anxiety, mental health

Anxiety tips

Guiding your way through the world is hard, doing it with anxiety is even harder. I have talked on here before about my history with anxiety and panic attacks and last year I posted daily tips over on my Instagram of simple things you can do to help you. So I thought I would write up the tips in a post on here which might help someone out there and can be a handy guide to turn too if you need it.

  1. Yoga/Pilates
    Helps calm you, lowers tension, relaxes and improves strength. You can also use meditation techniques alongside it. Try doing it in the morning to wake you up.
  2. Walking
    Take a stroll around your local area either in the morning or evening. Doesn’t have to be far but walking is really good for your mental health. It has been my saviour during lockdown.
  3. Drink water
    Keeping hydrated is a natural calming mechanism and good for your brain functions. Fill a large bottle and try and drink it during the day.
  4. Music
    Listen to your favourite music. It can calm you down, make you happy, relax you or take you back to wonderful memories. I found it a useful distraction on journeys when I had bad anxiety.
  5. Bubble bath
    Probably one of the top self care things to do lately but you cant go wrong with a nice hot bubble bath. Candles and music, just close your eyes and relax.
  6. Sleep
    Anxiety can cause insomnia which then can lead to even more anxiety. Turn off your phones, read a book, listen to a podcast or do some mediation. Whatever helps you but getting a good 8 hours sleep is very important for your well-being.
  7. Use your brain
    Crosswords, gaming, reading, studying anything to distract your mind can help if you find anxiety rising.
  8. Organise
    Sort your desk out, your wardrobe, your car, email inbox. A cluttered space makes for a cluttered mind. If you are laying in bed going over your to do list then write it down before you try nodding off. I like to plan my week out so I know what I need to do.
  9. Unplug from social media
    Instagram has a setting that alerts you to how long you have used it – set yourself a limit for each day. Have one day a week where you don’t use any social media. I don’t post anything on a Sunday and leave engagement for just an hour or so in the evening. It really does help.
  10. Enjoy a nice meal
    Maybe its your favourite takeaway or a nice home cooked roast dinner. Whatever you enjoy, be it healthy or not, enjoy every mouthful.
  11. Meditate
    I spoke about my mediation journey in my last post which you can read here. Take five or ten minutes every day, every other day or once a week.
  12. Cuddle a pet
    Pets are well known to be therapeutic. I persuaded my parents to get us a cat years ago to help me with my mental health. Best thing ever and I miss her a lot as my parents have her.
  13. Treat yourself
    Whatever it maybe: clothes, chocolate, make up, books or a coffee. Do it and don’t feel guilty about it. Everyone deserves a pick me up occasionally and living with anxiety is draining so you definitely deserve it!
  14. Make a list of your anxieties
    It might seem scary but writing down what triggers you, actually puts you in control. Calling them out for what they are and making them feel small. Failure used to be top of my list – failing myself, my family, my friends and my partner. Stopping myself from going out or self sabotaging jobs or events was and is part of anxiety and depression and even with the most supportive network, it did not stop me from feeling bad.
  15. Comment/talk about anxiety
    Following on from making a list, talking about how it makes you feel, why or maybe you don’t know why. Talking about it with others be it family, friends or someone neutral, it is always easier to share.
  16. Speak to friends
    Especially during this uncertain time connecting with people is really important. Even when friends are miles away having a good catch up can really pick up your mood.
  17. Get a massage or a haircut
    First thing I did after lockdown eased was get a haircut. My salon had all the measures needed to make me feel safe. And having my hair cut just makes me feel like a new woman. Cliche but true.
  18. Exercise
    Go for a jog, a walk, swim, aerobics. The endorphins make you feel happier and you get some good thinking time to clear that head of all those noisy thoughts. Having a swim definitely is my thinking space.
  19. Give up caffeine
    Caffeine can actually increase your levels of anxiety. I notice if I have too much coffee or fizzy drinks with caffeine then I cant sleep and feel a bit jittery.
  20. Dont beat yourself up
    All too often we beat ourselves up for one bad day or bad week. Life is hard, everyone is on a journey but taking different paths. Some don’t appear to have bumps but many have lots of obstacles.

One final thing I will say is that you are not anxiety. Anxiety is not who you are. It maybe a small part of you, but it is not what defines you. And there will be better days.