Free Mind

My anxiety has been especially challenging over the past month. In this post, I’m going to share the various coping and calming strategies I’ve been using to free my mind from the symptoms of anxiety. I resonate deeply with the song, “Free Mind” by Tems, so I’ll include some relevant lyrics throughout the post as well.


My favorite form of self-care for my mental health is exercise. I get some form of movement daily, as I walk my dog on a 1.6-mile loop each evening before bedtime.

In addition, I work out at the gym 5–6 days a week. I typically start with 15–20 minutes of cardio, followed by some HIIT, then resistance training. These workouts average 60–90 minutes and they result in a significant boost to my confidence, energy, and self-talk.


As a therapist, I understand that mental health medication isn’t something that everyone is comfortable with. Since being diagnosed with panic disorder in 2013, I’ve gone periods without meds; however, I’m happiest with the added assistance.

While talking to your primary care physician is a great way to get started on medication quickly, I recommend also speaking with a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. These professionals have special training in mental health treatment that most general practitioners don’t have.

I started seeing a psych nurse practitioner last year and have found a balance of medications that work well for me.

“I’ve been wandering all day
I try to be fine but I can’t be
The noise in my mind wouldn’t leave me
I try to get by but I’m burning.”


Journaling is a tool I’ve recommended a lot to my therapy clients over the years; however, I haven’t used it as much personally.

When I got to a maintenance phase with therapy (more on that later) last fall, I started journaling more consistently as a way to process various thoughts and stressors.

I don’t use this skill as much as the others I’ve mentioned; however, I write a lot of essays and articles on the internet, so those creative outlets get a lot of the content that would otherwise be put in my journal.

Creative Outlets

As I just mentioned, I’m active on the internet. I write personal essays on Medium, blog about mental health, and host a podcast on mental health. I batch all of this content into my weekly newsletter called “A Sunday Breakdown,” which is a play on words.


I’ve been in therapy pretty consistently since my diagnosis in 2013. As a therapist, I’m a huge advocate of therapy and even encourage potential clients to “never trust a therapist who doesn’t have a therapist.”

When my anxiety spiked in the past month, I reached out to my therapist of four years to do some EMDR. Unfortunately, I was mistreated by my therapist, which resulted in me terminating that therapeutic relationship. You can read more about that ordeal here if you’d like.

While I’m not ready to begin the search for a new therapist right away, I still highly recommend counseling as a self-care tool.

“And behind my mind it runs
All these thoughts have troubled me
Fighting to give up my pain
Fighting to be on my lane
My mind running to the other side
When it’s time to live my life
Then it tries to take me out
Tell you what I need right here.”

Digital Minimalism

I was traumatized when I stumbled upon the video of the recent killing of yet another Black man by police. I took a week off Instagram that following week and upon returning, I set the screen time for IG on my iPhone to just 30 minutes a day.

I also got a separate phone for my work calls. Previously, I had a personal phone number and a business number on the same iPhone; however, with the uptick in calls from potential clients looking to book with me, I became overwhelmed with the lack of boundaries. Thankfully, the guy at the Verizon store was able to get me a free iPhone and the service is only an extra $10 a month. That’s money well spent for peace of mind!

“I really need, I really need timе now
I really need, I need a free mind now
I really need, I really need minе now
I really need, I need to free my mind now.”

Massage Therapy

If exercise is my favorite form of self-care, massage therapy is a close second. As a holistic remedy to anxiety and muscle tension, I have budgeted to have weekly deep tissue massages for the past year and a half.

I stopped going a few weeks ago in an effort to funnel that money into my upcoming trip to Ghana. It wasn’t until I met with my psych nurse practitioner earlier this week that I realized my uptick in anxiety and panic attacks seems to correlate with the week I discontinued my massage appointments.

Upon that realization, I resumed my weekly routine, bank account be damned!


I hope reading about my self-care routine has given you some ideas to try out. I’ll conclude with the music video of “Free Mind” by Tems.

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