As most of you know I am suffer with anxiety. For a long time I thought it would be something that the pills would fix and that would be that. The pills have helped hugely; they have helped me to think more clearly and manage my anxiety. However, for whatever reason anxiety is still a part of my life and I have come to the point where I have accepted that it probably always will be. So, instead of trying to cure myself, I am spending more time focusing on how to give myself as many anxiety free days as possible. Sometimes it is out of my control and I will have a bad day but like everyone I would like more good days than bad. I have written a lot in this blog over the years about techniques I use to bring myself out of an anxiety attack or self care activities that really have worked for me but one thing I have learnt about managing anxiety is it is a work in progress. So with that in mind I have started to introduce things into my daily life that help keep the anxiety at bay. I am sharing five of those with you today. they may seem obvious or almost too simple but believe me, they really do work and have all sorts of other benefits to both physical and mental health too.
Healthy Diet – I am a chocoholic but I also know that too much sugar makes my anxiety worse. This was a hard realisation to come to because chocolate was also my comfort when I was feeling rubbish. Some people can give it up, I am not one of those people but I have cut it down and only have small treats now rather than a share bag of M&M’s! I was anaemic after having all of my children and I found that really hindered my anxiety too so I try and have a good amount of iron through the day too.
Daily Exercise – This was actually a really hard one for me. I’m not a gym person, I’m not a runner and the thought of a spin class brings on the anxiety rather than eases it. Because of all this I went back to basics – walking. I make sure that every week day I do a good 30 minute walk whether that be with the kids or on my own. I don’t go far and I most certainly don’t run but being outside, getting some sunlight and speeding up my heart rate a bit really works. I can never be bothered to do it but always feel much better when I have. If you suffer with hyperventilation with your anxiety this is a great one to try to reset your breathing patterns.
Tidy House – With the likes of Mrs Hinch taking over Instagram at the moment it is really very apparent how a clean tidy house can help your mental health. I’m not a clean freak, it’s certainly not top of my list of how I want to spend my day but I do find if I keep the house clean and organised then I feel a lot better. Clutter makes me very anxious and it isn’t always something you can avoid with kids but everything has it’s place at the end of the day so I can relax in tidy living room once they are in bed.
Sleep – This is the one that everyone says you should be doing when you suffer with anxiety but one of the hardest things to do. Anxious thoughts tend to come to the forefront when you are lieing in bed trying to get to sleep and the more you try the harder it becomes to fall asleep. I have tried meditation videos but they aren’t for me so I tried Podcasts. I now stick a podcast on before I settle down for sleep and I can guarantee I never hear the end of it as I have drifted off. I think the distraction of listening to what they are saying rather than my own anxious thoughts is why it works.
Self Care – I harp on a lot about self care but if you aren’t tip top then the people that you are trying to stay okay for won’t be either. Self care doesn’t have to be spa days and retreats, it can be as simple as watching your favourite TV show, having some alone time, painting your nails or reading a book. Find those 10 minutes that are quiet in the day and take them for you.