Self-Care Rituals for When You Feel Anxious About Your Path

. 3 min read

Following a dream requires taking an initial leap of faith, but as dreams take time and energy to manifest, they also require something a little less sexy: continued faith.

This is challenging. While taking that first leap can be fun and exciting, staying on your path requires grit—not just because you need self-discipline to show up day after day, but because carving your own path tends to kick up a ton of shadows, many of which trigger feelings of insecurity and self-doubt (cue: stress and anxiety).

Yes, there are seasons, particularly later on, in which you feel confident and totally at peace. But there are also seasons in which you feel nervous and uncertain—perhaps as you are consciously stepping into the next level of yourself or as you are going through what feels like a “setback.”

Wellness practices have been talked about so much over the years that they’ve become almost cliché, something to nod your head at without really taking seriously. But here’s the thing, in those moments in which you feel like you’re standing on shaky ground, it’s vital that you have go-to self-care tools to ground into.

Favorite tools I’ve shared a lot about include meditation, journaling, and cold plunging. But the one I haven’t shared about quite so much is breathwork.

Like these other tools, breathwork not only works on a biological level to help the mind and body cope with stress, it also strengthens your trust muscle, which is incredibly helpful when it comes to staying on your unique path and committing to making your dreams happen.

When you get into a freezing body of water and notice your mind and body begin to get nervous—your heart rate may increase, your mind chatter may be next level—your first instinct is to get out. But when you can learn to quiet the internal noise and breathe deeply, you’ll find that you can actually handle the water and stay submerged far longer than you first expected.

This goes on to create a cascade of positive effects as you realize that you are far more resilient than you first gave yourself credit for. You can do difficult things! You are the master of your mind—and to some degree your body.

The same goes for breathwork. Whether you’re doing a quick breathwork pattern or a long hold that may stimulate nervousness at first, when you can push past the mind chatter and actually surrender to the breath—when you can melt into it, you find that you are far more capable of these various patterns of breathwork than you first thought.

…which, naturally, goes on to positively affect various other areas of your life, in the way cold plunging does.

And, as mentioned, there are plenty of effects that breathwork has on a physiological level. When we engage in breathwork that slows down our breathing, we shift our nervous system into the parasympathetic state, allowing our body to heal and recover. And when we engage in breathwork that increases the speed of our breath, we allow our body to reach a high, yet controlled, level of perceived stress, which helps to build resilience to everyday stressors.

So, when I notice I’m feeling anxious about my path, I like to take a moment to design a little ritual for myself that I’ll commit to for a week, or longer if needed. This isn’t about creating a rigid list of to-do’s, but rather it’s about tuning into yourself and considering what you could bring into your life to show yourself a little more self-love. That’s why I like to start with committing to a week. After that week, you can reassess and see how you may tweak your self-care ritual to suit your needs better, whether that means bringing in more tools or taking some out and simplifying things.

Here’s an example of a ritual I may create in moments of stress/anxiety about the future.

Oftentimes I’ll stretch as I listen to Superhuman, making this even quicker. (Try Superhuman for 6 weeks free with code MACKENZIE at checkout.)

If you’re going through a period of doubt or fear, consider what tools you could roll up into a beautiful, sumptuous ritual that may help you feel better, and on your way back to your best, inspired self, remembering that this is why you’re going through this: in order to learn this lesson of how to care for yourself in challenging times. The person you become as you move through this season is the version of you that you need to be in order to make your dreams happen.

I’d love to hear about your ritual! Connect with me on Insta @mackbelcastro.

Try a free breathwork session:

Breathwork for Reducing Anxiety and Instilling Inner Peace
This beautiful breathwork session is set against soothing jazz music and utilizes calming techniques like humming, slow breath patterns, and gentle stretching. If you're looking to come back to yourself and induce a sense of deep inner peace after a long day, this is for you.