I’ve never shared this on here before but a few months ago I was diagnosed with anxiety. My mum was really ill in hospital at the time and I wasn’t coping very well. I ended up having a massive panic attack at a friend’s party. I’d never had one before and it was the weirdest feeling. It felt like my heart sped up out of nowhere and I just could not grasp any breath. It was after that, that I decided to visit my doctor and received my diagnosis.
I wasn’t sure what to think when he first said the word anxiety. I had heard it thrown a lot at the time and felt it was a bit of a dramatic trend for young people. How dumb was I. looking back I think I’ve suffered from it for quite a while. I don’t think anxiety is necessarily a bad thing, a certain level of it is really good for us. It’s what spurs on our adrenaline and keeps us going. It’s not healthy though when it inhibits your life and prevents you from being yourself and being able to get on with daily tasks. This is how it got for me, I lost motivation, I felt empty and I just didn’t feel like myself. I’ve been on medication for a while, which has really helped, but I’ve tried a few other ways to try and help reduce my level of anxiety and have found them to really work. I am definitely by no means a medical expert and anxiety affects everyone so differently, but I thought I would share what helps me in case it may be useful for someone else…
Delete Facebook off your phone – I’m a serial Facebook snooper, I can spend hours mindlessly browsing through Facebook, but I know I’m not the only one! Let’s be honest though, all you’re really doing is wasting time, catching up on gossip and comparing your like to everyone else’s highlight reel. How does any of that make you feel good? It doesn’t, so delete it! I now go on Facebook once a week, check my notifications and that’s it. I feel so much better for it and am learning to use my time more wisely.
Cut out caffeine – I was a complete coffee whore! No joke, I would have 2 cups of coffee before I left for work, about 3 in the first hour there and then at one an hour for the rest of the day. Looking back that’s insane! I would spend my whole day wired and then stupidly wondered why I couldn’t sleep at night! I feel so much better for giving it up, I’ve replaced it with fruit teas and a chamomile tea before bed. I am much calmer, I’m not spending my whole day feeling tired and I’m sleeping much better.
Get Creative! – I find getting crafty and making things very therapeutic. As well as making jewellery for my shop ‘Pearl Divine’, I’ve started joining in with craft swaps and I’ve also recently come across adult colouring books which are ace! I think it allows your mind to focus on something and I always feel great when I’ve completed something.
Talk to People – I’ve barely told anybody about my anxiety but I have spoken to three of my close friends about it. I regularly check in with them and they have been amazingly supportive. It feels good to talk and get it off my chest.
Improve your sleep routine – I used to average about 5 hours of sleep a night. I would stay up ridiculously late every night, making no allowance for getting up early. I now try for 8 hours of sleep a night even if that means forcing myself to go to bed! Life is so much clearer after a good night’s sleep!
Exercise – go for a walk, run or cycle – get moving, head to an exercise class, whatever suits you just do it! Get those endorphins pumping and you will feel so much better for it.
I still have good days and bad days with my anxiety but I am feeling more in control of it now. I guess the moral if this post, the one thing I’d like people to take from it is to make sure you take the time to switch off and look after yourself.