One thing I have learnt since having anxiety is I have to look after me. If I don’t then my anxiety takes over. If I put myself at the bottom of the list then I can’t be the person I want to be especially when it comes to the Mum I want to be. I have tried so many things to get rid of my anxiety but I have realised that it’s not really about getting rid of it. For me personally it is about accepting it, learning to live with it and doing as much as I can to keep it at bay and at a manageable level. There are 5 things I do all the time now to ensure that this happens. Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days but doing these 5 things consistently definitely helps day to day life. So here are the 5 things I do to keep my anxiety at bay. Maybe some of them could work for you too.
Self Care – Self care seems to be the buzz phrase at the moment. As a Mum I found this the hardest thing to incorporate into daily life especially when I read more about it and I just couldn’t see how I would fit it in. But the crux of self care is the importance to look after you. Yes this could mean having a spa day every week but it can also mean 10 minutes in the evening to yourself doing something you love. It doesn’t have to take a long time and it doesn’t have to be anything groundbreaking. I usually watch trashy TV with my phone on the other side of the room or sometimes I sit and do my nails in peace. Little things like that remind you of your self worth but also give your head a bit of breathing space too.
Sleep – My kids have me up at 5am so my old bedtime of 10:30 just wasn’t working for me. I am someone that needs a good nights sleep and when I don’t get it I’m not only grumpy but also more anxious. Nowadays I am in bed by 9 and asleep by 9:30. In my case, and a lot of others too a tired mind makes an anxious mind so sleep is now a priority for me.
Exercise – If you know me personally you have probably just had a little giggle to yourself. I’m not a huge friend of exercise. I’ve been to the gym a handful of times in my whole life, I could never stick to classes and running makes me want to cry. However, a walk round the block with the buggy or a dance around the kitchen while making the kids dinner is the sort of exercise I can do. I just try and make sure I do it every day. Sometimes I can feel quite anxious in the morning but by the time I’ve done the school run (walking) and I’m back home I feel a lot better. You will never find me in the gym at 6am but I do feel better after a quick power walk or boogie at dinnertime.
Talking – It’s in every advice leaflet you will find on anxiety but talking is often the hardest thing to do when you are suffering from a mental health condition. I still feel find myself feeling embarrassed about certain things I’m anxious about after all a walk around Asda really is not that big of a deal to most people. However as hard as I sometimes I find it I can’t dispute how good it is too talk. Sometimes it really is enough to just tell someone that I’m feeling a bit wobbly. Just having it out there can make me feel less alone with my thoughts. For some reason knowing someone else knows makes whatever it is I’m about to do easier to do.
Consistency – Consistency really is key when it comes to managing anxiety. There is no point exercising for a week, feeling great and then stopping. For the last four things to work they have to be done regularly and you have to commit to them. I have fallen into this trap so many times and ended up being back where I started.
So there are my top 5. Do you have anything that works really well for you? Like I said, I do still have bad days, bad week and bad months sometimes but this does make the majority of time easier. It really does come down to you realising that you have to be top of your list sometimes.