Anxiety, like other illnesses, can come back. It's difficult not letting anxiety define you, especially when it can come back and surprise you at some of the worst times. In my own life I often try to think of anxiety as my friend. I've seen and heard of so many people labeling their episodes as 'storms' or 'attacks' not realizing that that puts a negative connotation on anxiety. If anxiety is something some of us have to live with, why should we constantly be putting such a negative spin on it? Especially if it's something that's likely going to come back from time to time.
It may sound silly, but I like to think of anxiety as my buddy. Does that mean I like my anxiety? Not exactly. But I do see it as beneficial and I've noticed that putting a positive spin on it leaves me less vulnerable to longer and more frequent 'relapses' as I call them. I like to thing of anxiety as a reminder and a sort of wake up call. When it comes around I'm being reminded to take some time for self-care or maybe to slow down a bit.
My most recent 'relapse' came on a weekend trip. Before going into this trip I had myself on a strict diet and following a discipled workout regime. A day into the trip I'd eaten close to 3,500 calories, had about 4 drinks and maybe managed 5,000 steps. Without much surprise, my body went into shock and began yelling at me in the form of generalized anxiety.
It's important to always find balance. Whether you are someone with anxiety or not, balance is key in maintaining holistic wellness. For me to go from one extreme to another in such a short time frame was likely not a good idea. In reality, I was burnt out and was welcoming the 'break'. Rather I should have focused more on a finding a fitness routine and diet that would be easy to maintain through my trip and that would be difficult to get burnt out from.
It would be so easy to beat myself up over this simple mistake, but the reality is, I am only human and it was a mistake. When you have a goal sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the numbers instead of maintaining a healthy balance and we forget how easy it is to burn out when we push ourselves just a little bit too hard. I say it again, balance is key, as if I am reminding myself once more.
What does this mean going forward? I get to find balance in my wellness routine. I get to continue to push myself but avoid pushing myself so far and so fast that I hate my routine. The answer of what balance looks like is different for everyone. I have found that I work really well with split workouts. If I am in the gym for more than an hour at a time I start to resent it, but if I go twice in a day for 30-45 minutes I feel energized and I'm proud of what I've accomplished.
Discover what works best for you and find a balance that you can love! The anxiety will probably come back, but remember it's just there to tell you about something. There is nothing inherently malicious about anxiety and living under that assumption only perpetuates the hurt.