The Perfect Routine for Depression and Anxiety + FREE Printable!

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Routine is KEY when it comes to recovering from depression and anxiety! Without structure in your day, you allow your depression to let you lay in bed far longer than you should, and you give your anxiety time to run rampant.

That’s why I’m currently working on building morning and night routines that work for me. Working from home, it’s difficult for me to stick to a set schedule — but I’m challenging myself to take this time to myself morning and night, regardless of when I wake up and go to bed, to focus on self-care and healthy habits that will kick my depression and anxiety to the curb.

In this post, I’ll be sharing the habits I built into my morning and night routines to help alleviate depression and anxiety, as well as a FREE printable version so you can hold onto each of these routines if you want to try them for yourself!

My Morning Routine

Meditation

You’re probably sick of hearing the benefits of meditation by now, so I’ll just list one: according to the magazine Mindful, mindful meditation relieves anxiety by helping you sit with difficult emotions without over-analyzing them. Apps like Simple Habit and Insight Timer have dozens of free meditations to help you switch off the anxious part of your brain.

You can meditate morning or night, but I like morning meditation because 1) I’m not in danger of falling asleep! and 2) it turns off that feeling of “morning anxiety” I sometimes get when I wake up. (You know, when you feel a sense of dread in the morning for no reason?) Just 5-10 minutes is enough to start feeling the benefits — so really, you have no excuse not to try it!

Yoga

Why should you exercise in the morning? Because in the words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!” Once you get used to moving first thing in the morning, you’ll find that it helps you wake up and face the day with a higher mood and more positivity. (In case you’re still not convinced, check out Cosmopolitan‘s 15 reasons to exercise in the morning!)

At least 10-15 minutes of yoga each morning is a must to boost happy chemicals in my brain and combat my depression. I follow along to videos from several YouTube yogis, but Yoga With Adriene has been a longtime favorite!

Breakfast

If you ever experience brain fog due to depression, then you’ll understand why I swear by eating a full breakfast each and every morning. Well, okay — not every morning. I am human, after all! Point is, I’m trying to get better at eating a “real” breakfast, but when you’re in a pinch, a yogurt or a fried egg still does the trick.

Eating breakfast is almost always better than eating nothing at all, since breakfast jumpstarts our cognitive function in the morning to improve memory and concentration. When depression already impacts your concentration, the last thing you need is hunger pangs distracting you further. So, eat a balanced breakfast, darn it! I like to also enjoy my morning coffee during breakfast, as it gives me something to look forward to.

My Night Routine

Planning

Every night, I draw out my daily bullet journal spread, which includes gratitudes, to-dos and habits for the next day. I also fill in the day’s habit tracker and gratitude list before moving onto the next day. I find that sitting down and planning out my day helps me feel more organized and less anxious when I’m falling asleep. Instead of worrying about all the things I have to do the next day, I can rest easy knowing that I’ve made a list of my priorities for the next day — and that I haven’t forgotten anything.

Don’t forget to schedule positive activities into your day, too: I talk a lot about behavioral activation for depression, which is the idea that you should schedule pleasant activities that you enjoy doing to force yourself to engage in self-care. The idea is that you may not always feel motivated to start, but once you get past the initial dread, you’ll actually find yourself enjoying the activity!

Skincare

I can’t prove that having a skincare routine helps with depression or anxiety, but we do know that self-care — and specifically self-soothing — does help with difficult emotions. To me, having a skincare routine is part of that self-soothing ritual. As I’m rubbing all my various lotions and potions on my face, I find myself actually slowing down and taking time to notice how I feel. It’s a quiet moment that allows me to get in touch with my emotions and focus on doing something positive to take care of myself.

If you struggle with body image issues, a skincare routine can also be beneficial — after all, it’s a way of showing your body some love. You may not love every feature on your face or body, but taking care of your skin sends a subliminal message to your brain that you’re willing to take good care of your body anyways. These small moments of self-care may not seem like much, but they have a positive ripple effect that carries through into every aspect of our lives. The more you engage in self-care, the easier it becomes, so I recommend building at least one type of self-care (whether that’s skincare or otherwise) into your nighttime routine to give yourself some much-needed TLC.

Journaling

I talk a lot about journaling on this blog — because I’m obsessed with it! I’ve long believed in the power of journaling to help you get in touch with your emotions and learn more about yourself. I believe this act allows you to get to the root of why you feel anxious or why you feel depressed, which empowers you with the information you need to start making small, but positive changes in your life.

I believe in the power of journaling, but I also know how difficult it can be to start when you aren’t sure what to write. Lately, I’ve been loving guided journaling for that very reason! The exact journal I use is called Getting to Good by Elena Welsh, PhD and uses principles of CBT and psychology to guide you through journal exercises that improve your mental health on bad days. I highly recommend working through this journal if you are someone who’s new to journaling, found yourself in a journaling rut or wants to try something new in their journal routine!

Tips for Starting a New Routine

Before I share your FREE printable version of my morning and night routines, I want to take a moment to remind you that it’s always okay (and even encouraged!) to start slowly when it comes to implementing healthy habits. It’s better to focus on building one habit at a time than to try to upheave your entire morning and night routines at once.

It takes anywhere from 18 days to two months to build a habit, so it’s okay if you don’t feel settled into your new routine for awhile. If you can add just one healthy habit into your routine to help combat your anxiety and depression, you’ll be better off than not setting any goals at all. Plus, working toward a goal is a proven part of treatment for depression, so always having something to look forward to may actually help improve your mood!

+ Your FREE Printable!

Click here to get your FREE printable!

(No hoops. No email. Just free love xx)

Self-Care Resources for COVID-19 Anxiety

*If you need immediate help coping with coronavirus anxiety, please text “HOME” to 741-741 to speak to a trained crisis counselor.

For the first time in my life, I can say that most people I know understand what I am going through. We are all experiencing this pandemic together — and all the anxiety and depression that comes along with it.

Many of us are practicing social distancing, which can be lonely AF. Meanwhile, we’re facing an uncertain future, with events cancelled, the virus spreading and those with preexisting health conditions at higher risk.

If you need help coping with this crisis, know that you are all alone. We could all benefit from stepping up our self-care game during these scary times — which is why I created this toolkit of self-care resources to help you cope with your anxiety about the coronavirus.

ban.do Wellness Planner

Now more than ever, it’s important to take care of those simple everyday self-care tasks, such as taking our medication, checking in with our emotions, drinking water and exercising. ban.do is giving away printable refills of its Wellness Planner for free during this crisis, so you can take advantage of this time to stay on top of your self-care.

Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety

Self-care app Shine knows that we’ve all been experiencing some virus anxiety — which is why they created the website virusanxiety.com to help you care for your coronavirus anxiety. There, you’ll find free meditations, Q&As with psychologists and a collection of random internet things designed to calm you down and cheer you up.

Weathering the Storm Collection

The meditation app Headspace has released a free collection called Weathering the Storm, where you can find meditations curated to help you survive this time of crisis. If you are a healthcare professional, you can also access a free Headspace Plus subscription as a thank you for all you are doing to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

Talkspace

Whether or not you have a preexisting mental health condition, you may find yourself needing someone to talk to during this confusing and chaotic time. Talkspace is a telehealth app that offers virtual text and video sessions with licensed therapists — and they’re offering $100 off all plans with the code 1004U in honor of the coronavirus pandemic.

Brit + Co Classes

Need a creative distraction from the news? Brit + Co is offering all of its classes for free for a limited time only with the code SELFCARE. You can learn to curate a gorgeous Instagram feed, master modern calligraphy or paint a gorgeous set of succulents with these awesome classes from DIY queens!

Beauty Essentials Every Anxious Girl Needs

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links, meaning I may receive payment for any items you purchase through my blog. All opinions are still my own.

Does putting makeup on make you anxious? Whether it’s the number of products lining the shelves at Sephora or the pressure to perfect a smudge-free cat eye, wearing makeup can sometimes be more trouble than it’s worth for those of us who suffer from anxiety.

But there’s good news, too: if you’re an anxious girl who loves putting on makeup, your Ulta habit might actually help your anxiety. Okay, maybe not the part where you overspend on the latest release from Tarte — but applying makeup allows you to maintain a sense of control, encourages mindfulness and even includes elements of aromatherapy.

If you’re someone who loves makeup and hates her anxiety, then this post is for you. Today I’m sharing the foolproof beauty essentials to help combat your beauty woes, so you can stop feeling sick to your stomach and start feeling in control of your daily makeup routine again.

If you think there’s too many choices….

If you’re overwhelmed by the number of products at your local beauty store (WTF is “priming milk,” anyways?!) then you’re not alone — but that doesn’t mean you need to shy away from makeup altogether! All-in-one kits and multitasking palettes allow you to purchase multiple products in one fell swoop, instead of spending hours upon hours scouring the shelves.

Laura Geller’s Multitasking Cream to Powder Trio in Meet the Nudes offers three versatile shades that can be used anywhere on the face, all for just $24.

Or, for absolute beginners, Charlotte Tilbury’s The Sophisticate Look Set comes with everything you need to start a makeup collection: for $230, you get an eye palette, eyeliner, mascara, blush, three lip colors and a chic bag to carry it all in.

Charlotte Tilbury The Sophisticate Look Set Image 2

If you’re worried about making mistakes….

What keeps you up at night when it comes to makeup? If it’s a fear of making mistakes (that everyone will see), don’t stop wearing makeup. Instead, look toward products that help make your life easier when it comes to flawlessly applying your favorite makeup.

Case in point? The beautyblender Liner Designer. At just $8, this triple-edged little guy helps you master the hardest makeup trend of all time, a.k.a. the perfect cat eye. (Plus, it comes in a cute carrying case to boot!)

Image result for beautyblender liner designer

And for those days when all hell breaks loose on your face, it’s nice to know you have a back-up plan. The MakeUp Eraser is a washable, reusable makeup removing cloth that lasts up to three years and removes makeup with water alone. (Yes, even your waterproof mascara!) Not to mention, it helps save the planet by getting rid of the trash that comes with disposable makeup wipes. Not bad for just $20!

Makeup Eraser - The Original MakeUp Eraser® Makeup Remover Cloth Pink 7" W x 16" L

If disorganization drives you crazy….

Perhaps your problem with makeup isn’t the makeup itself — it’s how to store it without it turning into a giant, jumbled mess. Don’t worry, anxious babes…. I’ve got you covered!

I love my Caboodle makeup storage case, which breaks down into so many shelves, nooks and crannies it’s absolutely insane. You can get one from Modcloth for $18 — order in-app for 25% off your first purchase!

Conquering Financial Anxiety (feat. Ellevest!)

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links, meaning I may receive payment for any items you purchase through my blog. Affiliate links like these help keep Lovely & Lazy alive!

In 2019, I had the pleasure of working with a client who’s a financial therapist. She uses psychology to help bread-winning women say f**k it to patriarchal viewpoints and financial anxiety.

I learned a lot from working with her, and it really made me examine my own relationship with money. For example, I have a lot of bad money habits stemming from my anxiety, as I’m sure we all do:

  • I get too caught up in the “what ifs?” to plan for my financial future by saving; instead, I just worry about it and hope it will all work out.
  • Looking at my bank statements makes me anxious, so I’m often too scared to check my account for errors.
  • I’ve even maxed out my credit cards because I thought buying something would be the “magic solution” for my anxiety. (I’m looking at you, $150 yoga pass I used twice.)

Thankfully, I also learned some ways I could reduce that financial anxiety by reading her blog and watching her videos. Combined with the research I did for this article, I’ve come a long way in the past year when it comes to understanding my money and conquering financial anxiety.

By no means have I cured my financial anxiety, but I have learned a tip or two that I think will help you get to a better place when it comes to your money! Here’s some of my best advice when it comes to reducing financial anxiety, and what you can do to better plan for your financial future….

What is Financial Anxiety?

Financial anxiety: 85% of Americans have it to some degree. But that doesn’t say much about what it is…. or why we should care about it enough to read an entire blog post about it!

About 2/3 of Americans report that money is their largest source of stress — enough so that therapists have coined the colloquial term “money anxiety disorder” to explain the phenomenon.

According to credit reporting company Experian, the following symptoms might be signs that you suffer from financial anxiety:

  • Overspending. You get stuck in a vicious cycle of being anxious about money, enjoying the release of a shopping spree and digging yourself into a deep hole of guilt (and potentially debt).
  • Hoarding. You’re so afraid of what could happen that you’re excessively frugal, to the point where you might have storage unit full of stuff you “might” need someday.
  • Dishonesty. Are you covering up your credit card bills, hiding an account from your spouse or otherwise lying about your spending or saving habits? You might be committing something called “financial infidelity.”
  • Generalized anxiety. Sometimes, our money worries can become so overpowering that they overshadow everything else in our life. You might find yourself on edge most of the time, even about things that have nothing to do with your wallet.

Challenging Your Money Worries

So, how can you get to work challenging those money worries and getting back to being your badass self? My client Lindsay wrote a blog post where she shared an exercise from her upcoming book, The Financial Anxiety Solution, on how you can challenge your fears about money.

The exercise is based in the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT — a form of therapy commonly used to treat anxiety. Here’s how it works:

Step One: Choose an anxiety-inducing thought you have about money. For example, “I’m too dumb to understand investing.”

Step Two: Examine the evidence for and against your thought. This is kind of like making a pro/con list: for example, if you previously made an investing mistake, put that on the mental “con” list. If you rocked your college finance class, put that on the “pro” list.

Step Three: At the end, reexamine your original thought. Does it still make sense given the number of pros and cons against the thought? Chances are, the answer will be “no.”

Once you learn to let go of the false, limiting beliefs you hold about your relationship with finances, you’ll soon find your financial anxiety lessened enough to start making smarter decisions with your money!

Prepping for Your Worst Case Scenario (feat. Ellevest!)

As I mentioned previously, financial anxiety often fuels our bad money behaviors; it can lead to overspending, hoarding, being miserly or avoiding planning for the future. Changing our thoughts can help change our behaviors — but so can learning to change those behaviors that are part of the cycle of financial anxiety.

One thing that has helped me tremendously in learning to tackle my financial anxiety is taking control of my financial future — and by that I mean starting an investment account with Ellevest. (I’m not paid to promote Ellevest, but I love it enough that I’d definitely take a deal! #sponsorme)

Ellevest is a financial investment app by women, for women. It offers easy investment portfolios with the option to transfer money automatically every month, helping you save without thinking about it. Plus, you can opt into their Impact Portfolio, which benefits women-owned companies to help empower women around the globe.

Sign up for Ellevest by clicking here and you’ll receive $20 in credit toward your first investment!

The Cutest Anti-Anxiety Home Decor (& How to Hack Your Home)

If you have anxiety, the sheer thought of decorating your home — especially if you just dealt with the stress of moving like me and David did! — can feel overwhelming, or even impossible. But did you know that you can actually reduce your anxiety by carefully choosing your home decor?

The way we decorate our spaces says a lot about us. Likewise, the space we live in greatly influences our mood. Clutter in our home can reflect mental clutter, meaning that periods of high anxiety can create a messy environment — and that our messy environment can create a vicious cycle of more anxiety.

These are just a few reasons why you should consider your anxiety while decorating your house. Here are my favorite tips to hack your home for reduced anxiety, as well as some of my favorite pieces of adorable home decor to lessen your anxiety. (I promise it’s not just a weighted blanket!)

Decorating Tips for Reducing Anxiety

Beyond choosing the right items to reduce anxiety, you can also follow a few simple ground rules when it comes to decorating with your anxiety in mind. Here are some of my favorite home decorating tips for enjoying less anxiety at home:

  • Use color psychology. Color psychology explains how different colors influence our emotions. Take a nod from color psychology and choose calming colors like blue, green and white when painting or decorating your room.
  • Minimize clutter. As I mentioned previously, a cluttered space can reflect a cluttered mind. Keeping bookshelves and surfaces as clear as possible will minimize the space that your stuff takes up in your already-busy brain.
  • Get inspired by nature. Natural elements like plants and running water reduce anxiety and clear the home of negative energy, according to the ancient Chinese philosophy of feng-shui.
  • Light it up! Maximizing natural light in your home will elevate your mood, especially if you live in a part of the world that doesn’t get much sunshine. A study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh found that hospital patients exposed to natural light were far less stressed than those who were not.

My Favorite Anti-Anxiety Home Decor

Calming Candles

Here’s another thing to add to your constantly-full Target cart: these three-wick ceramic candles by Project 62 cost just $13 and feature calming scents like eucalyptus and ylang-ylang.

Stone Diffuser

If you haven’t already hopped on the aromatherapy train, now is your chance! This $119 stone diffuser by Vitruvi is an elegant way to fill your room with soothing essential oil scents.

Meditation Cushion

20-30 minutes of deep breathing per day can drastically reduce anxiety and stress. Elevate your breathing practice with a cozy cushion reserved especially for deep breathing, like this $59 meditation pillow from Crystal Cove.

White Noise Machine

Parents use white noise machines in their nurseries for a reason: their sounds are incredibly soothing and encourage better sleep! Take a nod from my therapist’s office and opt for the Marpac Dohm Elite White Noise Machine, available for $50 at Bed Bath and Beyond.

Ceramic Fountain

Love the sound of falling rain? Then you might want to consider a ceramic fountain in your home. The sound of running water can be incredibly calming, so check out this $45 fountain featuring the koi fish from Foreside Home & Garden.

Fairy Lights

Like color, lighting has the power to transform our mood. There’s a reason why dim lights are called “mood lighting:” they put us in a relaxed state that’s not just great for sex, but also for reducing anxiety! Catch these simple string lights for $39 from west elm while they’re still on sale.

Indoor Planter

Studies have shown that active interaction with house plants — like touching and smelling them — can reduce stress and anxiety. Go ahead and channel your green thumb with these $54 ceramic planters from World Market.

Weighted Blanket

You knew it was coming! We all know that weighted blankets feel like being wrapped in a warm hug — but this one from Tranql is also infused with the soothing scent of lavender to take those anxiety-reducing benefits up a notch. Get it in an adorable lilac shade for $159.

Seven Things That Helped My Depression

Controversial opinion: I don’t think depression is a disease that can be “cured.” Instead, I view it as a chronic illness that requires constant management.

If you don’t stick to your self-care routine, depression can creep back into your life and rear its ugly head again. That’s why I’m sharing seven things that improved my depression.

While I don’t think you can magically “cure” your depression, I do think you can actively work to manage it and keep it at bay. Of course, that takes work — which is why you should work these seven things into your routine (or as many of them as serves you!).

I went to group therapy.

If you follow me on Instagram or read my blog regularly, you know I was in an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for my depression and anxiety. A big part of IOP is regular group therapy sessions. At first, I was afraid to speak in front of other people about my deep personal issues — but after awhile, I became more open to the idea of group therapy. Once I was willing to give it a fighting chance, I got a lot out of it. I think a big reason why is the idea of social support: when you’re fighting depression, you tend to isolate. Group therapy forces you out of your bubble. Before you know it, you’ll be giggling along to each other’s jokes and making plans to go to brunch.

I learned not to believe everything I think.

When you have depression, your thoughts go a little bit like this: “My friend cancelled on me. She must not like me. I have no real friends. No one loves me. I don’t deserve love. I’m worthless.” If you believe everything you think, of course you’re going to feel like sh*t — your brain is straight-up bullying you! When you’re at the mercy of your thoughts, you naturally feel out of control. But once you learn to reframe your thoughts in a more positive way (and not to believe everything you think), you wind up back in the driver’s seat of your own brain. To get started with challenging your unhelpful thoughts, check out this helpful worksheet from TherapistAid.

I cut out emotional vampires.

Have you heard of the term “emotional vampire?” Like a bloodsucker, emotional vampires drain all your energy, leaving little left for yourself. They take the form of demanding “frenemies” who constantly gossip about others behind their backs, bosses with unreasonably high expectations and family members who feel the need to exert control over you. In the middle of a depressive episode, you can feel stuck dealing with people like this — but once you reclaim your power, you realize that you do have the power to change. Break up with that abusive partner. Say goodbye to bad friends. Set boundaries with family members who suck you (emotionally) dry. These types of choices can feel impossible in the throngs of depression, but don’t forget that they are real, viable options.

I stopped binge drinking.

I’ll clarify this point by saying that I’ve never had a drinking problem or felt dependent on alcohol. However, this point still stands for people like me who don’t identify as someone with a substance abuse issue. Back in college, I would go out drinking maybe once a month — but when I did go, I would drink four or five drinks until the details of the night started to get fuzzy. The problem? The next day, I suffered from much worse than a hangover: my depression would get worse, too. That’s because alcohol is a depressant. So, if you’re going to use alcohol while depressed, use it sparingly — don’t make yourself vulnerable to emotional distress by binge drinking. Better yet, only drink when you’re in a good mood, because when you start at a higher point while using a depressant, your lows can’t get as low.

I started dance classes.

Moving your body is so important. I say “moving your body” versus “exercising” intentionally, because I don’t believe you have to go to a gym and pump iron to reap the benefits of movement. Instead of forcing yourself to work out, you should find something you love to do that doesn’t feel like a workout. For me, that’s dance. I’ve been a dancer since I was in elementary school, so going to dance class just feels natural. Growing up, it was my safe place — and I still get that feeling when I walk into a ballet studio today. So, find the type of movement that makes you feel that way, too. Those endorphins are a natural high that even the strongest antidepressant can’t replace!

I found my purpose.

Stuck in the “rat race?” If you’re stuck in a job you hate, take this as your sign to leave and start doing something more meaningful. As someone who quit her job to start her own business, I can truthfully say that finding your purpose can change your life. I used to dread going to work every day — and now that I work for myself, I officially never feel that way anymore. Now, I look forward to waking up and working on my projects, because I know that helping people improve their mental health (whether that’s through marketing therapy or studying to become a therapist myself) is what I was put on this earth to do. Once you figure out what you’re meant to do, change your life and start working towards that. I know it can be difficult to find enough motivation to take a leap of faith, but taking that leap might just be what gets you out of that depressive funk.

I got dressed.

This seems so simple, yet it’s so transformative: try getting dressed in the morning. And by that I mean, try putting on an outfit that makes you feel good about yourself, instead of the sweats and hoodie you feel like wearing. If you’re feeling ambitious, maybe even put on some mascara and throw your hair up in a cute messy bun. It’s not that I’m vain, although seeing your reflection in the mirror will certainly put some pep in your step, but rather, it’s the fact that forcing yourself to do something you don’t feel like doing will make you feel damn good. Once you see yourself looking good, you’ll realize that you can do anything if you simply put your mind to it. The skill is called “opposite action,” and it’s something I learned in my DBT group that’s worked wonders on me.