Quiet Your Anxiety

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

If you're anything like me, having someone to tell you to "just go for a walk" when you're having an anxious/depressive episode is far from helpful. Although I can vouch for the fact getting some fresh air does help in some respects, it's not always the way out for many. 

I've put together a little list of things I personally turn to if i'm feeling anxious, and general tips that may help you to not feel so alone. Any of us mental health sufferers will know anxiety cannot be demolished, but it can be quietened. I did a post similar to this back when I first started my blog, but I wanted to expand on these ideas and be more specific to the things that help me. Some of these ideas may be not be feasible for you personally, and some just may not work, but hopefully there will be something you can relate to or attempt to use to better your state of mind.

Get a pet. This is the first of the 'may not be feasible', but I find having cats is a huge help in my anxiety battle. Having a dependent gives me the motivation to have to get out of bed. I have to feed my cats, I have to change their litter, and I want to cuddle them. A lot of people think cats are independent and spiteful but this is far from the case. Depending on how your cats are raised, they can become very dependent (almost too dependent, cough George cough) and extremely loving and affectionate. If a cat or a dog is out of your range, something as small as a hamster will help you - having daily interaction and "chores" to help them get by, really can help you get by.

Make plans. This is pretty vague but having things to look forward to is hugely beneficial in helping your mind. Whether these plans are as small as lunch with your mum or as extravagant as a holiday with your best friends, just make plans. No matter how big or small, do things you want to do, and document these all in a diary. Or even just create a list of all your plans in your phone. I personally have a 'Live Music & Events' note on my phone where I have listed every single gig I have been to in the last 3 years, and I plan to keep this up for the foreseeable future. 

Start a blog. This is one of my biggest and best tips because it's something pretty much anyone can do. You have access to the internet if you are reading this post, and getting set up on a platform like Blogger or Wordpress is super quick. Although themes and customization may seem scary and a lot of effort, this is another step in occupying your mind! Think of your blog as a project, and work at it until you're ready to launch it. Websites like Pipdig and Etsy are great for finding blog themes, and you can make the content whatever you want. The possibilities are endless - lifestyle, beauty, music, food, television, fashion, literature, conspiracies, fitness, mental health. There is 100% a platform for everyone and you shouldn't be afraid to let your voice be heard.

Stay connected. Tell your friends how you feel, don't wait for them to guess how you're feeling. This is ironic coming from me because I can be the absolute worst for this - one of my fears within anxiety is feeling like a burden and approaching someone to tell them how I feel is the last of my priorities, but it really does help. If your friends care, they will want to make sure you're okay. They will want to help, whether that's by talking things through or telling you a funny story to take your mind off things; people do care. Acting vacant may push people away that you don't want to, so be upfront and just say hey, i'm feeling pretty anxious right now. Remember that you wouldn't like to be left in the dark, so don't feel like you can't let them know what's going on. If you struggle with talking about your feelings then just talk to them in general, don't cut yourself off. 

Avoid caffeine. I used to drink 3 cups of coffee a day without fail, but when it started playing havoc with my IBS I decided to switch to decaf. As mentioned in my Smoker to Vaper post, being a creature of habit means my addictions tend to be linked to routine rather than the physical product. Switching to decaf (i'd recommend the Kenco or Nescafe one) enabled me to still have my coffee, but without the heightened emotions that caffeine can induce. Drinking excessive amounts of coffee can mess with your blood sugar levels which will affect your body and mind in various ways, so removing caffeine from your diet may also help you sleep better, and even clear up your skin!

Eat & drink. Although I recommend staying clear of coffee, make sure you are eating and drinking in general. If your mental health episodes cause you to cry a lot like me, all them tears will make you dehydrated so make sure you're drinking plenty of water. Make your favourite food and put on your favourite film. The cheesier the better - I can't even count the amount of times i've turned to Camp Rock and Bridget Jones. Friends is also a great option as the episodes are short and sweet so you don't have to commit to much (apart from a whole season in a day, if you're me) if that's something you struggle with.

Write. Write letters, write journal entries, write poems, write messages, write lists. Just write. Even if the words you're putting down don't make sense, just let everything out. Books like Wreck This Journal are great for those of us that strive to be creative, but need a little guidance. Whatever you write doesn't have to be public or for anyone, but do it for yourself. Write stupid stories about your childhood, or in-depth paragraphs about your goals and dreams. This pretty much comes hand in hand with the 'start a blog' tip, but if you articulate your emotions into words, you'll instantly feel a weight off your shoulders. Let it all out.

Do you have any specific things that help you through anxiety on a day-to-day basis? I would love to hear your ideas and stories in the comments! Please also remember i'm continuously running my Mental Health Awareness project - if you'd like to guest post and get involved then please do get in touch.

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