how to navigate anxiety in your relationship

how to navigate anxiety in your relationship

getting intimate with the role anxiety plays in relationships

Anxiety has a way of finding its way into everything –relationships included. This not only affects the person who lives with an anxiety disorder, but their significant other, too.

Some common relationship woes for those who struggle with anxiety include feeling dependent (*girl-raising-hand emoji*), overreacting to certain situations, letting insecurity takeover, and feeling fearful or defensive all too often. [1]

As a soon-to-be bride (March 2019, I see you!), navigating my anxiety disorders in my current relationship has proven to be crucial to our development as a couple and as individuals. All relationships take work, but when one (or both!) of you deal with regular anxiety, there’s a little bit of extra work you have to put in on a daily basis. Because no one ever said marriage was easy, right? 🙂

Before I dive into the steps that have helped me navigate myanxiety in my current relationship, I want to note that it takes being with the right person for this to be successful. I’m beyond grateful for my patient,understanding and supportive fiancé, Bobby. Love ya, babe!

With that, here are the steps we have taken in order to not let my anxiety and panic takeover our relationship.

  1. Educate yourself and your partner. First thing’s first – educate yourself. I encourage you to learn as much as you can about your anxiety/mental health disorder, including what triggers you and what helps you. Knowledge is power here. I highly recommend therapy, as a professional can definitely guide you in the right direction and help you find some answers. Once you know more, you can communicate your feelings to your significant other and work together on how you can better each other. I ask so many questions in my therapy sessions, and it allows me to understand my reactions and my ways. Also, my therapist recently recommended The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, and that has taught me even more!
  2. Open up. This is a friendly reminder that you, your anxiety and your emotions are not a burden. These feelings may not be something you feel comfortable sharing early-on in your relationship and that’s totally OK (although, I did tell my fiancé on our first date that I was super needy … Oops?). Regardless when you decide to do so, open up about your emotions and the struggles you face even if they feel like “too much” to you. The right partner will listen and do whatever they are capable of to support and to help you.
  3. Be patient. Figuring this out by yourself takes time and hard work – so, adding in another person into the equation…? Yeah, it ain’t easy. Remember that developing a healthy relationship is a process with ups and downs, as is learning and healing from a mental health disorder. Be patient with yourself, communicate with your significant other regularly, and know that it gets better.
  4. Have some fun! Not everything needs to focus on your symptoms or struggles – don’t forget to have some fun together! Laughter really is the best medicine, especially laughing with someone you love. My fiancé and I go to a new place each year and it’s something that brings us so much joy! Find something you and your partner love (well, besides each other) and make it a priority in your relationship.

Of course, every relationship is different. Some of my past relationships worsened my anxiety (cue all the worrisome questions like, “does he even like me?!”) and some, like my current one, have helped me to progress in my mental health journey.

From my experience, anxiety does not have to make or break your relationship. It can be a catalyst for personal growth as an individual and as a couple, and even strengthen your relationship.

Do you struggle with anxiety or constant worry in your relationship? If so, what have you tried to ease these struggles?



Please note that I am not a mental health professional. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition.


one of the biggest lessons I learned in 2018

one of the biggest lessons I learned in 2018

how this blog helped me define my passion

When we wake up tomorrow, it’ll be a new year. WHOA.

The end of each year always gets me in my feels as I start to reflect on all of the adventures I’ve taken, all of the obstacles I’ve faced and all of the lessons I’ve learned in the last 365 days. Something I’m really thinking about recently? This blog.

I started the adventures & anxiety blog and Instagram to help with my anxiety through writing, and also in hopes of helpings others. Just a few months in and I’m thinking … Shit, is it making it worse?

Spoiler alert: It did (temporarily).

Unfortunately, I allowed this blog and its corresponding social pages to take priority in my life momentarily … I began to pressure myself to create what I felt was “worthy content” — forcing Instagram posts and blog topics that didn’t necessarily come naturally (something that I promised myself I would NOT do when I started this!). This resulted in spending too much time trying to beat writer’s block and taking too many pictures of myself, which always ends with negative thoughts such as “ugh, bad angle”, “I should seriously consider doing my hair before I take another picture” and “will anyone even care about this?”  *eyeroll*

So yeah, that was totally not the point of starting adventures & anxiety.

As I started to reflect, I quickly took a chapter from my own book and set some boundaries with my Instagram specifically, because damn — I do love that platform. It’s a big part of my career and now an even bigger part of my personal life. But it had started to become all-consuming.

And then … cue Christmastime. Cue added STRESS. Cue anxiety attacks. Cue all the negative feelings about myself. Throw in the pressure I was putting on myself to write and post? NOPE. Formula for disaster.

So, I stepped away from this blog and its social platforms for a total of about two weeks (not that long, but long enough!), and I’m so thankful I did. I learned a few things about myself in the process. And here goes it …

  • Stepping away from the screen allowed me to be more present with the people and experiences I love. I have an amazing family and home, a beautiful baby niece, an expecting sister (and they’re TWINS!), a dog, and of course, a fiancé to focus on and to soak in … Moments with them are what truly matter.
  • This time opened my eyes to my borderline-addiction to social media (I’m definitely going to elaborate on this in a separate blog post soon!). Note: this is something I’m working on.
  • I realized that I needed to re-prioritize my life. Family first – just like my parents taught me!
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But, my biggest lesson from this? I LOVE writing – I love writing about mental health, specifically. It fuels me. It makes me feel alive. It makes me feel genuinely like ME. We’re always told to pursue our passion … So, this is me pursuing mine!

And truthfully, I missed it. I missed connecting with like-minded souls. I missed expressing myself through my writing. I missed taking fun pictures and sharing them with my friends, family and followers.

So here I am babes — it feels good to be back!

While I definitely plan to set realistic boundaries with adventures & anxiety, you definitely haven’t seen the last of me. 🙂

What are you reflecting on as the year comes to a close?

Happy 2019!



how to approach new year’s resolutions when you struggle with anxiety

how to approach new year’s resolutions when you struggle with anxiety

no resolutions? no problem.

First thing’s first: HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Christmas is almost here and before we all know it, it’s going to be 2019 (I can’t believe it either!). And with the New Year comes the “new YOU”right? Ugh, wrong. So wrong.

I ditched the typical New Year’s resolutions – aka losing weight and participating in fitness challenges – a couple of years ago. THANK GOODNESS I did, because honestly, those goals did nothing but set me up for disappointment, defeat or feeling like I failed in some way.

Now, I’m all for implementing healthier lifestyle choices; if it helps you to begin those on the first of the year, then go for it! Personally, I have to tread lightly with this all-too-popular trend because let’s be real – if I set a goal and fail at it, I’ll feel nothing but shame toward myself. That’s not a way to start the New Year, now is it?

If you’re anything like me and battle regular anxiety or even high levels of stress, I recommend taking a different approach to your 2019 resolutions intentions. 

Instead of setting goals focused on specific (and sometimes unrealistic) results, I encourage you to set intentions that focus on feelings.

What does that mean, you ask? Well, allow me to elaborate by digging into the three aspirations I plan to work on in the upcoming year.

listen to your body

Instead of calorie counting or following a specific diet, eat what makes you feel good; instead of scheduling five workouts each week, listen to your body and workout when it feels right.

If you’ve read my previous blog on food, you know I’ve learned my lesson from dieting too hard (*cough cough* Whole30). Now, I focus on eating balanced meals that make me feel my best.

Well, I’ve also been known to go a little overboard with my fitness routine in the last decade or so – pushing myself too hard to the point of injury or burnout. But no matter how much I was exercising, I wasn’t seeing any kind of results. Thankfully, I took note from my personal trainer and instead of forcing 5+ workouts in each week, I started to allow myself to rest when my body was tired, super sore or simply if I wasn’t feeling up to it. The benefit? Not only do I feel better physically, my mental health has improved. Win-win!

practice setting boundaries

Boundaries are hard, but damn are they worth setting. Setting boundaries – learning to say no for your own benefit – will do wonders for your overall mental health.

Also, communicating your wants and needs to those closest to you will allow you to express yourself and give your family and friends the opportunity to better understand who you are. Practice setting boundaries with your partner, friends and family members, and focus on feeling less guilty and more at peace with the idea. Read more on how I’m working on this whole boundaries thing here.

prioritize self-care

Don’t wait until January 1 – make it a priority to take care of yourself first right now. Self-care means something different for everyone, but for me it means committing to less with others (hi, boundaries!) and doing more to fuel my needs.

Friendly reminder: self-care is not selfish. So, listen to your thoughts; listen to your body. What do you need? Fulfill those needs and desires – make more time for you.

So, 2019 may not be the year I conquer the keto diet or the year that I run my first marathon (I can barely manage a 5K and I’m totally OK with that!) … But, it will be a year full of mindfulness and self-care – two things I am proud to be working toward.

You don’t need to become a new person in the New Year, but I do recommend putting more effort into listening to your body, being mindful and being happy. What intentions have you set for the upcoming year?

Happy almost-2019!



Please note that I am not a mental health professional. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition.

the holiday gift guide for the anxious friend in your life

the holiday gift guide for the anxious friend in your life

I love the holidays, but my goodness the pressure of gift-giving is stressful.

I pride myself on being a good gift-giver, so naturally I put pressure on myself every holiday season to crush the gift game for my family and close friends. In the past, that’d mean spending a ton of money and using my credit card more than I’d like to. As of last year, while I still take pride in my gift-giving skills, I’ve taken a more practical approach and ask myself a few questions before hitting the stores … What does my family need? What will they use and benefit from on a regular basis?

Working for a vitamins and supplements company has definitely changed the Christmas-gift game for my family and friends, as I have easy access to a lot of amazing products (turns out, including probiotics in homemade self-care kits goes over really well!). And while my loved ones definitely appreciate my new holistic style of giving, I also feel good giving them things that they will benefit from and enjoy.

I’m sure many of you are deep into holiday shopping already, but I’m hoping I can still inspire a few! Let’s dig into my favorite products that I use to help balance my emotions and tame my anxiety that I think would make great gifts for anyone struggling with similar symptoms.

Without further ado, these are a few of my favorite things

Brené Brown book(s): I was fortunate to hear Brené Brown speak and meet her at HubSpot’s 2017 INBOUND Marketing Conference – her speech changed my life. Then, I immediately purchased her book Rising Strong and that changed my life all over again. Rising Strong touches on what it takes to get back up after falling down – how owning our stories of disappointment, failure and heartbreak gives us the power to write a new ending. Brené writes that struggle can be our greatest call to courage, and rising strong our clearest path to deeper meaning, wisdom and hope.[1]

I have many, but one of my favorite quotes is:

“The opposite of recognizing that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead, they own us, they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending—to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends.”

I truly believe this book allowed me to see the bigger picture in life, and helped me to dwell less on my problems, and instead own them and move forward. I’ve heard Daring Greatly is amazing, too!

anxiety-busting supplements: What better way to treat your best friends, parents or siblings than with the gift of health? I hit hard on this in one of my first blog posts, but a holistic approach to anxiety disorders definitely makes a positive difference. Also, quality vitamins and supplements can be expensive! I highly recommend a good probiotic for digestion, an adaptogen such as ashwagandha, and a magnesium supplement to help support a good night’s sleep.

skincare for self-care: Daily stressors can add years to your skin through wrinkles, blemishes and dark circles. The stress hormone, cortisol, is known for breaking down collagen, which is bad news for your skin.[2] So, what better way to treat a stressful week than pampering yourself with green beauty products? Pouring a glass of wine while I let a face mask work its magic is one of my favorite evening rituals to relax (my go-to mask is only $19 and the jar lasts forever!).You know that friend who doesn’t make enough time for him or herself? Well, this makes for an affordable, great gift for that person in your life.

essential oils diffuser: While I touched on lavender specifically in a previous post, there are so many essential oils with a variety of health benefits, including stress relief. Scents like frankincense, clary sage and of course lavender = stress relief in the form of aromatherapy. I got my mom a pretty diffuser and an essential oils starter kit last year, and she uses it daily to help her relax! I highly recommend this gift for anyone in the fam. There are a ton of options on Amazon!

herbal tea gift set: Coffee is a trigger for me and for many who struggle with anxiety. Caffeine stimulates your “fight or flight” response, and studies show that this can make anxiety worse and can even trigger an anxiety attack.[3] So, encourage your anxiety-ridden gal pal to try replacing a cup of joe for some herbal tea! My personal favorite is this ginger and turmeric blend. Make it a gift set with a cute mug (because who doesn’t love a good mug?).

Considering anxiety is the most common mental health illness in the U.S., affecting over 18 percent of adults each year[4], I’m hoping at least one of these products will be a fitting gift for a friend or family member in your life! Also, don’t forget to treat yourself to something too. 🙂

Do you have anything to add to this gift guide? I’d love to check some new items out.

Happy holidays!



As many of you know, I work for a vitamins and supplement company, so I’m fortunate to have easy access to some of the products in this blog post. I did discover many of the mentioned items through simple research and/or family and friends. I hope you enjoy!





how setting boundaries strengthened my relationships

how setting boundaries strengthened my relationships

Boundaries: a foreign topic to me until the last couple of years. I received a lot of “me, too!” comments and messages from my recent Instagram post about setting boundaries … So, along with the important role boundaries play during the busy holiday season, I’ve decided to expand on the topic here.

Pretty sure I was born a people-pleaser. I am the QUEEN of over-promising and over-committing myself to plans and activities – and most of the time, it’s to make others happy, not myself.

Too many commitments squeezed into my already busy schedule always amounts to added stress. The built-up stress leads to anxiety. The anxiety leads to panic attacks. Oh, and if I cancel or just don’t show up to plans I’ve committed to? The guilt I feel is paralyzing. It’s a vicious cycle, and one that takes its toll on me both physically and mentally.

I stumbled upon a quote that sums up boundaries (or the lack thereof) in my life:

“If you avoid conflict to keep the peace, you start a war inside yourself.” – Cheryl Richardson

The war I create inside myself when I don’t set boundaries not only causes me anxiety, but it also keeps me from developing real, meaningful relationships with myself and with others.

So, what exactly are boundaries?

According to The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management, boundaries help us to define who we are.  They orient us in our relationships,and signify to us and to others where “I end and you begin”.[1]

To me, setting boundaries simply means knowing my limits a.k.a. learning to say “no” to others, to plans, to activities, to anything, in order to benefit myself and my ability to develop meaningful relationships with others.

Now, boundaries can be physical, emotional, spiritual, etc., but I’m specifically talking about setting boundaries with others when it comes to commitment.

While I’m still a newbie to this, here’s how I set boundaries:

  1. Assess the situation – Instead of automatically agreeing, asking … Does this fit in my schedule? Is this something I want to do/attend?
  2. Ask myself what is best for me – Will this stress me out? I need to be aware of and respect my personal limits.
  3. Make a decision.
  4. Communicate my decision with emphasis on WHY I made it to the other person/group – honesty is key here!
  5. Move forward guilt-free.

I just made it sound easy, but this process takes time and effort. For me, the most important step I need to practice and put effort into is No. 4: communication.

Before learning about the importance of boundaries, I used to come up with not-exactly-true reasons why I couldn’t be somewhere for someone. For example, I’d say, “I don’t feel well. I’m out for tonight.” While that was kind of true (considering the guilt from bailing usually made me sick to my stomach), it often wasn’t the real reason.

With the help of therapy, I’ve learned that openness and honesty are key. Instead of making something up, I now do my best to speak the truth and communicate that to my family and friends. So, instead of “feeling sick” I’ll say, “I’m committed to another event tonight, so I’m unable to make this one,” OR “I’m worn out from the work week and am going to take some time to relax. Let’s reschedule for another time!

I communicate this in a calm and respectful manner, of course. And more often than not, my family and friends understand (if they don’t, then that’s a reason to assess that specific relationship in my life).

The hardest part in all of this for me? Learning that taking care of myself is NOT selfish.

Taking care of myself first allows me to be more present in life, and that alone benefits my relationships. It opens the line of communication, allows me to be 100 percent honest and 100 percent myself … Not only have I learned more about myself in this process, others have, too.

I truly believe that boundaries are essential to real, meaningful relationships.

You must set boundaries in your closest relationships so that you can feel accepted, heard and loved … Part of feeling connected to someone is allowing him or her to truly see youand what you’re all about.[2]

Boundaries have helped me to understand what true self-care is, how to love myself, and how to respect the boundaries that others need, too.

Now, I am still a serious work in progress over here – setting boundaries takes effort and does not happen overnight! I’m making it a priority to practice boundaries daily and it has benefitted me SO much so far. It’s helped me to stay true to myself and to the people in my life.

Do you struggle with setting boundaries? How do you plan to implement boundaries into your life, especially during the busy holiday season?



Please note that I am not a mental health professional. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition.



the steps I take to overcome panic attacks in social settings

the steps I take to overcome panic attacks in social settings

Panic attacks: traumatizing.

Panic attacks in front of others: the bane of my existence.

I spent the better part my early 20s doing anything and everything to avoid having a panic attack – to avoid my fire-truck-red face, the obvious hives crawling up my chest and neck, the super-sweaty palms, and the shortness of breath. It is all-consuming. It is exhausting.

Therapy, a healthy lifestyle and a solid support system all help, but you can throw most of that out the window once panic sets in. To all my fellow panic-attack survivors, ya feel me?

When I felt a panic attack building up, I used to try doodling on the nearest piece of paper I could find, drinking water every few seconds, writing positive affirmations down, breathing techniques … Literally, I would try anything I could to distract myself from actually having a panic attack; specifically, I’d try to avoid having them in a social setting. I didn’t ever want to put myself or others in that uncomfortable situation.

Unfortunately, the tactics I used when trying to avoid an attack never really worked for me. Eventually, I realized that I just had to let them happen sometimes.

So, through some lengthy trial-and-error (this included carrying lavender essential oil with me … yes, really) and implementing tips from my therapist, I have learned how to get through and overcome the traumatizing event of a panic attack.

  1. Expressing myself: For me, this means literally getting one word out of my mouth. Talking gets me out of my head and into a conversation. The second I begin to express what I’m feeling is the second I start to pull myself out of the attack and come back to reality. Words save me.
  2. Owning it: I used to be embarrassed to own my issues, but that changed one day in college … I’ll never forget a guest speaker in one of my classes started off her presentation with, “Hi. I have extreme stomach issues and can get a bout of diarrhea at any given moment. If I run out of the lecture hall, I promise I’m OK and will be back shortly. Alright … now onto the lesson!” Yes, I’m 100 percent serious that this actually happened. We all giggled a little bit, but honestly, the rest of her presentation was SO. GOOD. I’m convinced that owning her irregular bodily functions helped her to relax and get through her lecture successfully. I took note from her, and now if I ever feel a panic attack coming on (or God forbid I have one) in front of others, I simply tell someone. “Hey, I’m feeling some anxiety coming on. Bear with me for a few minutes.” I’ve never (not once!) had anyone be anything but supportive once I’ve said those words. It always helps.
  3. Finding comfort: Pretty sure panic attacks are the most uncomfortable thing ever. You’re basically having an out-of-body experience that you’ll do anything to stop. I’m pretty sure that’s why anxiety-ridden people tend to stick to their comfort zones (or at least why I do) – to avoid those inevitably uncomfortable moments. When I’m nervous about an upcoming event or a certain situation, I bring some form of comfort with me. Usually, that’s having a bottle of water to sip on if I feel short of breath or bringing a notepad and pen just in case I need to keep my mind busy.
  4. Remind myself that I’ll be OK: Once you suffer a panic attack and learn what the heck it is, you at least know not to think the worst. Even during a panic attack, I remind myself that I will be OK. I just have to get through the next few moments and everything will be OK.

Living life with anxiety and panic disorder is always two steps forward, one step back. I usually label a panic attack as that “one step back,” knowing that I learn and grow from each of them. A setback does not erase all the progress I’ve made in my mental health journey.

While I haven’t discovered a way to ensure I’ll never have an attack again, I have learned how to deal with them and how to not allow them to feel bigger than me.

Do you suffer from anxiety and/or panic attacks? How do you work through them? I’d love to learn from you!



Please note that I am not a mental health professional. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition.

5 natural ways to ensure a good night’s sleep

If you read my last blog post, you know I’m a morning person … suggesting that I’m most likely not a night owl. Well, I’m here to confirm with all of you that I am not, in fact, a night owl – not even close. If I’m awake past 10:30-11 p.m., it’s either my best friend’s wedding or something is terribly wrong.

As much as I love the early morning, I love sleep even more. In my opinion, a good night’s sleep (along with a solid sweat and some chocolate) can cure almost anything, including an anxious mind.

I’ll never understand those who say, “you can sleep when you’re dead!” Like, NO. STOP. I need sleep; you need sleep; we ALL need sleep!

Really though, sleep is so important for our physical and mental health. Research shows that depriving your body of the sleep it needs is just as harmful as not exercising and can even be as harmful as drunk driving.[1]

While I’m a self-proclaimed “good sleeper” most of the time, I do struggle some nights. Having anxiety, there are evenings when I just can’t turn my mind off – my racing thoughts make it difficult to fall and sometimes stay asleep. I’ve tried many things on these sleepless nights, and have found a five holistic methods that help me to get at least 6 hours, if not 7-8!

  1. STOP THE EMAILS: These days, iPhones make it nearly impossible to simply stop working once the clock strikes 5 p.m. Being Type-A and all, it’s hard for me to ignore that little red number indicating unread messages on the email app. I used to answer emails until I fell asleep pretty much, but have recently set a boundary to not check my emails after 6:30PM on weeknights. If my boss needs me for anything urgent, he knows he can text or call.
  2. Wind (and wine) down: I’m a go-go-go kind of person, so it’s crucial for me to actually put effort into winding down. Sounds ironic, I know, but I have my ways! Reading, journaling, or yes, even a glass of wine (or two), all help me to unwind and to calm my mind. I recently discovered Dry Farm Wines, which are organic, gluten-free and sugar-free wines. If you enjoy wine, I highly recommend trying some out!IMG_0007.jpg
  3. Take magnesium: This is a relatively new discovery for me. I take magnesium about 30-45 minutes before bed and it helps tremendously. Studies show that maintaining healthy magnesium levels can lead to deeper, more sound sleep.[2] Also, magnesium deficiency has been associated with higher levels of stress and anxiety[3], so this is an amazing supplement to take for most of us. As you know, I work for a supplement company, so I take this one.
  4. Essential oils: Ah, I love essential oils. I use them to clean, to simply freshen up the house and to relax in the evenings. Lavender essential oil is known for its calming effect, making it a natural sleep aid.[4] I rub a lavender and clary sage oil on my chest at night, and also diffuse lavender by the bed – even my pup loves it!
  5. Guided meditation: I’m not the best meditator, but I recently discovered the app Insight Timer and its guided meditations are so good! This is my “if all else fails” trick, and it usually works.

Of course, not every night is the same. Some evenings, I pass out on the couch watching The Bachelor (don’t judge – it’s my guilty pleasure!) and don’t need to do any of these things. Some evenings, I need to take all of these steps in order to get a good snooze.

I cannot emphasize enough how important a good night’s sleep is to mental health. If I’m running on empty, my anxiety spikes significantly – so, I do my best to avoid sleepless nights.

And honestly, what’s better than snuggling into bed after a long day? (Oh, if anyone is wondering, my fiancé, 65-lb dog and I all share a queen-sized bed.)


Do you have trouble sleeping? If so, what steps do you take to make sure you get your rest?