July 10, 2020
by: msloydwrites

Feel like 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride so far?

When you ask most people, they will probably tell you that 2020 has been something of a rollercoaster — to say the least.  Out of the blue, we’ve all been hit with a global pandemic, worldwide social unrest, rampant unemployment, the rise of hate speech on social media platforms, and countless other stressful factors that have most of us eagerly looking forward to 2021. And it’s only July. 

With so many unexpected things going on at once, there is no wonder that issues with mental health are on the rise.  Chronic mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder affect around 43 million people annually. 

These statistics were discovered before the events of the recent past that have caused many of us to experience levels of stress we could have never imagined before. 

NAMI – US Mental Health Statistics

“Millions of people are aected by mental illness each year.  Across the country, many people just like you work, perform, create, compete, laugh, love and inspire every day.”

National Alliance on Mental Health 

If you’re among the millions of people who suffer from chronic anxiety, you know how debilitating the effects of anxiety can become over time. Having anxiety can make you feel like you’re constantly having to look over your shoulder and become hypervigilant to avoid a potential catastrophe. In this article, we provide you with ten tips to help relieve the symptoms of chronic anxiety naturally in everyday situations.


Symptoms of Everyday Anxiety 

According to the National Institue for Mental Health (NAMI), almost twenty-percent of adults in the United States suffered from an anxiety disorder within the last year. This means that nineteen percent of adults in the US struggle with chronic anxiety each year. The negative effects of anxiety can become debilitating or morph into physical conditions that can begin to affect your health over time.

Wondering what suffering from chronic anxiety actually feels like? People who suffer from issues with chronic anxiety report a range of uncomfortable symptoms that can last for days, weeks, or even years without assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Following is a list of anxiety symptoms as reported by the Mayo Clinic. Take note of any recurring symptoms and seek the advice of a medical professional if you feel anxious, depressed, or not like yourself. Your primary care doctor can provide you with a series of tests and assessments that can detect and diagnose issuers with medical or mental illness. If your primary care physician diagnoses you with a mental illness like an anxiety disorder, they can also provide you with treatment options that include lifestyle changes, medication, and therapy. 

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12 Symptoms of Chronic Anxiety

1. Feeling nervous, restless or tense
2. Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
Data Source: The Mayo Clinic
3. Having an increased heart rate
4. Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation) 
5. Sweating
6. Trembling
7. Feeling weak or tired
8. Trouble concentrating or thinking 
9. Having trouble sleeping
10. Gastrointestinal (GI) problems
11. Having difficulty controlling worry
12. Urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

If any of these sounds like you, the good news is that — there is help available. The first step to feeling better is to contact your primary care physician to let him or her know you’ve been having ongoing issues. There are online doctors and mental health professionals who can help if you’re stuck at home because of the coronavirus. 

 

10 Tips for Reducing Everyday Anxiety


Anxiety Reducing Tip #01

Focus on the positives.

Many people suffer from anxiety because they haven’t learned how to accept both the ups and downs in life. With all things being equal, we can expect to have good days and bad days in our lives. In this case, we should teach ourselves how to focus on the positives — even when the going gets rough. If you aren’t sure where to begin, talk to a licensed medical professional or therapist. Popular behavioral therapy techniques like cognitive-behavioral therapy have been shown to get results in a little under twenty weeks for some. 


Anxiety Reducing Tip #02

Choose your attitude

Do you believe in the concept of mind over matter? Your brain does. Your brain operates based on the information that you supply it with. This means that if you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re having a bad day, chances are you’ll end up having a bad day. Stop negative self-talk by choosing your attitude and making a conscious choice to focus on the positives. Remember that there are always three sides to any situation — your version, their version, and the truth. Allow yourself to account for the potential unknowns and choose to take the high road to reduce anxiety. 


Anxiety Reducing Tip #03

Contact a therapist

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed, sad, depressed, or just not yourself lately, seek support from a licensed mental health professional after scheduling a check-up with your primary care provider. If your physician provides you with a clean bill of physical health — and you’re still feeling run-down or down in the dumps, the next step to take is to enlist the support of a licensed therapy professional.


Anxiety Reducing Tip #04

Exercise

If you’re feeling anxious, the last thing you probably want to do is exercise. Moving your body can help temporarily take your mind off ruminating thoughts or worries about the past, or what may be coming in the future. Exercising helps to center your mind and eases anxiety naturally when pleasure chemicals are released in the brain.


Anxiety Reducing Tip #06

Take a break from the internet

The hostile climate of social media is beginning to take a serious toll on the hearts and minds of social media users. Do your psyche a favor and set time aside to completely disconnect from the internet. This means no checking your phone, laptop, tablet, or any other available device. Taking the time to reconnect with yourself and your family can help to ease the added stress and anxiety that today’s social media activity can heighten.


Anxiety Reducing Tip #07

Distance yourself from toxic people

Spending time with people who seem to have everyone’s best interest at heart (except yours) is a great way to drain your energy. Another side-effect of spending too much time with toxic people is that you feel like you’re not accomplishing the goals that you’ve set for yourself in life. If you’re having trouble identifying the toxic people in your life — here’s a clue:

 

Toxic people specialize in dashing the hopes and dreams of the people around them without providing a fair, realistic, or alternative solution.

You can find toxic people everywhere you go. Don’t be surprised to find toxic relationships in close friendships, dating, and married relationships, in the workplace with co-workers, and even in employer, employee relationships. 


If you or a loved one are in a toxic relationship that has progressed into verbal, emotional, or physical abuse, contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline for support.


Now that you have an idea of how to spot the negative nellies in your life — whether or not you stick around for their next negative update — is completely up to you. However, be prepared for your mental health and other critical areas of your life to suffer if you refuse to distance yourself from the negativity of toxic people.


Anxiety Reducing Tip #08

Be honest with yourself

The best way to get what you want out of life — is, to be honest about what you want. This starts with telling yourself the truth about even the smallest details. Learn how to be honest with yourself and not be swayed by the ideas and opinions of others who loudly critique your ideas and tell you why you “shouldn’t think this way.” We all get to choose our own pathways in life. Those that are supportive of your individual goals and dreams will also be supportive of self-honesty. Being honest with yourself helps you keep your life on track and avoid the pitfalls of negative people and situations that don’t make the cut.


Anxiety Reducing Tip #09

Drink water

The majority of our bodies are made up of water. Whether you like the taste of water, don’t have time to drink water, or whatever excuse you’re telling yourself lately to keep from drinking the proper amount of water — water is indeed the elixir of life. Water powers the most important part of your body. Your internal organs like your heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. need water to stay hydrated so your body systems can flow. Not drinking enough water can result in dehydration. Severe cases of dehydration can lead to more serious health concerns that could have been avoided by simply taking care of yourself. Using apps on your phone that reminds you to drink water, and keeping a stash of water nearby are two great ways to make sure that you get the amount of water that you need for top performance.

Anxiety Reducing Tip #10

Rest

I’m not sure when burning the candle at both ends became the new normal. I do understand that burning the candle at both ends is the quickest way to throw your body into a negative cycle that can lead to fatigue, health issues, and severe mental health issues like burnout. Having experienced the effects of workplace burnout myself, I can tell you that it’s definitely not a walk in the park. Getting the proper amount of rest is one of the best ways that you can honor your body.

Conclusion

As a life-long anxiety sufferer, I can honestly say that I’ve practiced each one of these tips — together and individually — and consistently get results. The reality is, that no matter what is going on in our world, including global pandemics and charged political climates, we still have to make self-care a priority. Even more so now than ever. The best way to stay mentally fit and alert is to learn to recognize the symptoms of burnout, overwhelm, and anxiety in your life — as soon as they happen.

 

 

Waiting too long to take care of your mental health can lead to the development of more serious issues. Medical issues can be aggravated due to unmanaged mental health issues. Many people aren’t aware that prolonged instances of unresolved anxiety in the body can have devastating effects on your mind and body — if left unchecked. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. 

 

Related – How to Organize Your Life Using Free Apps From Google Play and The App Store

coronavirus (COvid-19) resources

US Small Business Administration – COVID Relief

198 Free Tools To Help You Coronavirus

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

 State + Local Health Departments – United States

**Contact your state, county, municipal or local government for details on available resources in your area. Some resources and relief options are area specific. 


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Looking for easy ways to beat stress and anxiety? Getting more organized could be the answer. 

 

Have you been thinking about getting more organized — and you’re not sure where to start?

You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we talk about how to organize your life using apps for creating lists, organizing your personal finances, and managing your physical and mental health.

Getting more organized can help ease stress and anxiety as you become more confident by knowing that you’ve prepared yourself to handle any situation.

Using apps for organization can give you a birds-eye view of important tasks and responsibilities in your life at a glance.

Free organization apps can help you develop a process for organizing the most important parts of your life.

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There are free organization apps available to help you manage business expenses, household expenses, appointment reminders and calendars automatic bill pay, health, and wellness apps that remind you to exercise and nourish your mind and body.

The following are examples of free apps that can help you organize your life. Some of the apps mentioned here have freemium options that provide in-app upgrades and unlock additional features. All of the apps mentioned here are available as a free download on the App Store or Google Play Store for Android. Today’s apps are downloadable powerhouses for our phones, tablets, desktops, and laptops that can help keep our lives on track at the click of a button. 

Free list-making apps for home, school, + business

Trying to remember too many details at once can become overwhelming. Many people aren’t aware that we make mental notes of millions of details and pieces of information every day.

As a matter of fact, according to Information Theory, “our brains the human body sends 11 million bits per second to the brain for processing. Yet, the conscious mind seems to be able to process only 50 bits per second.” This means there are potentially massive amounts of unprocessed data floating around inside of our heads. Using lists, apps, and other organization tools can help us to make more sense out of all of this available data.


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Using lists and list-making apps for organization may feel strange at first. Over time, you’ll feel more relaxed as you begin to take control of your time.

Examples of some of my favorite free apps for making lists are listed below.

Twitter – Keep up with business contacts, partners, leads, and competitors using Twitter lists. The lists feature on Twitter makes it easy to keep up with important people, contacts, and top brands. Organizing important contacts into Twitter lists is as easy as creating a new customized list from your Twitter profile. Once you create your list and find the username (handle) of the person you want to add to your list. The last step is to click the more button on their Twitter profile to add them to a scroll-able and shareable Twitter list. That’s it! 

 

Google Docs – Using docs makes it easy to brainstorm writing ideas,  marketing content and exchange files with team members. Creating a Google doc or spreadsheet only takes a few minutes and anyone who has an active Google account can use docs. I use Google Docs to create blog posts, web pages, notes, and reports. Docs is free-to-use for individual and business users. Google also offers an additional suite of features and integrations for docs users that makes it easier for business and professional users to communicate. A current list of Google Docs features and integrations can be found by clicking here

 


Free list-making apps we love!

Monday

Clickup

Google Keep

Evernote

Slack

Free apps for organizing business  and personal finances

You don’t have to be rich or wealthy to put your finances in order. Learning to budget and track your finances is an easy organization step to take. Start by keeping track of your income and spending to discover how much you’re bringing in versus how much you’re spending.

Personal finance apps make it easier to track and manage your income and expenses. Looking at the numbers on screen may give you a different perspective on what is considered a necessity, expense, etc. Taking control of your finances can help you feel more in control of your life and less susceptible to unexpected financial negatives like becoming past-due on bills, getting evicted, or having your car repossessed.


Popular Business and Finance Apps

Quickbooks

Mint

Credit Karma

Fidelity

Self


Health and wellness apps reduce stress, anxiety

Using health apps like food trackers and mental health apps can help you to reduce anxiety at work and at home by reminding you to take care of important medical and mental health-related needs.

There are health and wellness apps that provide calorie counters, step counters, food trackers, water intake, and more.

Popular therapy apps like Betterhelp give at-home users the option to chat live with a licensed therapist any time of the day or night. Therapy apps like Betterhelp and mindfulness apps like Fabulous, and Welltory are making it easier for us to interpret important signals from our minds and bodies that are telling us it’s time to slow down.

With the heightened levels of stress impacting millions of people simultaneously worldwide, it’s critically important that we each learn how to practice self-care. You may think you don’t have time to fit in a daily practice of self-care, however taking 5-10 minutes out of your day to devote only to you isn’t too much too ask.


Free Health and Wellness Apps

Welltory

Fabulous

Betterhelp

RegainUS

Dr. On Demand


Everybody has its own unique language. If you learn to listen to your own body language, you may be surprised at what you find. As parents, employers, and caretakers, many of us know our spouses, partners, friends, and children’s body language better than our own.


 

 

Exercise

Drink Water

Learn Your Limits

Honor Your Emotions

The more you pay attention to your physical needs you may find in a few days or weeks that you feel much better. When your body or mind is pushed to their limit — even a small improvement can make a difference.

Be proactive and avoid burnout and other stress-related issues by learning to listen to the signals your body is giving you.

Using free apps to help organize your life is an easy way to start. For example, when you have a headache, this may mean you’re dehydrated, overwhelmed, tired, or even hungry.

Using health reminder apps like Welltory or the water reminder app will remind you at regular intervals to drink water, stretch, exercise, and take deeps breaths. It may seem like these things come naturally, however, the prolonged effects of stress can throw our mind and body systems out of whack and we can find ourselves “tuned out” as a result.

It’s important to understand that each one of our bodies has its own way of telling us what’s going on. Learn to read your own body language to make sure you’re providing your body with the proper amount of food, rest, exercise, and nutrition. Using free apps can help.


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Related Reading: 10 Tips For Relieving Anxiety In Everyday Situations.

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“Some of the most beautiful chaptes in our lives won’t have a title until much later.”


It’s’ easy to keep a positive attitude when things seem to be going your way. But what do you do when things seem to be going completely in the opposite direction of what you expected? Enter COVID-19. The coronavirus is a disease that stems from a family of viruses named SARS-CoV-2. This novel and never seen before coronavirus is responsible for the worldwide outbreak and global pandemic that has brought the entire world to its knees. As a result, many of us are on lockdown, quarantine, or self-quarantine in a worldwide effort to slow the spread of the virus.

The key to keeping a positive attitude during trying times like these — is to stay focused. While this may sound like it’s easier said than done — staying focused during trying times is the best way to get through a rough patch while keeping your sanity intact. In this article, we talk about 4 ways to stay focused on the positives when everything in your life seems to be out of control.

1. Be honest with yourself.

If preserving good mental health and sanity is your goal during times of uncertainty, being honest with yourself is the quickest way to put things in perspective. Being honest with yourself clears a mental path for “real” solutions that can help keep you focused and moving forward regardless of what obstacles may lay ahead.

It’s okay to not know what’s coming next. The important thing is to know that you are mentally prepared for any challenge that may arise and that you can overcome it. Not being honest with yourself places you in danger of missing important facts or information that you need to stay safe and mentally alert during these uncertain times.

2. Practice extreme self-care.

It may seem strange to talk about self-care when everything in your life is turned upside down, but it’s necessary. Taking the time to spend at least a few minutes doing what you love is a great way to take your mind off negative circumstances happening around you and gives you a fresh perspective on the situation.

Self-care doesn’t look the same for everyone. Some of us like to snuggle up with a good book, journal our feelings, or spend time cuddling pets. For others, self-care may look like a candlelit bath, indoor exercise, or talking on the phone with a trusted friend. Whatever self-care happens to look like for you — when times are tough, more self-care is needed than ever before.

3. Follow a regular schedule.

The last thing you need in times of uncertainty — is more uncertainty. Create a daily schedule for yourself and your family so that everyone knows what is expected of them throughout the day. Examples of important tasks to add to your daily schedule are — breakfast, lunch, and dinner, exercise, work, and school-related activities, bathing and grooming, and downtime.

Following your daily schedule gives you a sense of normalcy in your life that is often missing during times of crisis and uncertainty. Keeping yourself and your family on track is the best way to avoid falling into disorganized chaos, boredom, or depression as we all struggle with adjusting to our “new normal.”

 


“Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. When nothing is certain — anything is possible.”


4. Stay focused on the positives.

While it may be tempting (and easy) to look at all the negative aspects of an uncertain situation, it’s not really necessary as the negatives speak for themselves. Focus on what’s going right and give yourself a pat on the back for keeping your shit together in the meantime. Otherwise, you may find yourself quickly falling into a spiral of negativity and self-defeating thoughts. These kinds of thoughts can make a bad situation feel ten times worse. Stay positive — regardless of the chaos that is happening around you.

In the meantime, keep following the medical advice of your local representatives and public health officials and remember — we’re all in this together. Stay focused, stay alert, stay safe.

-msloydwrites

 

About Michelle S. Loyd — msloydwrites 

Michelle S. Loyd, BA, MHRM, MISM

Freelance Writer. Marketer. Influencer. #GameChanger

Ms. Loyd is a mental health advocate who personally understands the daily struggles of others living with mental health concerns including anxiety.

Michelle currently enjoys writing uplifting and informative articles on the topics of mental health including anxiety, bipolar, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression.

Other topics of interest include — artificial intelligence, psychology, technology, artificial intelligence, and space exploration. 

These articles provide a humanistic view of the challenges today’s society is facing together with realistic expectations and manageable options for change.

Connect with @msloydwrites online!

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What Happened to Last Year’s Resolutions??

As we bring 2019 to a close and reflect on our accomplishments, how did you do? Did you meet the goals that you set for yourself at the beginning of the year? If not, did you at least make steady progress toward your goals? Every step counts — congratulations on making it through another busy year. Whether you met the goals that you set for yourself this year, or you still have more work to do you, we can all agree that 2019 was a whirlwind year!

We’re pleased to say that one of the most controversial topics of our time — mental health care — is finally getting the attention it deserves. In this article, we touch on a hot topic in mental health news — mental health care in the workplace. Keep reading to learn what we’ve discovered about mental health in the workplace this year — plus get links to some of the best mental health resources available online.

Chronic Mental Health Issues + Workplace Stress

If you suffer from issues with chronic mental health like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), then you already know how hard it can be simply getting out of bed each morning. When we add in the daily responsibilities of caring for families, children, and spouses, mental health issues can become amplified even more. What’s even scarier about this part — is that we haven’t even mentioned going to work yet. (Or, taken care of ourselves.) 

Unless you’re declared fully disabled by a doctor or other licensed medical authority, chances are that you have to learn to live and work — with the painful symptoms of chronic mental health. For people suffering from symptoms of anxiety, sometimes just the “thought” of going in to work itself, can trigger a panic attack. So what do you do when you have no other alternative? You grin and you bear it — right? This is absolutely the worst thing you can do for your mental health.

We’ve learned this year that taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. We also learned that workplace burnout is a real thing and now has an official diagnosis in the latest version of the AmericanPsychological Association’sDSM-5. Lack of either form of health care can cause debilitating physical and mental symptoms that only get worse over time — if left untreated. Work stressors are a leading factor in contributing to the negative effects of mental health symptoms for today’s employees. Some studies have even shown that people experience more medical episodes like panic attacks and heart attacks on Sunday evenings and Monday mornings at the beginning of the workweek.

Mental Health Care Is Becoming A Priority for Employers

Medical doctors, therapists, and mental health advocates are bringing mental health awareness to the forefront of medicine and making it a priority. According to Inc. magazine, top companies are taking notice and making better mental health care a priority. Big brands like Starbucks have spoken openly about making changes to improve their mental health care. There have even been legal standards created to assure that people who suffer from chronic mental health issues have access to the same mental health and medical health benefits via their health insurance providers. These regulations fall under the MentalHealth Parity Act.

The Effects of Workplace Stressors on Mental Health

We are just beginning to learn that the effects of traumatic experiences in our lives can contribute to the development of complicated mental health issues like complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). It may surprise you to learn that exposure to traumatic experiences isn’t limited to our personal and private lives. Traumatic experiences can also happen in the workplace. When issues that affect employees’ welfare or mental health state are left unaddressed, complex mental health issues can develop as a result. The following are examples of workplace issues that can contribute to the development of chronic mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and workplaceburnout.

Workplace conditions that can contribute to mental health decline or burnout:

Underemployment / Low Pay

Working a full-time or part-time career and still being unable to cover living expenses (paycheck-to-paycheck) can take its toll on your psyche. 

No Advancement Opportunities 

People in positions where advancement is thwarted often experience negative mental health effects. Examples where this is common are “glass ceilings”, nepotism, sexism, and racism.

Overworking 

Contrary to popular belief working long hours with lack of breaks, sleep, or eating is not a recipe for success — It’s a recipe for burnout.

Sexual Harassment 

People who experience sexual harassment by a coworker, supervisor, manager, or company owner will probably experience high levels of anxiety. 

Devalued Employees / Contractors

Employees often feel devalued when they have little or no access to proper equipment or training to complete their jobs.

 


The bottom line is — your mental health care is critically important to your overall well-being. (This is true both inside and outside the workplace.) When you’re preparing to set next year’s resolutions, be sure to put your mental health care at the top of your list. If you want to learn more about how mental health care is affecting people in the workplace (and where to get help) — subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on our upcoming Mental Health in The Workplace series beginning in January 2020.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays and good mental health!

~ msloydwrites


Mental Health Parity Act (For Employers and Employees)

Online Therapy Options for Rural, Remote, and Telecommuting Employees

Learn How to Create A Work Environment That Promotes Good Mental Health

Medical Health vs. Mental Health Care — Which is More Important?


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