Embrace Yourself: Anxiety, Depression and Stress Relief Coping Mechanisms

Things are getting kind of messy around "Design Ally". A lot of things need to be changed over (more than I realized) so some links around the blog might not be working. But be patient with me, I'm hoping to get everything set over the next few weeks!

I've been wanting to do this post for a while, and when I first started this series this is one of the posts I was really looking forward to writing and sharing with you all. Today I'm going to get real personal, real quick.

For a long time I've struggled with anxiety and depression. I've always had really bad anxiety and I feel like my anxiety has caused my depression. I went a talked to a therapist for a couple of years and it was really really helpful. She told me all kinds of coping mechanisms and we built a mental "toolbox" for me to use for when I went off to college and it has helped immensely.

Your "toolbox" is extremely useful and completely customizable! Because what works for me, might not work for you! I'm going to give you a few of my favorite coping mechanisms and just general stress relief tips.

Meditation// Meditation is one of those things that has really helped me immensely. I am not one of those people that meditates everyday, or even multiple times a week (but if you do meditate often, there are serious benefits). I meditate when I've been having a long, stressful day and I need to relax before falling asleep. I am not good at meditating by myself without guidance so I have been using meditation apps.
  • Breathe: I LOVE this one. Breathe is the app that I have stuck with and have fallen in love with. When you go into the app, you start with 10 seconds of closing your eyes and tapping into how your body and mind feels. Your phone will vibrate when it's time to open your eyes. Then, you go through a series of questions. You choose how you physically feel, how you mentally feel and then you pick 5 emotions that you're feeling at that moment. From there, they pick 3-5 of the best meditations for you to do based on the emotions you are feeling. They range from 5-15 minutes and you can choose how long you want to do them!
  • Headspace: I used this app last year and I really liked it and when you get the free app you get 10 free days. Each day you get on the app, whatever time of the day you want to, you choose what day you're on and they guide you for the next 10 minutes into meditation. The thing I love about Headspace is that they really tell you how to meditate from the very first session to the 10th day. The only reason why I stopped using this app is because I didn't want to have to pay a monthly fee. 
Self care// Self care, if you haven't noticed, is one of the most important things I'm focusing on this year. I have been so bad about not taking care of myself, and this year I made it a priority to spend more time caring for myself.
  • Videos: I have been so obsessed with Ingrid Nilsen lately. I love all of her videos and for me, I love that I can relate more to her because she's gay too. Below are a few of my favorite videos that have given me some insight on some coping mechanisms. PLUS Shay Mitchell gives some of her strategies below also. 

  • Pacify: I got this app a while ago and essentially, everyday it asks you "how are you feeling?" and you log on. From there, you choose a number of how you're feeling. Then you go in and choose individual emotions or feelings. After that, you can do a little activity based on your feelings for that day. 
Yoga// I am really sure you guys are sick of hearing me talk about yoga. But it is one of the things that have been IMMENSELY helpful to me when I get super anxious. I can even feel it in my body when I haven't practiced in a long time. Taking a few moments, could be anywhere from 5 minutes to a hour, just to practice will put you in a much better place. If you're like me and for the life of you, you can't practice on your own, there are PLENTY of Youtube videos online (free) to help you.

Working Out// Going along with yoga, working out has been super helpful to me also. I was super super super lazy (and still am) when I was younger so my parents made me workout 2-3 times a week with them (I would go to classes with my mom and used the machines with my dad) and while at the time I hated them for it, it really made me like exercising now. But that's not to say I'm always gunning to go workout. However, when I am having a bad day, I go on LONG walks. Now, with Koda I've made it a ritual to take her on some walks during the day. Also recently I've been into month-long challenges that fitness gurus post daily. (Right now I'm doing a pushup, squat, and plank challenge my fav yoga studio is doing.) If you're like me and only have 15-30 minutes a day to work out, another thing you can do is go on Youtube again to get some videos from fitness accounts on there. I liked this video from Ingrid (shocking, I know) with the famous Youtuber Blogilates (she's great, check her out!)

Journaling// Journaling is something that I have always just done. I think to this day since 7th grade I have filled around 15 notebooks! It's just something that has always been helpful to me. At first, I would journal everyday about my day and how I was feeling. But, more recently, I have just been journaling whenever I am feeling strongly about something. If I'm really happy and I just am about to burst, I journal. If I'm really upset about something that I don't really have the words for, I just journal all of the random thoughts in my head. It's so helpful because you don't have to worry about what someone else is going to think.

Coloring Books// Kayla got me a Zen coloring book and I love it! It's SOOOO relaxing. There's just something about putting pen to paper and making something look nice. And the great thing about adult coloring books now, is that there are so many new brands, and different types. I have two zen coloring books, a mendala coloring book and some other ones. At AC Moore a couple of weeks ago they were having a sale 3/$10 (they're typically $10+ per book) so I got some for my self and for gifts for friends!

What are your coping mechanisms?
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  1. I love this post! I suffered from a lot of anxiety and some depression while in high school. It took me many years to find good (and healthy!) coping mechanisms. Good for you for finding healthy outlets to try and bring positivity into your life!

    xoxo A

  2. Anxiety and depression are both things I struggle with as well. These are all amazing resources for relief. Love Ingrid!!

    Alexandra Adams | X Height Ment

  3. I love the Breathe app. Spending a few minutes of my time just to do one their small meditations really helps!

    Mikayla | A Seersucker State of Mind.

  4. Yoga is one of my favorite workouts because it's so peaceful yet gets your heart pumping when you move from pose to pose. Thank you so much for sharing, I think a lot of people (myself included) can really relate to this post!

  5. I love Bloggilates!
    These are such great tips and I love your new name :)

    xoxo, Jenny

  6. These things are something that I feel many of us struggle with at least a few times thru our life. I love that you shared great ideas and videos to help with these issues.

  7. It's so great that you are sharing your experience and these tips because I'm sure they will help a lot of other people. I really enjoyed the Shay Mitchell video.

  8. I love how you share different insights into coping, and I especially love the video with Shay she is awesome!

  9. I suffer from anxiety and depression too, so I can definitely relate. I haven't quite figured out my "toolbox" yet but hopefully eventually I will. <3
    The Fashionista's Diary

  10. Kudos to you for this post! These are all amazing resources and I love how you trusted us all with something a little more personal. :)

  11. So great to be sharing this. Something that so many can relate to.

  12. I have anxiety and depression, too. I love using coloring books and journaling to help me cope. Another thing that really helps me is my planner. As strange as it may sound, it's so calming to sit down with markers and pens and feel like I'm in control of my life!

  13. Love watching blogilaties! Thanks for sharing this (:

    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  14. I really needed to read this post this week! I felt like I was consumed by anxiety this week and I hated every minute of it. Thanks for sharing and being open!

    Nicole // Chronicling Home


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