Diary / Wellness / Sep 26, 2022
Confessions of a Self-Help Junkie: Tools For Stress & Anxiety That Actually Help
Written by: Elizabeth Kendig
Self-care, self-help, even self-love are phrases we’ve come to slap on just about anything that ails us. Stressed? Get a massage. Anxious? Learn to meditate. We are a culture of quick fixes and solutions we can tie with a satiny bow. Anything that doesn’t help us ASAP only adds to our to-do list, especially this time of year when we have parties to attend, gifts to shop for, wine to mull (I see you, overachievers) and oh yeah—a decade to finish like a #ladyboss. It’s no wonder we are more anxious and stressed out than ever.
I spent the last decade on a self-help bender. After a lifetime of depression that I self-medicated with ambition and perfectionism, I immersed myself in every healing experience that I could get my hands on—including having my palms read. From Shamans to psychics, these holistic practitioners helped me find peace and heal myself. After seeing and interviewing more than 100 healers, here’s what I know will bring you peace and clarity when life gets to be too much:
There’s Nothing Wrong With You
You’re not broken and you don’t need fixing, despite what brands, the media and your ex-boyfriend tell you. Life is messy, adulting is hard, and the highlight reel is relentless. That doesn’t mean you have the right to beat yourself up for not being perfect. In fact, the more stressed or anxious you’re feeling, the more compassion you need from yourself. Anything else is self-defeating.
Be Here Now
We think that everything will be better when fill-in-the-blank. But have you noticed that when you get the job/car/waistline you want, you just start wanting something else? We are constantly living in and for the future, whether by planning, talking or worrying about it. We spend our entire lives chasing but never actually arrive. If your goal is to feel better, than figure out how to do that in this moment, and the next, until you’ve strung a pretty great life together.
Feel, Heal, Deal
Sacred Esoteric healer Kristen S. James so succinctly sums up what happens when we finally get out of our heads and allow ourselves to feel. Not think, not make another list, not talk about it with our BFF—but actually observe how you’re really feeling. What’s at the bottom of all that busyness and distractions is the thing you need to heal from so that you can get on with living the life you deserve.
Get in Alignment
Depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns are real. I am in no position to diagnose or treat you; I can only share what I know from managing my own: If you’re not living in alignment with yourself, you’re going to feel like sh*t. If you’re giving your energy to people, activities or environments that don’t feel good, you’re never going to feel good. Identifying where your truth doesn’t match your choices can go a long way to alleviating a lot of negative emotions.
For all of the woo-woo advice I’ve been given over the years, letting go is the one I resist the most. We all do. Because doing makes us feel in control, and pushing harder is our natural response to not getting the result we want. But what if the Universe has something better planned for us? What if all you’re waiting on is divine timing? If you’ve given it your all, if you’ve made your case, then step back and let the Universe do the rest.