Anxiety is one of those things that can creep up when you least expect. Some people are more affected in this way than others and I have openly said on my blog that I do suffer with it. Recently my anxiety got to a stage where it was affecting me so negatively and I had to take action to try to work towards combating it as much as I could. I’m still a work in progress but I feel now that I’m able to share some really useful tips to anyone going through the same thing. Remember that there are solutions, but you have to invest time into getting the results you want. The more you put into these steps, the more you get out of it!
Decrease The Caffeine
We all know that caffeine is a stimulant, but it can play havoc with the mind when you suffer from anxiety or depression. When I used to have coffee, I could feel my heart racing and then I would get even more worked up about something. I still love drinking tea and decaf coffee, but they have less caffeine than coffee, so I don’t feel the effect as much. I try to only have 1-2 cups of caffeinated tea a day. Sometimes I’ll have a matcha latte which releases the caffeine over more hours than coffee, so you don’t get that energy spike.
Talk to your GP as there are things they can suggest like CBT. There is help out there and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it.
There are lots of meditation apps out there like Headspace and Calm. They really help you learn to breathe and put things in perspective. When you are feeling completely overwhelmed this is great for grounding yourself and having some time away from everything.
Colouring In / Puzzles
Doing something logical and methodical like a puzzle or colouring in really helps to distract the mind and give that sense of achievement. It really helps take the focus away from the problem and by solving the puzzle and colouring you feel like you have made progress on something.
Whether you like playing an instrument or you just listen to music, sounds can make the mood feel instantly brighter. Whether you feel happier with an upbeat song or prefer a beautiful slow melody, find something that will improve your focus.
I created a playlist on my phone with calming sounds such as water, waves, birds and spa music. It really works at night time to help with sleep.
Finding a distraction and keeping yourself busy is a great help. Try to vary up your day with different enjoyable tasks (even if that means a small 5 minute breather in the middle of the working day).
Try not to look at your phone or social media an hour or two before bed. I get my boyfriend to check my phone for me instead and this works.
Reading a story is a great way to get absorbed into something else. Find out what books have been best sellers and get your hold on a gripping book you don’t want to put down.
Turn off notifications on the apps on your phone that you don’t need to look at 24/7. Having a bit of peace from the beeping can reduce stress.
Cooking more can not only be rewarding but you can make some tasty and nourishing food that will help increase your mood. Refined sugar is not great if you want to feel balanced during the day and not get those sugar spikes. Also, don’t forget to eat when you are hungry. Hunger can make people hangry and also supress energy levels.
Sleep is probably the MOST important thing to me. If I don’t sleep well I just can’t think positively and this is not great. Try to get to bed early and be strict and don’t stay out late with your friends every night. I know from experience that if I don’t get back earlier enough to have my “wind down” time I just don’t sleep well at all. Sometimes you have to just be honest with people and say you need your sleep!
I learnt about negative thinking recently and when you think something bad will happen, it most likely will. We all predict the future and play out the worst scenarios, but we have to stop and think “am I catastrophising? or “am I jumping to conclusions?” for example.
Anxiety Prevention List
When I was having panic attacks I had my own “survival pack” which I created for myself with a list of things I knew would help. I included a notebook to write in, some lavender hand cream, a roll-on scent, a colouring in book, and a list of things I could do like “watch a YouTube video on cute bunnies” to make me feel better. This was really great to know I had a built-in security system available.
Talking To People
Talking really does help and bottling things up inside is not healthy. There will always be someone to talk to and even though it may seem that some people are more there for you than others, take the people that are there and use their positivity.
Taking One Thing At A Time
I still have a little moment from time to time when things get too much. It could be something silly like clearing up the kitchen after cooking or collating my thoughts after a stressful drive. However, I have learnt to focus on one thing at a time. I focus on what I need to do first, then I do the next task and tick them off until I am ready to start my next task.
Exercise releases endorphins and helps to get the mind and body moving. I love Pilates and walking, and this really helps me have some reflection time to feel a bit more centered. Being outside also allows you to get your Vitamin D.
I feel like I could go on with this topic further there are so many things to say! If you have any more tips, please leave them in the comments to help other readers. I hope you have found this useful! Remember you can get there and we just need to use these tools to help.