Friday, August 7, 2015

kicking anxiety in the balls.




The last time I wrote a post on mental health, in particular my own I got a lot of texts, Facebook messages and emails from friends, acquaintances and even people I don't know telling me their story or just thanking me for sharing the post. I suppose anxiety or depression can really make you feel alone so there is a nice comfort in knowing that you're not the only one who feels the same or similar way. I loved that people were getting in contact with me about it although we were mainly talking about something quite negative, there is a positive feeling once you both declare your state of mind to each other. I know that I felt a little bit stronger with every message or email and I hope the same happened on the other end.
So it's seven months since that post and I wish I could say I'm totally better and not feeling the slightest bit anxious or down but unfortunately that's not the case. These past few months, I've become quite aware about how my mind works while dealing with anxiety and it seems to me that I need a lot of "tools" as they call them, to manage how I feel on a daily and weekly basis. So instead of keeping them to myself, I'll share them with you. 

Breathing: Breathing deeply and slowly. This helps me during anxious moments that can turn into panic attacks and during times that I just need to relax a little.

Eating well: Having a healthy, balanced diet is good for everyone but I always feel that little bit better mentally if I've had my five a day (or close to it!) and by balanced I mean a slice of chocolate cake too. Treats are good for the soul!

Talking: I try to talk to my family or close friends about how I'm feeling, when I know there's time so we won't be interrupted. You don't have to launch into a deep and meaningful, even just a "I'm not feeling so well today" helps a lot.

Counselling: When you can't or don't want to talk to someone you know, a professional can help and probably do a better job too. I have tried it a few times and in my own experience, the more open and honest with yourself you are, the better and faster the results will be.

Exercise: This one is my current favourite. Sometimes I still feel shit after some exercise but I feel shit and fit which is a whole lot better! Try running, walking, swimming, anything that gets you moving, sweating and feeling a little bit happier. When you find something you really like, stick with it. Mine seems to be running and swimming. Also, I think if it can be done outdoors, even better.

Meditation: This is one I rarely do but need to remind myself how great I feel afterwards. Headspace is a great app that helps you meditate, a gym membership for your brain as they like to call it.

Unplugging: Speaking of apps, that little piece of technology we put next to our pillow and carry around in our pockets all day seems to be the source of some of my anxiety I believe. Constant scrolling through social media, observing people's "perfect lives." I do try to remind myself that we all (myself included) share only the best parts of our lives online. I try to 'unplug' but I rarely do. My aim is to have a full day without my phone every two weeks to unplug, unwind and relax.

As I said, I'm using a lot of these tools to work through this anxiety. I won't speak about medication as obviously I'm not a doctor but mental illness is as important as a physical illness so a visit to your doctor is essential.

I'm going through a very exciting and happy time in my life - a new home, a cute (almost) three year old to hang out with, managing a steady and successful small business so I'm really not okay with this anxious cloud hovering over me and tainting this time in my life. I'm determined to kick this in the balls and return to my more easy going, happy self.

If you've any tips or tools you find useful, feel free to leave me a comment.

Cathy x

2 comments :

  1. Cathy- I agree with all the above tools ! X

    At bedtime- def unplugging and putting the phone away. Reading a good book to occupy the mind ( as this is the time I'm usually the worst).

    If my mind is racing and I'm feeling really anxious sometimes I make a list of all the things I'm anxious about. Writing it down means you can remember them and at them again in the morning- which I rarely have to. Writing out your worries gives my mind some relief and tricks my brain into thinking okay I'll worry about all this tomorrow after I get some sleep!

    X

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    1. Katherine, thanks for your comment and advice :) Louis always says reading helps too, I must get back into it. Never really write things down too but I like that idea of tricking the brain. I'll give it a go anyway. Hope the swimming is going well xx

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