Dealing with Anxiety

2015 so far has been the year where I make some decisions and get my act together. I made a commitment to myself at the start of 2015 that I would deal with some things that had been bothering me for quite some time and resolve them by the time my birthday arrived.

March rolled around, my deadline was looming and I'd started to make some changes. The changes awoke in me something I've rarely dealt with in the past and therefore I had no coping strategy for it - anxiety.

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I recognised can't fix everything in my mind instantly; in fact some things cannot be fixed as they are outside my control, but sometimes you can't even see past these problems enough to deal with making coffee on mornings. Life goes on and therefore I had to find a way to give my over-thinking brain a rest and regain my focus on the things that are necessary for getting on in life and are actually good, even if they don't seem good on every single day of the year. 

I can be the queen of first world problems on bad days, even I know I can sound like a dick sometimes but anxiety was something I’ve never dealt with and it floored me. I feel lucky that it’s something I was able to take control of myself (which isn’t for everyone; therapy and medications are other options) but as I’m stubborn I like to have a go on fixing things myself first. Note I said myself, not alone; that would have been impossible – if you have people to reach out to when things get tough then do so – never be too proud to ask for help.

But here’s some things which worked for me.

Practice being grateful

This is my happy jar:



A tin which I have slowly started to fill with little pieces of paper with nice things on it. The idea here is that as I feel happy / grateful / thankful for something I write it down and add it to the tin. On rubbish days when I need a lift I can dig into the tin and have something there to remind myself how good things are. These messages cover anything you want them to, mine vary from ‘I’m thankful for sunlight feeling warm on my skin’ to the message in the photo below. Small wins, guys, small wins.

Yes, I genuinely wrote that. Biscuits make me happy.

Practice being positive

I’m visual person, so Pinterest quotes worked wonders for me. I have them on a board specifically for this issue (affectionately called Be Less Crazy), I have them on my phone, and I’ve even printed some out and put them up around my desk.



In fact, I have little things like these on both my desks!



These little positive quotes or kind sentiments make me feel happy when I look at them and also allow me a couple of moments outside of my thoughts. Effectively they're a distraction; sometimes distracting, sitting back from your thoughts and letting them happen in front of you detaches them from your mind, making them seem less attached to you and easier to deal with.

Practice being comfortable

I’m a full time worker and I also have all the things that come with living in the modern world attached to me to – I have hobbies, a social life, a home, a stomach to feed – so sometimes I can feel a bit pushed for time, tired and overwhelmed. I’ve a bad habit of coming home from work and launching straight into all the tasks I have to do on an evening, which sometimes mean I don’t sit down (never mind eat dinner) until 9pm. I’m usually in bed by 10.30pm, therefore I don’t get much of an evening during the week, it’s easy to get really resentful when time runs away from you. 

Recently I started giving myself a break. This means I come home from work and put myself straight onto my bed for a chill out for a good 30 minutes, then I can start my tasks. You know what? The tasks are easier then, I enjoy my time more and I get tired later. All that for giving myself an extra 30 minutes to settle. As it’s getting lighter outside I’m taking longer routes home from work so I have more time outside in the daylight, which makes me feel happier too.



I also give myself evenings off. These evenings mean I won’t cook (I will do something completely lazy like beans on toast), I do no extra exercise, and I either spend the whole evening reading or having a tv binge. I’m not advocating letting your eating slide, believe me, a good diet will get you through periods of anxiety better but sometimes give yourself a break, you do deserve it.



Practice knowing when you need outside help

Like I said, if you have a support network, use it. I have friends who offer tip-top advice, check-in with me every few days, talk to me about other things to keep me in the real world. Instagram friends who add some of the most wonderful quotes onto my feed, Twitter friends with similar interests who recommend great books for me to delve into and colleagues who remind me to take Kalms tablets when things look like they’re overwhelming me. The nice thing is I’ve barely had to tell people anything that I’ve been dealing with, they’ve just picked up that something isn’t right and have offered their support (in the smallest of ways sometimes, which is fantastically perfect).  I’m a pretty open book when it comes to my feelings and emotions, so people who interact with me frequently always spot a change in my behaviour quickly (and suggest things gently, which is awesome and non-threatening). There’s plenty of resources out there for coping with anxiety – a quick internet search will highlight what’s local to you, take full advantage if you need to, this stuff is hard to deal with.



I will also add that I know where my anxiety came from, what triggered it and therefore I have been able to work through why this happened. It wasn’t all related to the trigger and therefore dealing with the trigger only solved part of the problem, but I have been able to deal with the other things that came up as I went along, which was the other half of the battle won.



Thankfully, my anxiety has left me completely alone and I hope I don’t have a run in with it for a really long time as it’s been very unpleasant. But at least if it ever does decide to have another performance, I’ve got lots of tools in my arsenal to help me cope with it.  
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1 comment:

  1. Love the jar idea! I'm going to try this :)

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