About a year ago, I wrote a piece about turning down the volume on social media to help reduce anger and anxiety. As an updated companion, here are some other strategies I’ve found effective to help (at least try to) hold anxiety of any form at bay. Note that this doesn’t cover equally valid additional solutions like therapy, medication and prayer.
iOS Screen Time: Setting certain apps to “go dark” in the evenings (or on weekends) works well. You’re still able to access them in a pinch, but the simple act of throwing up an extra hurdle works surprisingly well.
Email Snoozing: Using a client like Spark (or even Outlook on iOS) to shuttle emails out of your face until you’re ready to deal with them gives you back an important element of control. I couldn’t function at work with snoozing.
ASMR: This stuff is so weird, but it really, really works for me (in my case, it’s audio vs. video). Putting a track on during a big anxiety spike will calm me down within minutes. I’ve always told my wife that I find it incredibly soothing to watch an expert bring real, focused attention to their work, and now I understand why.
Kindle (E Ink): Long-form reading without any distractions is fantastic, and I’m not going to carry a bulky printed book around like an animal.
Unfollowing: I tend to rage-deactivate Facebook (and have considered the same with Instagram as well) fairly often, but my current strategy is to just accept that a large segment of people are (be it due to pride or disinterest) unwilling to seek out information outside of their cultural/political/religious bubbles, and aren’t going to change until everything comes to a head. Until that point, I unfollow (while still remaining friends) like it’s going out of style. As an added bonus, this helps me avoid the endless sea of MLM pitches.
Documentaries: I find comfort in perspective. Whether it’s historical pieces that spotlight other bleak times in our past that we’ve made it through, or dark true crime stories that make you appreciate everything we take for granted, good stories are a powerful tonic.