Anxiety Sucks: 4 Tips on How to Kick Anxiety in the ASS!

May 18, 2018

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Hey, all!

It’s been a while since this Charlotte, NC wedding photographer last blogged about anything, but, it’s true: I’m baaaaaaaack!

Instead of blogging a lifestyle session or beautiful wedding, I wanted to take a moment to talk about something that is personal and also important for me to talk about. It’s May, which means it’s National Mental Health Month.

And there’s this one thing about me you may not know is a part of my daily life:

I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (as well as social anxiety).

Claudia Wolff of The Wallflower Photographer, a wedding, family, and branding photographer based in the Charlotte, NC area, smiles while holding a mug depicting "Anxiety is a Liar" from Mental Health Mugs.

I woke up like dis (for real). Also, peep my mug’s awesome message: Anxiety is a LIAR!

Mental health has a lot of stigma surrounding it, and as someone living with anxiety I want to help others who have anxiety, too! As a Charlotte, NC wedding photographer, I’ve been fortunate to have photographed numerous weddings in the Charlotte, NC area as well as Boone, NC; the Asheville, NC area; and even South Florida (Wellington, to be exact)! Wedding photography is an exciting field to get into. As a wedding photographer, you get to spend time at gorgeous wedding venues, witness beautiful wedding ceremonies, connect with lots of couples, capture myriad emotions from many different people, and often sample yummy wedding food and cake! I’ve grown to love all the wonderful couples I’ve documented, and some have even become friends! When I first started out as a wedding photographer, I used to get super anxious before weddings and even the day of (but I dealt with it). Eventually, after noticing my anxiety increasing with each wedding, I decided enough is enough!
A couple is photographed after their spring wedding ceremony, which took place in Rock Hill, South Carolina at the beautiful event and wedding venue Southern Charm Events as photographed by Charlotte wedding photographer Claudia Wolff of The Wallflower Photographer

One of the cutest and funnest couples I’ve documented. 🙂

Wedding photographers have a lot of responsibility on wedding day. With the fun, excitement, and emotion that go along with wedding photography sometimes comes lots of pressure to get “the perfect shot.” There’s also pressure to make sure the timeline is followed as closely as possible (which sometimes isn’t the case, and that’s okay!) and occasionally dealing with strong emotions from a bride, groom, parent, guest, etc. All these events can trigger anxiety on wedding day, especially if you show up mentally and physically unprepared for the day.
A beautiful place setting at a table at Rock Hill event and wedding venue Southern Charm Events in South Carolina as captured by Charlotte Wedding Photographer Claudia Wolff of The Wallflower Photographer.

I love this gorgeous place setting from a wedding held at Southern Charm Events in Rock Hill, SC.

Anyone who suffers from anxiety has the extra responsibility of keeping their anxiety in check every day. That isn’t always easy considering life happens, work happens, and anxiety happens. However, anxiety making your days tough for you doesn’t have to be a thing forever.

So, how can you kick anxiety in the ass?

Read on for four tips!

1. Tell yourself, “Anxiety is a liar.”

A beautiful coffee mug depicting the phrase "Anxiety is a liar" by Mental Health Mugs as photographed by Charlotte, NC photographer Claudia Wolff of The Wallflower Photographer.

Make this your new mantra (and buy one of these mugs)!

Anxiety has a really bad habit of making you doubt yourself. All of a sudden, you can go from being the most calm and self-assured individual to feeling like everything that could go wrong that you predicted will actually happen. Kicking anxiety in the ass actually begins when you realize that, as one of my favorite coffee mugs states, anxiety is a liar. (It really is!)

Think about it. Anxiety loves to make you think of all these scenarios in your head that you are so convinced will happen at some point in time. You think about the scenarios over and over again, allowing your anxiety to grow and grow and grow until those thoughts seem like they’re actually real. And then what happens? You turn into a ball of anxiety and lose most of your sense of well being and mental clarity.

  • One thing I like do every week is check in with the anxious thoughts I’ve been having by using an app called Worry Watch. This nifty app allows you to take inventory of all your anxious thoughts and helps you come to terms with the thoughts. For example, you contextualize the kinds of anxious thoughts you’re having, note the thoughts’ intensity, and decide whether or not the actual outcome was as bad as you expected. Worry Watch has been really helpful for me because I’ve realized how ridiculous and untrue almost all of my anxious thoughts really are!

 

Take it from one of my favorite mugs by Mental Health Mugs: Anxiety is a LIAR!

2. Wake up earlier, and meditate.

A morning sunrise in Fort Mill/Indian Land, South Carolina as captured by Charlotte Family & Wedding Photographer Claudia Wolff of The Wallflower Photographer.

This is what sunrises look like from my backyard.

Why wake up earlier? Because, if you wake up too late when starting your day, you’ll be rushing to get ready. All that will do is feed your anxiety, making it worse. What I personally do is wake up at least three hours before I start working. That’s more than ample time to wake up, shower, get dressed, eat, and just chill. My days end up a lot more relaxed, and the workday is a lot more productive and sane. If you can’t do three hours early, then try 15 minutes. Even waking up 15 minutes earlier can help you feel less anxious!

In order to kick anxiety in the ass, I suggest taking up meditation. If you don’t meditate on a regular basis, you can get started by meditating a few times a week. Kicking anxiety in the ass via mediation is a surefire way to calm your mind and body before you start getting ready for the day.

  • My favorite app for meditating is Stop, Breathe & Think, and it’s available for both iOS and Android. It has many free and awesome meditations, and you can unlock many more by paying for a subscription. (I’ve found Stop, Breathe & Think to be reasonably priced compared to similar meditation apps.) Other popular apps include Headspace and Calm.

 

How long do you need to meditate? Honestly, it’s different for everyone, but even five minutes of meditation will make a huge difference. Meditation has been proven to help reduce anxiety, so having it as part of day-to-day routine is crucial to kicking anxiety in the ass.

Ideally, you should meditate upon waking up. However, if that isn’t your cup of tea, then you can always meditate before you go to bed. Either way, once you’re meditating on a regular basis, you’ll enjoy a calmer mind and even a more positive mindset.

3. Get active.

A pair of 10-lb. dumbbells on a hardwood floor. Claudia Wolff of The Wallflower Photographer, a Charlotte wedding and family photographer, recommends exercising before heading out to a wedding to help reduce wedding-day anxiety.

Exercise will help you get in tip-top shape everyday!

Having a routine in place every day will do wonders for kicking anxiety in the ass. Here’s a suggested morning (or evening, if you’re more inclined to the evening hours) routine based on my own personal routine:

Meditate. As you read above, I use Stop, Breathe & Think to meditate, but I also recommend Calm and Headspace.

Stretch or, better yet, practice some yoga. Often, tense muscles are a sign of anxiety. Another tool you can add to your pre-departure routine is stretching or yoga. Stretching immediately releases tense muscles, thus lowering your anxiety. Try stretching your arms, legs, neck, and hips to release tension all over. Don’t be afraid if you’re not the most flexible person ever. Even a little bit of stretching makes a huge difference!

  • Don’t be afraid to give yoga a try. If you have experience with or are open minded about trying it, practice some yoga. A short (at least 10-minute) routine always does the trick for me. YouTube is a great place to start. Look for yoga routines that promote relaxation (but make sure it’s not a bedtime routine, or you’ll end up ready for bed, unless that’s what you want). You can also use apps for getting in some yoga. My favorite is the Yoga Studio app, but there are plenty of apps you can try (and purchase if you’d like) that offer up great yoga routines.

 

Exercise. Exercise. Exercise! Exercise is one of the best, if not the best, way to kick anxiety in the ass! Why is that? Well, every time you exercise, you lower your anxiety levels and also get to experience the feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which make people happy! Now, who wouldn’t want to start their day happy and free from anxiety?

  • How much exercise? Again, that’s totally up to you, but I recommend at least 15 minutes of exercise. It can be whatever you want: walking, running, lifting weights, etc. I know when I exercise before photographing a wedding, my body is able to easily handle all the walking, running, squatting, reaching, and crouching I do to get those amazing wedding-day shots!
  • What workouts? My favorite workouts include those by Leslie Sansone. It’s basically walking in place while doing moves that work every muscle in your body. Some of the workouts are pretty casual, while others will definitely help you work up a good sweat! You can also head to YouTube and search for 15-minute workouts or HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts. Fitness Blender has an awesome variety of free workouts, including HIIT workouts! Don’t forget to do some strength training as well! A combination of both cardio and strength works wonders! Whatever your preference, I promise you any exercise you do will be beneficial in kicking anxiety in the ass!

 

4. Leave at least 15 minutes early for every important trip.

The Wallflower Photographer, Claudia Wolff of Charlotte, NC, advises wedding photographers to add at least 15 minutes to their travel time to reduce anxiety on wedding days.

Tick tock…tick tock…tick tock…

 

One major source of anxiety is not leaving enough time to travel to work, appointments, and, in my case, weddings. I recommend adding, at the very least, 15 minutes to your trip to account for any possible traffic jams, inclement weather, car problems, etc. (The last thing I want to do is notify my couples that I’m going to be late arriving at their venue!) This will also ensure you have extra time to secure parking. Ensuring you have the proper amount of time to get to your destination will help calm you as you drive and/or as you encounter any problems along the way.

4x. Bonus Tip (if this applies to you): Remember to take your medication!

I cannot stress this enough. If you take medication for anxiety, please make sure you take it! If you take your medication later in the day or multiple times a day, try to make sure you have your medication with you. Another tip (and I do this) is to set a reminder on your phone to take your medication if you tend to be forgetful (like me, LOL).

Personally, I take Lorazepam as needed, and in the evening I supplement with magnesium and melatonin (both have done absolute wonders for my sleep and anxiety). Remember, talk to your doctor before taking any supplements along with prescription medication.

Congratulations! You’re now ready to kick anxiety in the ass!

If you follow all these steps (or close to it), you’ll succeed in kicking your anxiety in the ass and see your mental and physical performance improve!

Leave me a comment below, and let me know how you kick anxiety in the ass! I always love hearing how other people with anxiety deal with it.  🙂

Here’s to kicking anxiety in the ass!

Love,

Claudia
Charlotte, NC Wedding, Lifestyle & Branding Photographer
  1. Suzanne

    June 4th, 2018 at 1:52 am

    Thank you so much for this blog. It resonates with myself on all levels. I love my mental health mugs.. I have anxiety is a liar as well. It was you who turned me on to them.

    Peace and Light
    Suzanne

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  1. Suzanne

    June 4th, 2018 at 1:52 am

    Thank you so much for this blog. It resonates with myself on all levels. I love my mental health mugs.. I have anxiety is a liar as well. It was you who turned me on to them.

    Peace and Light
    Suzanne

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