What in the heck is a ‘peanut butter day’, I’m sure some of you are wondering… Well first, happy Monday guys! This is not the post I planned on sharing today (I’m quite excited to share allllll about Paris – prepare yourselves, there’s going to be a flood of posts!), but I had quiet a few peanut butter days the last week or two, so I decided to write about it in the hopes that it might help or encourage anyone else having some!
So what is a peanut butter day? For me, it’s a day where I’m feeling discouraged, down on myself, and often anxious. It’s a day that requires some peanut butter, which as you’ll see in a few paragraphs is actually one of my top ‘cures’ for this kind of day, hence the name!
I’ve found myself stressed and fearful a lot lately, although I recently learned I should technically be saying ‘anxious’: Fear is an emotional state triggered by real danger that is in front of you, a very helpful reaction in dangerous situations. Anxiety, however, is created in our own minds from an image or imagination of ‘danger’ that is not present in that actual moment. Very rarely am I actually in immediate danger, so I realized that 99% of the time, I’m actually allowing myself to be or even choosing to be anxious, not even realizing it!
By no means am I saying that anxiety is 100% something we do to ourselves, sometimes it really is something we struggle with that is out of our control. And anxiety can be a total beast. It can immobilize me, put me in a bad mood, keep me from going for things I want, and leave me feeling discouraged, insecure, and pessimistic. Sometimes it’s just a day that it I feel it, sometimes it’s for weeks on end. I’ve come to accept it’s just one of my ‘wobbles’ (as I now like to say thanks to a super up-lifting podcast a friend shared that I listened to last week – have a listen here!); I’ll likely always struggle with it a little, and that’s ok.
That said, I do believe that there are a lot of times I unintentionally enable and encourage anxiety instead of doing things to calm it. Considering just how much it affects me when I struggle with it, I’ve been working hard on ways to be in control of my anxiety, instead of letting it control me. So here are 10 things I’ve found to help, that I hope help you just as much:
- Pray – I know some of you aren’t religious, and that’s totally ok. I am, but respect that everyone has different views and beliefs on things. I hope Belle by Laurelle is a place we can talk openly and freely about things, listen to and respect each others beliefs, and most importantly help lift each other up and live the best lives we can. For me, praying is huge in calming my anxieties. You’d think I’d remember to pray more often when I am worked up about something or feeling anxious… It’s only more of a testament to God’s goodness that He still loves and takes care of me even when I go running to everyone and everything but Him when I’m stressed! That said, when I do remember to stop and pray, I can’t tell you the immense feeling of relief and the giant weight that’s taken of my shoulders. There’s nothing like giving all of your cares and problems to the one person who loves you no matter what and just so happens to be in control of the entire universe.
- Stop, Sit, and Breathe – So often, we get caught up in a whirlwind of busyness and stress, we forget that literally just stopping, sitting, and breathing can work wonders in calming ourselves down and resetting ourselves. We often forget to breathe enough while anxious, which is partly why this helps so much in calming and resetting!
- Turn off Your Phone – Yes, I, a digital content creator, am telling you to put down the phone. Especially first thing in the morning. I need to get better at this myself. I can literally feel the anxiety that seeps in I get when I wake up, refresh my email, and see a flood of messages load. Not how you want to set the tone for your day. Instead of scrolling through your phone when you’re bored or anxious, put your phone away, do something kind for yourself that you enjoy, and be present in the moment.
- Practice Self-Care – This follows point 3 perfectly: be kind to yourself and do things to care for yourself! Enjoy sitting and listening to music, taking a bath, getting a manicure, reading a book, getting a coffee with a friend, whatever it is that you enjoy to do but don’t often give yourself the time to do. And sleep. I’m actually planning another blog post on this, because I think I’m finally getting it through my head just how important and worth it caring for yourself is.
- Accept How You’re Feeling – I could win medals some days for beating myself up over feeling a certain way. I think I have this deep-rooted belief that I should always be positive and I should always be ok, and sometimes I’m just not. I’m working on accepting when I’m feeling not-ok instead of beating myself up over it, because when I do, I can work on figuring out why I’m not ok and what I can do about it much better than when I’m just making myself feel worse! It’s another important way of practicing being kind to yourself!!
- Read or Listen to Something Positive and Encouraging – For me personally, sometimes I know the right things to think, but I just have trouble believing them instead of false, negative things, or simply feel like I’m alone in feeling how I feel. Hearing other people talk about going through something similar and how they dealt with it always makes me feel a bit better. And hearing/reading truth helps me shift how I feel, and challenge & replace false, negative, or anxious thoughts. How you think determines how you act; the power of positive thinking is real! Right now I’m enjoying the podcast I mentioned above, the Psalms, and ‘Perfecting Ourselves to Death‘.
- Go for a Walk or Run – There are so many advantages to getting outside and moving! One, you get out of the environment you were feeling stressed or anxious in. Two, fresh air works wonders for clearing your head! Three, whether you choose to walk or run, you’re moving your body and this releases endorphins, which elevate your mood. I can’t tell you how many times I do this and wonder why I don’t do it more when I feel stressed (pretty much every time).
- Use Products with Lavender – Lavender has a calming and healing effect, so smelling it helps a lot with relaxing your mind and body. I like to burn lavender candles, diffuse lavender essential oils, and use lavender lotion; it never fails to help me feel less anxious!
- Drink Tea – Preferably something herbal and decaffeinated, like chamomile or peppermint. A hot drink can calm, soothe and relax you like few other things. But watch the coffee and caffeine, as that can have the opposite effect! I love my coffee, but tea is a much, much better choice when you’re feeling anxious!
- Eat Peanut Butter – And I saved the best for last! This was not thrown in for comedic relief or because it makes a bad day sound less formidable, promise! Although I certainly do find comedic relief in how I always over-complicate things when sometimes simple works best… Peanut butter is not just a comfort food because it tastes good, it’s actually one of the healthiest comfort foods you can eat that actively combats anxiety. It contains tryptophan, which our bodies convert to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect and boosts moods. The protein and fat also gives you a boost of energy and keeps your blood sugar stabilized. I love peanut butter, but love even more that it actually helps me think more clearly and feel better!
I think #10 is my favorite, but I hope all 10 of these help anyone struggling with those feelings to turn around your peanut butter day. If any of you have any tips that I missed that you find helpful, please do share! Leave a comment, shoot me an email, whatever. And if any of you ever are in need of a listening ear, please feel free to reach out. Life can be hard, just as often as it can be beautiful and amazing, and one of the best ways to get through the hard times is by supporting each other and lifting each other up!
Ps – I know you guys will likely ask, so outfit deets and other similar cute tops here: