Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Becoming Your Own Hero | Part 7: Little Anxiety Fighters


I've kept it no secret on my blog that I have quite a negative mind-set, but I've never really discussed how this affects me in my every day life.  The main way this affects me is that I feel very anxious a lot of the time. 

When I moved out last summer I slowly improved but coming away from home after Christmas has brought a new wave of homesickness, and along with it a tidal wave of anxious feelings. 

I've been letting my anxious feelings control my brain completely to the point where at the weekend I didn't leave my bed from Friday evening to Monday morning except to go to the bathroom.   The only reason I got out of bed on Monday morning was to shower (just in case you weren't aware, lying in bed for two days makes you smell disgusting - apologies to my roommate!) and because I had work.

The realisation of me wasting two entire days in my bed has kind of hit me and I thought it would be helpful if I shared a list of the little things that could help me to combat this, as I know I'm not the only person who struggles with overwhelming anxiety sometimes.


1.  Talk to someone.
This is the main thing. Talk to someone about anything, it doesn't have to be about your anxiety (although this will help greatly, even though I'm not at this stage yet, I know it will help when I do talk to someone about my anxiety). 

I felt a lot better after talking on the phone to my mum, dad, and sister.  Albeit it made me miss them a lot more but it reminded me that I have the three of them there to support me no matter what.  I'm also trying to schedule a Skype call with my friend who lives in Australia which I'm hoping will help as well.

2.  Pyjamas
I feel my cosiest and comfiest in my Primark mickey mouse pj bottoms and a band t-shirt.  I just find that there's something really comforting about putting on your favourite pyjama's.  When you're feeling anxious it's important to try and make yourself feel comfortable in your environment.  Finding an item of clothing that is comfortable and makes you feel happy when you're wearing it can really help.

2.  Hot Chocolate
Or whatever hot beverage you enjoy the most.  I am trying to cut down on food and drink that aren't as 'good' for me.  But at least this means that I can view a hot chocolate as little pick me up treat for when I need one.   Take the time to sit down and enjoy a hot drink, and I mean actually enjoy it, not just gulp it down as soon as it's made so you can get on with whatever you were doing. 

3.  Cleaning/Tidying
This evening I tidied my room as best I could.  I blasted some Paramore, tidied away all the dirty clothes on my floor and put on a load of washing.  I'm going to take down the Christmas tree tomorrow (yes, I'm THAT lazy person who hasn't taken down their tree yet) and give my room a good hoover.  Then I'm going to tackle the bathroom *inwardly groans*.

Tidying can help you to get some order in your life and help you to calm your mind down by having something constructive to focus on. 

4.  Baking
I love to bake.  When I was at college and had a part time job I set aside Thursday as my baking day and would try my best to make something every week.  It helped me to have something to look forward too when I was stressed during the week.  But, since I started the job I'm in now I haven't really done any baking. 

I realise this doesn't coincide with me wanting to eat better and you would be right.  But most of the time I'll be baking on my day off and then taking whatever I bake into work the next day for the morning tea break.

I want to get back into baking because I enjoy it.  If you plan in your week to have a certain evening or day dedicated to doing something you enjoy then it will be useful as something to think about and look forward too when you're feeling anxious.

5.  Blogging
You may have noticed that this past week I've thrown myself into blogging.  I'd forgotten how much of an outlet this blog is for me and how passionate I am about my little blog.  I really want to make the effort with my blog again and get to a place where I'm uploading weekly content that I'm proud of, onto a blog that I'm proud of - which will hopefully mean some design changes soon!

Having a creative outlet can be really helpful if you feel anxious a lot.  It can give you a way to deal with the confusing, overwhelming emotions you're feeling.  It helps me to focus on something that I really enjoy and that I can work on and improve in.

6.  Keep busy
I've made myself a list of things I can do for when I'm feeling anxious, mainly to prevent myself from lying in bed for two days straight, listening to Ed Sheeran and not eating properly from happening again any time soon.
I have the list down one side, numbered weeks along the top, and tick boxes in the middle.  I'm going to force myself to do things and keep my brain occupied so as not to dwell on my anxiety.

7.  Sleep/Rest
On the other hand from keeping busy, make sure you're taking the time to relax and go to bed at a decent time.  I know, this is coming from the girl who laid in bed for two days and smelt disgusting at the end of it.  But, anxiety can really tire you out emotionally and you need to make sure you're getting enough sleep.
Have early nights and make sure you're taking the time to unwind before bed, read a book or listen to some relaxing music to help settle yourself. 

8.  Exercise
I've started doing little things to slowly bring up my fitness level.  I've been going for walks on my lunch breaks, doing a fifteen to thirty minute workout in the evening each day, and I've downloaded a fitness timetable to keep by. 

Exercise will make you feel better about yourself, and it gives you something to distract you from all the little anxious thoughts swirling in your head. 

9.  Socialise
This is the one I'm struggling with the most.  I love to write, I don't like to talk.  I stutter and often find myself struggling to get words from my brain to my voice box.  As a result I've been distancing myself from interacting with people and I know this isn't healthy and is something that I need to change.  However, the prospect of this is petrifying for me and not one that I want to do to be honest.  I think I'm going to have to do it in baby steps and see how I get on. 

10.  Pamper yourself.
Have a bath.  Do a face mask.  Paint your nails.  Or do a me and do all three in one evening because you just needed it for yourself.   Take the time to look after yourself and do little things that help you to feel better about yourself. 

I know that trying to deal with my anxiety is going to be a daily battle, and it's going to be one that's difficult and tiring.  But hopefully I can work my way through it.
I hope that some of these ideas are helpful.  If you have any other suggestions for ways to deal with anxiety then please let me know in the comments. 

This post is part of my Becoming Your Own Hero series, you can read all the posts from this series by clicking here