How #LivingaSweatLife Helped Me Improve My Anxiety
  • February 3, 2017
  • asweatlife_How #LivingaSweatLife Helped Me Improve My Anxiety

    Your relaxing trip to visit a friend has finally arrived. You’re on your way to the airport. Did you unplug your curling iron? Did you remember to leave the hall light on? Shoot! You forgot to check if the back door was locked. You haven’t used it in over a month, but what if it’s been unlocked this whole time?

    WAIT DID YOU FORGET YOUR PHONE?! WHERE IS IT?! IT’S NOT IN YOUR … oh wait, you’re holding it. Phew. Hopefully your flight isn’t delayed. You probably wouldn’t be able to make your dinner reservation in time … unless you’re able to go straight to the restaurant from the airport. But what would you do with your suitcase? Note to self: figure out plan B on the plane.

    SHOOT! You were so busy double and triple checking that your curling iron was unplugged, you totally forgot that you needed to pack it. Maybe you can call your friend to see if you can borrow hers … WAIT DID YOU FORGET YOUR PHONE?! WHERE IS IT?! IT’S NOT IN YOUR … oh wait, yup. It’s still in your hand.

    I can’t speak for everyone that has some form of anxiety, but for me, I used to constantly feel like I was on my way to the airport. I spent the majority of my time making to-do lists; thinking about to-do lists; making a to-do list of to-do lists I still had to make, creating a plan A, B, C, D, and sometimes even E for every situation; worrying about what I could be forgetting and deciding what I would do in case I did in fact forget something. Consequently, being “present” was very challenging, and falling asleep was impossible.

    Notice, I described this experience in past tense because it is no longer life as I know it. Thankfully, as I discovered and began to fully commit myself to “living aSweatLife,” my symptoms and side effects naturally and drastically decreased.

    Here are the top four habits this lifestyle helped me to create:

    1. Meal Planning.

    Having 5 days worth of lunches and snacks and dinners ready to go each day eliminates the need to create a plan B or plan C for food while at work. During the day, I am more than prepared for anything that may arise, whether it be a last-minute meeting, an extra long phone call, an unexpected project or a surprise dilemma, because I have five lunches and snacks packed in the fridge and ready to slip into my tote bag. Likewise, having dinner mostly prepared and ready to reheat/finish cooking calms my mind, even if I have an especially late night, an unexpected appointment, or encounter bad traffic.

    2. Bullet Journaling.

    This was the most amazing cure for the revolving door of lists, also known as my brain. Previously, I could be found at any given moment with a “budget book,” a planner, a calendar, a pad of post-it notes and a small notebook for random lists. Needless to say, utilizing all of these office products simultaneously didn’t help me accomplish anything besides turning chaos into controlled chaos.

    Now, all of these things are combined into one, organized, labeled and color-coded journal. When I start to stress about saving money, I quickly refer to my budget page and rest reassured that I’m doing fine. When I question whether or not I really have time for the lunch date I just promised to set up with a friend in passing, I quickly refer to my color-coded schedule page, and the visual of open spaces throughout the week calms my mind down instantly. If I start to stress about something that my bullet journal can’t help me with, I simply create a new page.

    3. Clean Eating.

    This is closely connected to meal planning, but eating clean as much as possible made a giant difference for my cluttered mind. I no longer feel “foggy,” and I have much more energy throughout the day. On weekends, I often choose to stay in, make my own meals and enjoy a glass or two of wine on my couch. As a result, I am able to wake up early and accomplish a lot on Saturday and Sunday, and I rarely feel overwhelmed by the “Sunday Scaries.” Overall, having confidence in my ability to maximize my productivity each day has done wonders, and I owe a lot of it to my clean and balanced diet.

    4. Consistent Workouts.

    This is by far my favorite habit of them all. I used to workout when I “had time”. And when I held that mindset, I found that I hardly ever had time. I had to schedule time. As I explained when discussing bullet journaling, my color-coded schedule is a great visual for me as I make plans. Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by the amount of things I feel like I have to do, but when I look at my schedule, the empty spaces show that I still have time to hit the gym.

    Over time, I found that my anxiety overall decreased when I am working out consistently, and I can immediately feel a difference when I take a break from the gym. Not only does working out each day help me to blow off steam, but it also helps me to fall asleep faster at night. The next day, I wake up feeling refreshed and energized, resulting in enough energy to tackle another day and another workout. And the cycle continues.

     

    In what ways has #livingaSweatLife improved your daily life?

     

    About Ashley McCullough

    Ashley McCullough has been an active advocate of weight lifting, taco eating, city living and not running for as long as she can remember. A lifelong Notre Dame fan, she graduated from Saint Mary’s College in 2012 with a degree in Elementary Education. By day, you can find her organizing objects by color, singing, chanting, dancing around, and reading with her kindergarten class. After the school bell rings, well, not much changes. She continues to do all that. But she also thoroughly enjoys conversing and interacting with adults at group fitness classes and #Sweatworking events. Ashley was born and raised in the suburbs and moved to the city 4 years ago. She never plans to leave… unless she is able to find a beach house on a mountain in a major industrial city on a private island. Then she just might.

    One thought on “How #LivingaSweatLife Helped Me Improve My Anxiety

    1. Nimbe

      Completely agree. Meal prepping (although hard at time when I’m feeling lazy) and consistent workouts have made a total change. They make the difference and in my case I feel like I have more time to enjoy life since those things are planned in advance 🙂

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