So not everyone knows that I have General Anxiety Disorder, but here we go, I’m telling you now. Lots of friends don’t really get what that means. Let me try explain: things that you don’t think about, people with GAD obsess over. In the grand scheme of things, the worry is unwarranted but trying to control it is like holding lots of plates in your arms and you’re nervous they’re going to fall – they probably won’t (cos you gots dis)… but they might.
I’d say I live with high-functioning anxiety; mostly you won’t know that I’m dealing with something (like needing to write down every single TV show I’ve ever enjoyed) unless you really know me. It’s not highs and lows; it’s mostly a controlled zen, even though my thoughts are still whizzing around in my head like a hamster on a wheel. Anxiety isn’t always about having panic attacks; sometimes it’s having to deal constantly debilitating thoughts.
We live in a world where talking about one’s mental health is considered distasteful; people treat it as a topic of juicy gossip; society believes that it makes us seem weak or weak-minded – that we can’t deal with our shit – an excuse for needing personal days.
If you’re reading this and you’re suffering from an “episode”, I’m here to tell you that I feel you and you’re not alone. I understand, and as overwhelming as it may be, you will get through it. I want to share some tips with you on how you can manage your anxiety on a daily basis.
- Write everything down:
- Write in a journal (it’s good to see what triggers your episodes because sometimes you don’t realise you’re going through a rough patch). I’m not saying jot down what you did during your day, but writing how you’re dealing with life can help you find a pattern in the long run or show how you’ve made progress.
- Make lists on a notepad or on your phone. When you’re able to remember it somewhere you won’t toy with the idea until your mind is raw. I’m not joking when say that I have countless lists; from movies I want to see to books I’ve recently read.
- I also have a Happy Jar: every week I think of at least 3 things that happened that I was grateful for or made me smile. At the end of the year when I’m looking back, I want to remember as many amazing little day-to-day memories as I can 🙂
- Take some time for yourself everyday. Self-Care is becoming more and more popular as an actual “thing” that people are doing to look after their well being. Pinterest is all up in that shit.
- Paint your nails, put a mask on your face and hair, run a bubble bath for yourself.
- Make time (no excuses) to do something that makes you happy: read a book, cook a quality meal, catch up on your favourite series or a movie
- Dedicate just 20 minutes to yourself that is just selfishly for you. You can’t pour from an empty glass, so treat yo’self!
- Teach yourself to give your mind a break:
- there are a huge number of meditation apps online for free or requires payment. Personally, I use Headspace (the first ten days are free) but there are many others. Managing your mind can make a huge difference in recognising that you’re spiralling and realising that what you’re experiencing, is like a visitor: they’ll come and they’ll go. Emotions are like that.
- Yoga or just gentle stretching also forces you to concentrate on holding positions rather than what’s going on around you. It keeps you present. Yoga with Adrienne is a wonderful free option if you are a beginner – Adrienne offers free sessions on Youtube.
- Exercise. A good ol’ fashioned classic. I can feel the difference in, not only my overall mood, but when I’m in a slump and I force myself to go, it makes a huge difference when trying to achieve a peaceful state of mind. And don’t underestimate the power of music! Nothing says “pick-me-up” than some sassy car jams – poor drivers must think I’m a bit cray cray when my inner Beyonce comes out 🙂
- Communication is a biggy as well. I’m what is known as an oversharer. If I’m happy, you know it. If I’m feeling down, you know it too. I’m the typical “wear my heart on my sleeve” kinda gal. There’s a bit of a stigma when it comes to talking about your feelings. Men have a problem with it; teenagers feel all the feels all at once so we tend to think they’re just being overdramatic; people with a tendency towards mental health issues also avoid talking about stuff because, god forbid, you’re depressed (insert society’s eye roll here). But talking, in and of itself, is healing. You always hear of people “bottling up their emotions” until one day they explode. Whatever is on your heart, dear one, express it because you are worth listening to.
These tiny bits of advice are simple and easy to put into your daily life. If you’re a Pinterest addict like myself, type “Self Care” into the search bar. There is so much you can do, and it doesn’t always require the pricetag of a psychologist (although of course seeking professional help is always crucial).
That’s all today, folks. Sending you so much love if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. You’ll be ok and I’m right there in it with you. If you have anything else that you do to deal with life’s ups and downs, please share in the comments below 🙂