5 self-care tips to combat anxiety

Hi friends,

I hope that you are well. And I hope that your year is starting well. Can you believe that the first month of the year is practically over? This year is moving quickly. I’m coming to you today to address something that many of us have experienced at one point or another. It creeps up out of nowhere and rears its ugly head, oftentimes leaving us in tears, feeling frazzled and scared. This monster is called anxiety.

In the last year of my life, I have had to battle anxiety linked to stress. As someone who can only remember one anxiety attack in the first 25+ years of life, this was something that confused me. However, I was fortunate to quickly find some self-care tips that have helped me tremendously. Scroll down to learn more.

Write scriptures & affirmations

I was home one weekend back in December on the phone with my fiancé and I felt my anxiety try to pull a surprise attack. I let him know what was happening and decided to get off the phone. I felt tears coming and did not fight them, while quickly pulling out my journal and Bible. I began to write down every scripture I could find about peace and mental health. Although my journal was soaked with tears, I quickly realized that which every scripture I wrote, I felt the weight lifting. In total, I jotted down around seven scriptures before I felt calm. In that moment, the power of God’s word was more real to me than ever. I went on with my day, which meant going to church where I was able to worship God. This worship was a soothing balm to my weary mind just when I needed it. There are several websites that make compilations of these scriptures if you find yourself wanting to read or write them as well.

Pray out loud

Another great strategy I have is praying audibly. This has been especially helpful for me when I have been feeling anxious while driving in the car. Heavy traffic and long commutes are so bad for me. I learned this in the car one day after work, while driving to go handle something for my wedding that had to be done by 6 pm. I was driving for over an hour when I finally began to cry. I had a lot on my mind and I finally started to feel it. I turned off the radio and began praying to God for relief of these feelings. I reminded God what His word said about keeping me in perfect peace. I thanked Him for his ability to do this and for the sound mind He had given me and I thanked Him for being my safe place. The longer I prayed, the less anxiety I felt. After a few minutes, I was back to normal.

Take an hour long, uninterrupted bath

As someone who has always found joy in doing something productive, the last few years have been about learning to relax. My roommate still tells me that I don’t know how to rest. Even when I don’t feel well, I find myself reading, watching something educational, etc. However, I have learned that relaxing helps to keep my anxiety at bay. One of my favorite ways to relax is to simply take a hot bath for an hour. This means phone off, light music, essential oils and dim light. There’s nothing significant about the amount of time, except the fact that it is my time and no one else’s. This bath always leaves me feeling refreshed physically, mentally and emotionally.

Set strict “no work” hours

I am a recovering workaholic. I have been in my job at ungodly hours consumed in work. And for someone like me, this is easy because I love to work. However, I’ve learned that too much work creates real issues. I have always subscribed to the idea of the Sabbath, because God rested for 24 hours on day 7 while creating the Earth. If it’s good enough for Him, it is good enough for me. But I’ve realized that just resting during Sabbath hours is just the minimum. In order to keep my anxiety low, I need to leave work at a decent hour daily, go home and do something for me. This could be sitting down and eating a healthy dinner, exercising, watching a show I like, reading a chapter in a book, reading my Bible, listening to a podcast or talking on the phone. It doesn’t matter what I do. What matters is that I do not give my entire day to someone else’s dream. I matter more.

Talk to someone you trust

Everyone should have a safe place to take their thoughts and feelings. Humans are likened to a steaming pot that has a lid on it. If the lid is not lifted, it will explode from the pressure. When I felt myself under pressure, I was blessed to have people who encouraged me to get help. With the encouragement of my fiancé, my sister and a counselor friend of mine (Love you, Courtney!), I saw a therapist for the first time in October. My therapist has been the single best investment I have made into myself in a very long time. She has taught me to give myself credit for things, to look at situations differently and that my feelings about certain situations are valid. She has also helped me to not cripple those around me by pouring all of my feelings into them. My family and friends love me deeply, but they are not trained to handle any of the problems I was having. It would have likely hurt them to help me. Many of us walk around with wounds that we don’t even know we have until they are discovered by someone who has been trained to help heal us. Forget about what other people may think and do what will help you live an abundant life. If you have ever considered talking to a therapist, I would highly recommend doing it.

If anxiety has found its way into your life, it doesn’t have to stay there. Give these tips a try and let me know in the Comments if they are of any value to you.

Until next time,

Brittany

becoming one: our love story

He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Matthew 19:4-6 ESV

 

As I think about the Bible, unity is one of my favorite reoccurring themes. Before departing this Earth, Jesus himself prayed that his people would be one. He was one not only with His father, God, but the Holy Spirit as well. The desire to be one is not something that Jesus alone possesses, but it is a desire that we have been given, too. 

For the last two years, I have had the pleasure of being in relationship with one that my soul loves. His name is Anthony. Although an odd circumstance, I made his acquaintance several years ago while engaging in a disagreement online. The disagreement was very short lived and soon after, he apologized and introduced himself. Toward the end of 2012, we developed a budding friendship. Since we already had many mutual friends, becoming friends was easy. We were both easy going college students who loved God, music, trying new things, Southern life and helping people. Our conversations centered around writing, musical instruments, life experiences, sports and our passions. Talking to each other was always easy and I always felt safe when in his “company.” Something that I immediately noticed was how he kept in contact with me. If I became busy or wrapped up in my work, he would still reach out to me at least once every two weeks just to make sure I was okay. I didn’t take it that these were indicators that he was at all interested in me, but more so displays of genuine Christian friendship. It was nice to get to know someone with no pressure to be in a relationship. He became a confidant and trusted friend.

After I graduated in May 2013 and moved back home for the summer, our conversations continued and we began to learn more about each other. It was then that our mutual friends started to notice our interactions with each other and make mention of them. I was confident that we were purely friends so I ignored their comments. I was certain that there was nothing but friendship between us, so things continued. During the summer, we were actually able to meet in person and interact at a function in North Carolina. Shortly after that summer, I moved to Pennsylvania for work and to be a bit closer to family. Our friendship continued to grow throughout the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014. 

summer 2013

But in the spring of 2014, there was a shift in our friendship. It started when I took a job as a long-term substitute teacher in West Philadelphia that gave me an hour-long commute very early in the morning. Not only was the commute long, but the job was tough. It was demanding in many ways and it took a lot out of me. It was then that Anthony offered to help in any way he could, and we started talking each morning during my early morning commute. I was impressed that he would want to wake up and talk to me at 6:30 am, but again, I thought he was being a good friend. It was in the midst of that job that the Lord started to open my eyes to the possibility that this incredible  man could have feelings for me and vice versa. I prayed, I shared with trusted friends and I continued to observe him. My feelings were confirmed when I realized that he was the only man I wanted to get to know. On May 5th, 2014, we became a couple and have never looked back. He later told me that he had feelings for me well before we began dating. 🙂 Our two long distance years together have been nothing short of amazing. We have learned about patience, grace, forgiveness, generosity, kindness and faith through our relationship. God has used everything we have experienced together to help us become closer to Him and to become better people.

summer 2015, vacation with Anthony’s family


Just a few weeks ago, there was another shift in our relationship. On April 23rd of this year, Anthony gathered some of our closest friends from all over in the most beautiful park in my city and surprised me with a thoughtful proposal where he shared the reasons that he loves me. He got down on one knee, presented me with a lovely ring and asked me to become his wife. With tears, I said “yes.” It is a day that I’ll never forget. I have never felt more special and loved. To know that he worked so hard to put the day together for me was absolutely incredible.

our engagement day, spring 2016


There are so many reasons that I love Anthony. He has a deep love for God and others, integrity, passion, kindness, wisdom, work ethic and he is truly my best friend. He is everything that I asked God for in a husband. I don’t have to ask for his support because he volunteers it. I don’t have to ask for his prayers because he prays for me daily. I don’t have to ask him to honor me because he does it without thinking. I don’t have to wonder if he loves God because his life reflects that he does. Also, he loves my ugly parts and he has shown me that he is here for not only my good days, but my bad ones as well. There are so many things that make him who he is that other people won’t understand, but I thank God that He has given me the ability to understand him and he the ability to understand me. Although I know that we will grow and change as we become older, my prayer for our marriage is that we truly become one, not just with each other, but that we would become one with Christ. Just a few weeks into our engagement, we have already seen how important it will be to cleave to each other as we cleave to Christ. Many things will try to attack, but the God who brought us into each other’s lives will be the same God who holds us together. Our prayer for our marriage is that God would allow others to see the love He has for His church, the beauty in doing things His way through our relationship and that love TRULY wins. 

our engagement day, spring 2016


If you have followed my blog for a while, you see that I am experiencing incredible love and joy, but you also know that I have experienced incredible pain. If you don’t think I’m telling the truth, scroll through the archives and check out some of my posts around 2012-2013 like this one or this one. My life is not perfect and I have certainly not been perfect. But God has redeemed my painful situations and so many of my life’s deserts have become rivers of joy. He has changed situations while changing me and helping me become a better woman. My prayer for everyone who hopes to experiences life oneness with someone, is to not allow your past to make you worse. Don’t become jaded and hopeless; find joy in Jesus. Now that I am engaged, I can truly say that it is amazing, but so was being in a relationship and so was singleness. Every season is what you make it. Paul truly hits this on the head when he says, “…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” In every situation and season, you can be joyful if you allow Jesus to be the center of your world. I encourage you to seek joy, contend for faith and fight for contentment. They are yours for the taking. 🙂

Thanks for reading, 

Brittany 

my response to “We All Have Sexual Baggage”

Yesterday, Relevant Magazine contributor Natalie Floyd shared an article called “We All Have Sexual Baggage.” The article addresses an idea that many young Christians have grown up being taught: that having pre-marital sex leaves you as a permanently damaged commodity less worthy and capable of a happy marriage. Although I do agree that pre-marital sex is detrimental to our relationship with Christ and our livelihood, I don’t believe that that abstaining or engaging will either leave us as either perfectly pure and whole OR destroyed and desolate. Sex is bad for us if done at the wrong time, but so are so many other things. Many sins that we commit are as simple as doing the right thing at the wrong time.

In the article, Floyd said many great things, but one in particular that I believe is so important. She states, “The truth is, we’ve all got something in our hearts that probably needs to be addressed. We all have an issue, a hang up or an expectation that could stifle our personal growth or prevent us from entering into a relationship like marriage as a healthy and whole person.” I love this quote because she is correct. She goes on to share that there are many physical virgins who haven’t had intercourse but who have other sexual issues that can be real problems in marriage. Some people may not have as many sexual issues but possess many other issues that can prevent us from enjoying and growing in marriage the way that God desires. I believe that there must be more attention on these issues so that future heartache is avoided. After all, I’m sure that Christian marriages fall apart over more than sexual baggage. There are personality conflicts, money issues, a lack of respect or love shown, infidelity and so many more issues that should be addressed on the heart level. 

More than anything, I am thankful that Floyd’s article shared the fact that there is grace for times when we fall. There are so many people who live in the prison of their own guilt. They hold on to their sins, refusing to hand them over to a sovereign who paid the price for them over 2000 years ago. Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  The world and long-time Christians alike need to understand that there is love, grace, forgiveness and hope for those who feel burdened down by their own life’s baggage. Jesus is the one who lightens our load, removes our burdens and sets us on the path to “go and sin no more.” So if you find yourself in that place, please remember that you are never too broken or too damaged simply because God restores. He is well qualified in redemption, restoration and doing a new thing. 🙂 

If you get a moment, please check out Floyd’s article and share your thoughts on it in the Comments section below.

life after God takes away

I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. – Isaiah 41:18 KJV

Two years and one week ago, I wrote a blog post called, “When God Takes Away.” When I wrote this, I was coming out of a dark season in my life following a difficult breakup. When referring to the breakup in previous blog posts, I shared that I was deeply hurt, but I never conveyed how hurt. Continue reading “life after God takes away”

faithful is He: Jeida’s story

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! -Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4‬:‭9-10‬ ESV

Friendship is one of God’s greatest gifts. In a dog-eat-dog world, it is a blessing to have people who genuinely love you. I believe, however, that friendship has many levels. My friendship with Jeida is on a special level though: Jeida is my Person.

Continue reading “faithful is He: Jeida’s story”