Columbia has some unique options to help with anxiety struggles. Try these local resources and businesses near you to calm severe anxiety symptoms if you're in Mid-Missouri.
by Jennie Lanette, MSW, LCSW
Are you dealing with anxiety or panic attacks, constant worrying, PTSD, or other types of severe anxiety? You’re not alone. Millions of people worldwide and thousands of people in Columbia, Mo., and surrounding areas suffer from anxiety. This can be particularly difficult for students. Fortunately, there are some fun, different, and easy ways to soothe anxiety when in CoMo and surrounding areas. If your anxiety is more serious, there are options for that too.
1. Try an Indoor Float
Imagine feeling totally weightless, with no distractions or stressors in your way. That’s the goal of floating, and we have a great float option in Columbia, Mo., at Clarity Float Spa. Some studies show that floating helps with anxiety, depression and related symptoms.
Location: Near downtown: 309 S. Providence Rd. Columbia, MO., 65203 Call/Text: 573/825-8788 Cost: Around $50 to $75
2. Check out Shelter Gardens If you’ve never heard of or never made it to Shelter Gardens, you’re in for a treat. Depending on the season, you’ll enter an oasis of colors, pleasant smells and even wildlife. The squirrels and fish are friendly. You can visit their website, or just stop by. It’s open year round from 8 a.m. till dusk (except Christmas Day).
Location: 1817 West Broadway Columbia, Mo., 65203 (don’t be turned off by the surrounding construction at this time - just carefully make your way inside)
Cost: Free, Courtesy of Shelter Insurance 3. Walk the Boone Hospital Labyrinth
This is one of my favorites, and at the risk of ruining my secret, I’m usually the only one there! If you’re not familiar with labyrinth’s they’re sort of like a maze, but there’s only one way in and out. Some walk labyrinths as a spiritual or metaphorical experience -- as your walk further towards the center you are going deeper within yourself. Whatever your interest in mindfulness, relaxation, meditation, or spirituality, you can certainly practice it in the sacred spot.
Location: Corner of Cost: Free, Courtesy of Boone Hospital
4. Make Some Art There are some unique places to go and create art, where you don’t even have to clean up the mess in your kitchen! You can try Access Arts, Mud Room Studios, Columbia Art League, or Wildy’s World. Visit their websites to learn more.
Location/Cost: Vary by location and activity or class chosen
5. Try a Massage
There are several local massage services that focus on relaxation and/or holistic health. While there are too many to mention here, you might start downtown or just search for massage and look for local locations or chains.
Location: Varies Cost: Varies, but around $50 and up
6. Visit the Cat Cafe
I haven’t made it there yet, but the most common word I hear to describe Papa’s Cat Cafe is “wonderful.” You can go and have coffee and snuggle with some lovable cats. The website recommends reserving a spot. They even have game night, cat yoga and a book club, for heaven’s sake!
Location: Near downtown close to Walgreens, 14 S. 2nd Street, Columbia, Mo., 65203. Cost: $5 to $10/varies
7. Try Mindfulness (Tai Chi, ShowMe Dharma, Heart, Body & Soul, Yoga)
Mindfulness is a practice shown to decrease anxiety and help with this and related mental health struggles. There are many forms of this in Columbia. You can try Tai Chi at Heart, Body, & Soul, meditation at Showme Dharma (they have a beginner’s night) or try yoga - I hear good things about pretty much all of the yoga studios in town!
Location: Varies, throughout Columbia Cost: Varies
8. Moove and Groove
For some, moving the body more actively is helpful. There are a few options in town, including several classes held at the Heart, Body & Soul Studio, Tai Chi mentioned above, or numerous dance classes. I am also a leader-in-training for a program called Interplay, that’s a heart/mind/body movement and improv program that’s wonderful for fun and easy expression. Contact me if you’re interested, or I’ll come back here and add information as we get things going.
Location: Varies Cost: Varies
9. Revisit Uprise Bakery and RagTag Cinema
I might be a big biased because it’s right across from my office, but if you haven’t visited Uprise or Ragtag since your college days, it’s time to go back. Distract yourself with a nice meal, coffee, or a quiet, dark movie theater. This does wonders for me on a stressful day.
Location: 10 Hitt St. Columbia, Mo., 65201 Cost: Varies
10. Go to a Cheap or Free Movie
If you want more movies after Ragtag, there are some cheap and free options in town. For many, movies can be cathartic or a good distraction. Goodrich Quality Theaters offer free morning movies in the spring, and Mizzou Life offers $1 movies.
Location: Varies Cost: Free or $1
11. Consider Counseling
If you are dealing with more extreme anxiety, additional symptoms (like panic attacks, flashbacks or overwhelming fear that interferes with your social life, school, or work) then therapy might also be appropriate for you. I would still encourage you to do the fun things above! However, I fully realize that anxiety can also prevent some from being able to enjoy even these relaxing activities. There are a few programs in town that focus on anxiety relief. At The Counseling Palette, I work primarily with severe anxiety, phobias, panic, trauma and post-traumatic stress (PTDS) for those in Columbia, Mo., and the surrounding areas. I am available to work with those affiliated with Mizzou and other colleges in town. In counseling we often start with relaxation skills (mindfulness, grounding, breathing techniques) to offer you some immediate relief, and then we get into the deeper issues and heal whatever is causing the anxiety, depending on your goals and needs. If you’d like to try a free consultation, or just talk or text, contact me anytime at 573/291-7315, or visit the website www.thecounselingpalette.com
Location: 1005 Cherry Street, Columbia, Mo., 65201 Cost: Varies
If you try any of these activities I’d love to hear form you! Call, text, e-mail, or find us on Facebook or Instagram @the_couseling_palette