Friday, 12 August 2016

How I Manage My Anxiety - Coping Mechanisms

So why I am awake at 6:30am you may ask, although I'm sure you won't seeing as this is actually the normal time for most people to be awake on a weekday. Well by the time I actually hit publish it will probably be midday as I'm incredibly distracted by my ryvita with soft cheese, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, vinegar for breakfast sounds bloody hideous I know but seriously it's insane - my mouth is actually having a party. I'm also hoping my coffee can trigger words to actually form and come out as sentences because I already feel like this has been an intro far too long for me able to read back and make sense of.

I wanted to write this at this exact moment because I have yet again had such a terrible nights sleep, it's a bit of a vicious circle at the minute, I want to go to bed super early because being asleep means I can't worry yet going to sleep so early means I'm not very tired the next day and then struggle drifting off.

I've also just spilt boiling water from the kettle onto my bare leg so now there's a burn, brilliant.

Note to self: dont make coffee on 5 hours sleep.

So yeah the point of this post - to outline how I deal with my anxiety.
I think I should maybe point out that I dont know if anyone ever really deals with their anxiety, they just learn the best ways to cope, manage and feel normality. It's like most things, you need to just find a way of getting on because you really don't have any other option.

It's been a struggle figuring out what makes me feel more at ease when my anxiety hits, as it's so varied for each and every person you can never really know what makes you feel better until you are in the situation. Some people might find taking a long hot bath a fantastic distraction whereas I just get irritable, overheated and bored.

It's trial and error, but there will be something that eases your mind, calms down your breathing and hopefully takes away that weight on your shoulders and your chest.

Here's what works for me, they aren't quick fixes but they do help.

#1. Use a Meditation App
Will you ever see me on a yoga mat in the middle of the living room floor with my legs crossed? Probably not. However, after lying awake for about 3 hours one night with this crippling worrying feeling I just decided to download every free mediation app the apple store had to offer. I'm not a complete convert to the world of mindfulness just yet but I was slightly amazed by how a 10 minute sound clip of a man, who I believe was called Andy, although I could very well have just made that up, made me feel so much more distracted. I feel it could have been because I kept thinking about how"Andy' had such a sexy sounding voice as a pose to me actually switching off and creating "headspace" but credit where credit is due, I felt a lot less anxious at the end of it. It's not something I do daily, although maybe I should, but for now it's just something I do when I cant sleep or I'm having a difficult time getting out of bed when my chest feels so tight.

FYI - I use 'Headspace'

#2. Watch Something Incredibly Distracting
By this I mean watch something that requires your absolute full attention, TOWIE just won't cut it I am afraid. I'm really into suspects at the moment, channel 5, it's so intense I love it. I always find that literally just pushing away my negative thoughts and replacing them with a complete mind distraction can sometimes work best, sure when the programme ends I could be back to square one but I'm also usually much calmer and am able to think a little more rationally.

#3. Buy and Light Candles
Candles dont have magical healing powers but they do make things smell nice and who doesn't want their room smelling of salted caramel?

#4. Actually Go To The Gym For Once
I only ever use my gym membership card once in a blue moon but that's usually when I'm feeling anxious, it doesn't always work, sometimes I really don't want to throw myself around but on the off chance that I do it works wonders. There is just something about moving and getting sweaty that empowers me and makes me feel in control. I also find swimming really puts my mind at ease, it's mostly because I'm so focused on staying afloat but then again, it works.

#5. Drive
I love driving on long, open roads with the wind in my hair, unfortunately I live in Essex and my reality is usually driving around built up areas getting stuck in traffic for miles on end. I do sometimes just get in my car and take myself somewhere though, anywhere, even just to Costa for a coffee. Driving is my way of focusing my mind completely on something else, it doesn't allow me to get distracted by other thoughts because I have to be focused and aware of what I'm doing.
Blast out some tunes and I am away.

#6. Get Outside
My fave thing is sitting outside, even just in my back garden. Could be glorious sunshine or torrential rain I just like being outside. On a deck chair with a Pimms in hand and a good book to indulge in is ever better but I can make do without.
Seriously, people underestimate the power of fresh air and blue skies.

#7. Blog
Write, take part in a Twitter chat, read posts, schedule tweets... anything blog related.
Well anything apart from HTML, that shit causes way too much stress.

So that's that, let me know how you cope with your anxiety and what makes you feel better, I sure dont have it all figured out just yet so I would love any advice you have to offer.