I know too well the awful feeling of anxiety. For years I struggled to keep it under control, endless days with my stomach a ball of knots, unable to eat or sleep or leave the house.
Every single thing was magnified a thousand times under the glare of anxiety, every possibilty overthought, every single thing I did/thought/said worried about, it is exhausting.
It took a lot of work, but I managed to get a handle on my anxiety, and put it behind me. I get the odd day when I feel a little anxious now, but it no longer controls me.
These last couple of months have been anxiety inducing for a lot of people, I had a brief spell right at hte start of the corona virus when I was really anxious. I had to give myself a good talking to, to ensure that it didn’t take over. I conciously chose to limit what I read/listened to during this time, keeping social media to a miniumnum, and not reading all the zillion articles people posted every day about the virus.
While we can choose what we consume, and how much of it through these times, there is no denying that we are living in stressful times. Feeling anxious is a totally normal response to living through a pandemic. There is no shame in feeling anxious, but there are things you can do to keep you in control and stop the anxieyt from taking over.
- Cut out the caffeine – this was one of the things that had the biggest effect on me. I cut caffeine out 3 years ago and was astonished at the difference I felt straight away. I’m firmly a decaff girl these days, some people can stomach more than others, but I cut it out completely and it was certainly worth it.
- Switch off – I can tell when I’m anxious, as I’ll find myself scrolling and scrolling through social media, over and over again. Switching off keeps me more present, and I find mindless scrolling just feeds my anxiety.
- Sweat it out – exercise is a great tool to use to quell anxiety. If I can, getting outdoors is the best, but if I can’t get out, I’ll put on a good HIIT workout on YouTube and build up a sweat. Nothing beats the feeling of completing a good workout – it helps lower stress hormones, and promotes better sleep.
- Breathe – if I feel anxious all of a sudden, or it suddenly feels totally overwhelming, taking control of my breathing helps to calm it right down. Circular breathing is fantastic – in through your nose for a count of three, hold for three and out through your mouth for a count of three. Keep going until you feel yourself relax.
- 5 things – grounding always helps me stop anxiety spiraling out of control. As soon as you feel it creeping in, stop and name five things you can see, five things you can smell, five things you can hear, five things you can touch.
- Prioritise – sometimes anxiety strikes when I’m thinking about all the things I need/have/want to do.. in those times, a to-do list is a lifesaver. Writing down every little thing makes me start to feel in control, crossing it off as I go makes me feel like I’m winning and on top of things.