Today might not have been an easy day — but you got through it nonetheless. In the evening before bedtime, though, you begin to feel anxiety creeping in. The next thing you know, you’ve gone from having an okay day to a terrible evening, thanks to a panic attack.
Why does this happen? And why does your anxiety flares at night?
There are a few reasons why this occurs. Yet, just because you have anxiety at night doesn’t mean you’re powerless to do anything about it.
Here are three coping strategies that you can use when anxiety flares at night.
Why Your Anxiety Flares at Night
One possible reason why your anxiety flares at night is because you are not getting enough sleep. Maybe you stay up too late watching TV, scrolling through social media on your phone, playing video games, etc.
Naturally, this approach to rest is a problem because your brain needs sleep to process what’s occurred during the day. Also, sleep is a time for your body to recharge itself.
Another possible reason why you have anxiety at nighttime is that you compartmentalized during the day. Things happened to you that you merely pushed aside. Unfortunately, when you wind down in the evening, those experiences come back in the form of anxiety. To cope with this problem, consider these strategies.
1. Use a Reminder to Keep Yourself Grounded
When you are in the middle of a panic attack or anxious moment, you likely feel disconnected and powerless. It’s like when someone is in a pool but suddenly has forgotten how to swim — they only flail in the water.
During these moments, it helps to have a reminder of something to keep you grounded, such as:
- An object reminding you of your strength, power, and capabilities. This reminder could be a photo, an award, a letter, etc.
- A saying that genuinely connects with you and reassures you.
Consider keeping several reminders around the house in the evening. If your anxiety starts to surface, you don’t have to search for the reminder frantically.
2. Exercise Regularly
We know that exercise has many powerful qualities when it comes to mental health. When you exercise, your body releases a chemical effect of dopamine and adrenaline. These help you to feel better.
If you work out during the day, you feel more tired and ready for bed in the evening. That’s a good thing because it motivates you to want to go to bed and fall asleep.
Think about your daily schedule and how you can incorporate exercise into your routine. Remember, if you’re not a gym-goer, there are plenty of ways to move your body while outside. Running or biking are good options. You can also do a workout outdoors in your yard or at a park.
3. Use the Evening to Relax and Practice Self-Care
Take advantage of the evening hours as time to relax and practice some much-needed self-care, such as:
- Read for pleasure
- Keep a daily journal
- Do some light stretching
- Turn off your TV and other devices
- Drink a warm cup of tea (decaffeinated!)
- Listen to soothing music
- Take a bath
- Meditate and practice deep breathing techniques
The evening is also a chance to spend quality time with other people. That could be connecting with your partner and family. Or, you participate in a video call with your friends. Healthy relationships are critical for mental health, including anxiety.
When anxiety flares at night, it can be a scary experience. But you can cope by following the tips above and try to practice them consistently. It also helps to talk to a therapist about your anxiety too. Contact me today or visit my Anxiety Counseling page to learn more about how I can help you address these issues.