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Battling Anxiety

by Lauren Meek about a year ago in anxiety

The best ways to look after yourself.

Battling Anxiety
Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

Given that my first story was about the bad day I was having, telling you and myself that it was ok to have a bad day and trying to give you an idea of the way I try to talk to myself when I have these days, I thought I would try to put down some of the way that I use to cope when I'm having a bad spell.

I know that some or all of these might not work for you but I find that these are the best ways for me to snap myself out of a funk.

1 - Call someone. This might seem simple but I recently had a "zoom date" with a friend that I haven't seen since she got married last June. We chat by text on and off but this was the first time we had had a proper sit down chat. We ended up chatting for hours. I was up until 2am, which for me is completely unheard of these days! When we go off the call, yes I was tired but we had talked about everything and put the world to rights. I felt really lucky to have a friend I can talk to about anything, to be able to laugh and joke to freely and just forget about everything else that is going on in the world.

I also speak to my mum once or twice a day. It's just a quick 10 minute chat to check in with each other but I find that even this can set me up for the day.

2 - Put your phone down. Scrolling is the worst habit we have. I can waste hours doing it and what for? It adds nothing to any of our lives, mostly we just sit and get a sneak preview of others lives, however good or bad they might be. While that can sometimes be helpful (I follow a lot of people on instagram who motivate me), it can also be a negative experience and can make you feel bad about yourself. Remember, that these people are only showing you the good bits but they have bad bits too. It's just that they don't get as many likes! To help me do this, I stick my phone on charge in my bedroom and stay away from it for a while.

3 - Take a nap. I have been loving afternoon naps since I can remember. As a toddler, I used to grab my blanket about lunch time and tell my dad "it's bedtime daddy" which obviously he was more than happy to indulge me in. I have never stopped since. I find that when my anxiety is bad, I sleep more. I call it "stress-sleep" because I can't help but nod off. I do find though that when things get too much, taking a short nap helps me to reset, charges the old batteries and I can start again.

4 - Have a bath. I love a bath. I cannot tell you how much I love a bath. I would be in the bath all day if it was reasonable. There are so many benefits for depression and anxiety to taking a bath. For me, I find that I can just go in there and read my book. There are no distractions. I don't often take my phone in either so it's a technology free space which is even better. Just lying with my eyes closed in the hot water for half an hour is the best part of my day. Why not treat yourself to some nice bubbles or bath bombs and try it out? My favourite are the bath bombs from the body shop - they make my whole house smell amazing!

5 - Do some yoga/meditation. I know a lot of people will be rolling their eyes and groaning at this one but I promise I'm not walking about barefoot and expecting hours of practice a day (not that there's anything wrong with that, whatever works for you). I'm talking about taking 15 minutes out of your day to breathe and stretch. Your body and mind will thank you for it. I love Yin yoga. It's not particularly stressful, you won't be balancing on one leg with sweat dripping all over your mat for you to slip in later. It's a very gentle practice. It helps you to focus on your breath, your body and have a gentle stretch. As for meditation, sit for 5 minutes with your yes closed and just focus on your breath. It can make such a difference to your day! There's also loads of apps out there that can help you get into this if you're new to it.

6 - Journal. Another one people tend to roll their eyes at is journalling. I think they have any image of me sitting in my bed at night writing "Dear Diary..." and drawing little hearts. It's not like that. It's a brain dump. Whether that's good or bad! I have a journal that I write huge big entries in when I need to get a lot of information out of my head. I find that when it is on paper it is much easier to deal with and doesn't seems as scary as it does when it's swirling about in your brain (think Dumbledore and his pensieve). The second is a gratitude journal. This is where I write one thing I am grateful for everyday. This might be something as simple as hearing a good song on the radio that you had forgotten about or the pancakes you had for breakfast. It's important to celebrate the small wins!

7 - Simple tasks. By this I mean something you can do that is calming. For example, I crochet. I taught myself to do this using magazines and YouTube videos. Crochet is so repetitive but sometimes your brain needs a task that is so simple for you to focus on. It can be a reset and a bit of calm-down time when you need it. It also brings a massive sense of achievement. Firstly, you've learned a new skill and secondly you can now create nice things. I make baby blankets mostly because they are simple to make but they also make excellent gifts. You're giving new parents a unique gift that was made by you with a bit of love and care rather than something mass-produced.

I know that these things won't help everyone and that we all have our own little things to help us get back to our best selves but maybe there is something in here you haven't tried or thought of yet!

anxiety

Lauren Meek

I started this because I love to write and journal.

I’m just a woman in my late 20s trying to navigate through life!

Read next: What Does a Girl Have to Do to Get Some Therapy Around Here?

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