Beating Midday Panic and Anxiety

Do’s and Don’ts to Get Through the Afternoon Slump

Tips to staying panic-free throughout your afternoon.. Fotosearch/Getty Images

Right around midday is when many of us start to feel a little tired and depleted. For people with anxiety disorders, this time of day may bring about feelings of nervousness. You may be worried that you haven’t completed all that you have hope for or stressed about all you have to do during the evening ahead. Panic disorder sufferers may notice a jolt in anxiety, mood changes, or even feel more susceptible to panic attacks around this time of day.

Do Take a Break

Many times, just taking a break for a few minutes can be all that you need to regain focus, energy, and calm. Your breaks don’t need to be long, but just give yourself enough time to regroup and move forward with the remainder of your afternoon. If you work at a desk all day, get up, walk around, or do a few stretches. If you are at home with your kids, try to get them settled in for a short while with toys or cartoons so that you may take a few deep breaths.

Don’t Stay Stuck

A quick break may not be possible for you and perhaps isn’t likely to happen on a daily basis. Another way you can relieve midday anxiety is get unstuck and change your routine up. Perhaps you keep your more mundane tasks for the morning, while you work on your more active to do in the afternoon.

You can always take a mental break without completely disrupting your work or your day. For instance, try a breathing exercise in which you focus on taking deep, smooth breaths.

When panic and anxiety strike, it is not unusual to get a sense of shortness of breath or even hyperventilate. To prevent this, try breathing in slowly, filling your lungs with breath, holding your breath for just a moment, then exhaling all the stale air out. Repeat this breathing sequence a few times and notice how the stress melts away.

Breathing this way has the added bonus of boosting your energy and the nice part is that you can do this breathing exercise without anyone around you even noticing.

Do Express Your Gratitude

Many of us can become a little irritability in the afternoon, which can contribute to panic-related symptoms. One of the easiest ways to get out of your grouchiness is to shift your thinking. You may feel stress over your job, family, or other aspects of your life, however, you may find that there is still plenty to be grateful about. When feeling stressed during your day, try to refocus on what you are grateful for.

Maybe it’s your family, a pet, your health, or even just that you woke up today and are breathing. You may even want to try to make it a habit to write these things down each day in a gratitude journal. By changing your perspective, you may be surprised by how much you are able to let go of stress and anxiety.

Don’t Reach for Caffeine

Many people try to cure the afternoon slump with some caffeine, but this can actually have adverse effects on panic disorder sufferers.

Instead of reaching for caffeine, try sipping on something more refreshing like water or relaxing like herbal (caffeine free) tea. These types of beverages will help you stay hydrated, which can have a positive impact on your mood and energy levels.

Do Have Fun

A little laughter can go a long way. Try socializing and making a few jokes with those around you. Sharing some fun and laughter with your co-workers and kids can break up the midday monotony. If you’re alone, try bring some fun into your life by not taking everything so seriously. By finding even a small amount of humor in your day, you may find that you feel uplifted and energized to get through the rest of your afternoon. 

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