Today I was doing a running exercise outside, in 95% humidity, to get in shape for the 5k piece of the triathlon. I realized how out of shape I was halfway through the workout! My anxiety took over freaking out which made me want to stop running and walk home. But time is going to move on whether I quit and walk home or keep running. Might as well keep working towards the triathlon goal and know I did my best than quitting. Here’s to another workout!
One thing I have been surprised about while doing research on anxiety and going to cognitive behavioral therapy is anxiety decreases with a more structured routine. I always felt it was the opposite. If you were more spontaneous and did not feel you were on this strict timeline you would be less anxious. Apparently, the act of having a morning and/or night routine, for example, allows you to predict what is going to happen and enjoy going through the steps thus decreasing anxiety or keeping it at bay.
Ok, awesome sounds easy enough? Well, I’ve tried to wake up early a few times and I’m not a morning person so this is going to be hard. Let’s try to break this down into a few steps because I don’t know where to start!
Let’s focus on the morning routine first.
What is my current “routine”?
Wake up between 6:30 am – 7:00 am (depending on how tired I am & yes I hit the snooze button), shower, sometimes eat breakfast, get ready for work (make-up, hair, clothes) and leave for work at 8:00 am. I do admit I use my phone a couple of times to look at the weather, news, games & videos that I know is not the best to do first thing in the morning. I used to look at my Instagram first thing after waking but I disabled my account, which I can do a separate post on.
What do I want my ideal morning routine to consist of?
Well first off I would like a routine where I don’t feel rushed to get out the door for work. To do that I need to hold myself accountable to wake up early enough and not hit the snooze button like I’ve been doing. Waking up 30 min earlier than I do now is manageable and I can gauge if I need more time or not. I would also like to be active since I sit all day at work. The rest of the morning, I would like to work on completing items that will set me up for success and positive vibes.
Down to business, what is my ideal morning routine rough draft?
Ok, time to start making a plan/agenda of my morning routine and go from there. I want to start Monday and will update how my progress is going. The list of items are a rough draft and I will adjust accordingly once I get going!
- Wake up at 6:00 am (no hitting snooze!)
- Make Bed
- Run/Walk for a Mile
- Make Breakfast
- Read a Few Pages of a Book or do Yoga (basically anything but using the phone)
- Get Ready for Work or Weekend Activities
I was thinking of making a printable grid with the days of the week and my morning routine to-do list so I can check off each ‘step’ every day until it becomes a habit.
If anyone has, any tips they want to share about their current night and/or morning routine I would appreciate it! Night routine is next!
Since registering for my first sprint triathlon, even with it just being a few days, I can feel my anxiety lessen already. Just knowing ok, I spent the money, people know I am signed up; I have to show up to the event at a minimum. It’s going to happen! The hardest part was shutting out the negative thoughts of “oh you can’t sign up for a tri are you crazy?” But once you click the registration complete button it’s gone time!
I was doing a 500-meter swim at the pool the other day the woman in the next lane that was the same age as I was also training for a triathlon (such a small world)! She gave me some great tips on working on swimming with my head down because I can’t keep my head under for a long period of time (yet). So that was some nice motivation to keep doing my tri training and possibly meet more people.
My advice is to try something new this weekend that you always wanted to do. Maybe go for a hike, cook a new recipe, go for a walk after waking up. The possibilities are endless! What will you try this weekend to help with your anxiety?
Click here to create your own triathlon-training guide. Good luck!
I’ve been doing research on how to lower anxiety and of course, the tip that keeps coming up is diet & exercise. Of course, there are variations for each person and it doesn’t “cure” anxiety but it is said to decrease it.
The challenge, at least for me is how do I keep my anxiety decreased enough that I can continue with a healthy diet & exercise long enough for me to turn it into a habit. Could just be that I have to fight every day and it’ll never get easier? I hope it gets easier. I’ve worked with a nutritionist and trainer in the past but once I’m on my own I go right back to my old anxious ways. Which is pretty frustrating.
I want to accomplish an activity for me and only me. I want to feel what my true self wants to feel. I don’t want to feel scared and anxious about doing something. I want to show up, be a badass and overcome/destroy what I came here to do.
I want to do a sprint triathlon, which consists of 1/3 mile swim, 10.5 mile bike and 3.2 mile run. Each race mileage varies so if you are interested in completing a triathlon take a look at the different races in your area. The one I’m looking at is on August 19th and it is geared towards beginners so that makes me a little less anxious but I’ve never done one before so I’m not sure. I wanted to wait until the last day of registration to see how I felt but I’m pretty sure I’d still feel anxious.
I had to finally ask myself would I regret not participating in the race? Yes. What is the worst situation? I get hurt or tired and can’t finish. Do you die? No.
Not sure if breaking it up into questions help your anxiety but it has been a nice exercise for me. The end result is I finish or I don’t. If I don’t, no one is upset with me or would yell at me. It’s ok. Of course, I want to finish though.
So, to keep with my motivation I’m telling all of you readers that I signed up for my first triathlon sprint and maybe having this goal for me will keep me motivated. Download a 8 week beginner training guide so stay tuned.
More triathlon goal posts to come! What events have you accomplish or would like to accomplish? Would love to hear about the different activities that people have conquered!
Ever feel like you’re stuck or in a rut? I know my anxiety can sometimes make me feel like nothing will ever change and I can’t do something because of x reason. These two phrases I’ve written down and kept on my phone & computer so I can always remind myself.
One came from my mom when I was younger and it really helps with my anxiety. My mother told me I never have to do anything I don’t want to do. I’ve applied this to events that I wasn’t too keen on going too or people that wanted to hang out that I didn’t like. Side note, this is a great phrase to repeat when you dating. If you don’t want to do something don’t worry about being seen as rude or mean, just don’t do it.
The next I heard on a podcast called Self-Helpless; I’ll do a separate post on this because it is so good.
If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree ~ Jim Rohn
How many times do we think oh I can’t wear that, do that or move there. Yes, you can! We can break through our normal routine and do great things or physically even move! Humans are not rooted down to one place. All the negative thoughts that come into our head is just fear which for me turns into anxiety. A good trick is to journal out each excuse and find out what is driving that negative thought. This has been a great exercise for me when I have a big dream or want to be adventurous.
Comment your favorite quote or personal mantra that helps decrease anxiety or get you through a difficult situation.
Did you ever have a bad day were you felt anxious immediately maybe over what a co-worker said or did and it stayed with you all day? Even explaining why or what caused you to be anxious to someone made them say “that was hours ago. Why are you still anxious? Why is it 6 hours later and you are still in an unpleasant state?” Why are am I milking a bad five minutes into an entire bad day? I am a repeat offender of this and I want to know why I continue to repeat this habit when I clearly don’t want to be anxious or drag out an anxiety episode. Maybe that’s the problem that I’ve done this cycle so many times that it is now a habit. Habits take effort and time to break.
Have you ever had an anxiety moment that continued to ruin the rest of your day? Comment below any tips or strategies you have used to turn your day around.
The Huffington Post published an article in 2010 I’ve found myself reading multiple times that discusses why humans tend to dwell on negative moments and emotions which can be applied to my anxiety reminiscing. Right out of the gate the article discusses rumination and how Psychologists define it when people repeat negative thoughts over and over again but do nothing to change anything. Wow, isn’t that the definition of insanity? The author, Rober Leahy, Ph.D, compares this repetitive behavior to when your car gets stuck and you keep spinning your tires over and over again with the same end result of being stuck in the same spot.
I didn’t realize but when I have those internal battles with myself asking why am I so anxious or why am I still anxious, can be an example of rumination. Questions that I don’t have answers too that just repeat in my head over and over again. Which leads to me being unhappy that I don’t know these answers and then carries my bad 5 min into a bad day. Basically, I’m making sure I stay anxious and upset all day. Thanks self!
I could keep writing for hours discussing Leahy’s article but I want to share the tips I came up with to help break my repetitive thinking. I will leave a link to the article below if you would like to read it for yourself.
The first step in breaking my bad habit is to create a new habit. Next time I have a bad 5 min due to an anxiety flare-up I will try to prevent myself from asking those no answer questions. First, I will try to trace back my anxiety thought if I can. For example, if I’m anxious because my boss is upset I can try to trace back my thought(s) of oh my gosh he is mad at me and I’m going to get in trouble or look bad.
- What is happening? My boss is upset.
- Why is he upset? Because an email went out incorrectly.
- Did you send out the email? No, my coworker did.
- Does your boss know this? Yes, he does.
- Is your boss upset with you personally? No, he’s not but probably doesn’t want to single out just one member of the team and remind us all to proofread work.
This is just a simple example that happened a few weeks ago but it really helped me calm down knowing where the thoughts were coming from and to work out if this is a rational anxious thought. Which it wasn’t.
The next steps I’m not sure on yet because I haven’t found the best constant process that works for me if the first step doesn’t work. I created a list of items that I will make myself go through before I end up at my bad habit trigger of staying at home which is being anxious & depressed binging on Netflix and junk food which ruins my day.
The list I came up with is below which is a rough draft and when I do use it I will report how it worked and if I made any changes. Of course, depending on where I am and whom I am with, this list won’t work for all episodes but it’s a start.
- Trace back the anxious thought(s). Are they a possible concern? Example, I won’t get fired over an email that I didn’t send.
- Listen (and maybe sing) to your favorite song or band
- Get active – go for a walk or to the gym
- Eat a healthy snack or meal
- Write down why you are still anxious. Literally, write down everything that comes into your mind no matter if it makes sense or not.
- See if someone can hang out or talk on the phone
- Look at your favorite photos that are saved on your phone
- Watch a comedy routine or motivational video on YouTube or Netflix
Do you have anything that can be added to the list or anything you will try from the list? I tried to think of anything that I’ve done (within reason) that made me have positive, non-anxious thought or even decreased my anxiety in the past. I would love it if I could make a U2 concert happen whenever I have an anxiety episode but I don’t think that is reasonable and my wallet couldn’t handle it either.
Do what you can. With what you have. Where you are ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Is Dwelling on the Negative Hurting You? The Cognitive Costs of Rumination published by the Huffington Post on 12/30/2010 and updated on 11/17/2011