the biggest curmudgeon. And since “sharing is caring,” what should you do if you find something really funny? Share it with someone else! A text message with a funny video can be a great way to make someone else’s day and maybe even re-establish an old connection.  
  5. Slow down. If it’s a matter pushing your chair away from your computer, closing your eyes and counting to 10 to create a little breathing room, do it! Like in exercise, slowing down can - eventually - help you to go faster. Doing things like meditating or even taking time for breathing exercises can help tamp down anxiety of high-stress situations. 
  6. Talk to a mental health professional. While activities like exercise and yoga can help manage anxiety, sometimes they’re not enough. Therapy and medication are options available to individuals who have not found relief using other measures. At Willow Creek Behavioral Health, mental health professionals are a phone call away, 24/7 at (920) 328-1220 or toll free at (844) 308-5050. And they can determine the next steps, including setting up an in-person assessment the same day.