The pressure is on. You have important deadlines at work coming up, your friends have been complaining that they haven’t seen you in FOREVER, you’re meeting your partner’s parents for brunch this Sunday, and you haven’t even had time to think about all the drama that’s happening in your own family. You just feel completely overwhelmed! There’s not enough hours and not enough days to get everything done and all you want to do is take a break.
This is how a lot of the women I work with feel everyday. And this isn’t even half of the things that they may have going on in their life. When we have to manage so many tasks and responsibilities, it can lead to a large amount of stress and anxiety. Our brains become filled with racing thoughts, negative self-talk, and this desire to get everything done perfectly.
If you are going to therapy, you’re able to process these thoughts and feelings with a trained professional who can challenge some of these thought systems and provide you with tools to help you manage them on your own. But if you’re not in therapy, you may need some strategies to help you disconnect from your thoughts and feelings of overwhelm.
There are a few activities that I love to offer my clients to help them disconnect from their thoughts and help manage their anxiety. These are by no means a permanent fix for your feelings of anxiety and depression, but they can help you relax, even just for a moment.
1. Practice deep belly breathing even when you aren't experiencing extreme anxiety. Getting in the habit of taking nice deep breathes can help you when you actually are having high anxiety or a panic attack. Beep belly breathes increases the flow of oxygen to our brains which helps stimulate feelings of calmness. Practicing these deep breathes for 10-30 minutes a day can really help with reducing anxiety long-term. A good way to practice deep belly breaths is by blowing on a Pinwheel, like the ones shown here.
2. Dance in the mirror naked! Put on your favorite upbeat tunes and just move and shake your body as much as you can. Dancing has been found to decrease stress, anxiety, and depression as it helps to stimulate the production of mood-improving chemicals like dopamine. Dance can also be very expressive, allowing you to use movement to demonstrate how you feel. In addition, being naked and showing appreciate to your body is an instant self-esteem booster.
3. And of course, as a sexuality professional, I would be remiss if I didn't mention masturbation. Masturbation is another great way to reduce stress and anxiety as it also stimulates the production of dopamine. It also can stimulate the release of oxytocin which helps to reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. Engaging in pleasurable activities like masturbation is always a good anxiety reliever and confidence booster.