I talk beauty & mental health

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

How To Help Yourself When Anxiety Strikes

Anxiety What To Do

I got this question a while ago on Instagram and I thought I'd revisit it on my blog today. I think that many people don't realise that there is a difference between having anxiety and suffering from an anxiety disorder. Everyone has anxiety once in a while - and having anxiety isn't always something bad, in fact it can actually be helpful when it comes to pushing yourself to reach your goals. But when you suffer from an anxiety disorder, it means that your anxiety is so bad that it is preventing you from living a healthy and happy life. Severe anxiety can come in a lot of different forms and can have a lot of different causes. In my case it was caused by childhood trauma and my symptoms vary from heart palpitations, to excessive sweating, shortness of breath, itching, fatigue, excessive worry, fear and lack of concentration. Helping yourself when you're particularly anxious is hard because it often stops you from being able to think rationally, you're so worried that you're not really capable of distinguishing facts from feelings. Here are some of the things I do when my anxiety is taking me for a run.

Figure out why you are anxious

What I find the most important when it comes to dealing with anxiety is not just knowing that you actually have it but realising why and what exactly is causing your anxiety. Anxiety can be triggered at different times for different reasons - and as women, I think that we do underestimate the fact that we have to deal with our cycle every month. I stopped taking birth control years ago and started tracking my period with the Clue app ever since. I know the Clue app is still being advertised by influencers at the moment but it truly is a great app as it doesn't only track your cycle, it also has the ability to track your mood and to visualise any mood patterns. After using the app for a couple months I noticed that I'm always anxious at about the same time in my cycle. As a person in recovery who's always looking for solutions, this honestly came as a huge relief because it means that my anxiety isn't necessarily related to my struggle with mental illness. Figuring out your triggers really is going to help you make a lot of progress. Another trigger that I have is going to visit new places and meeting new people. I don't do well in big groups, of women especially, because I used to be picked on in school. Meeting certain family members also is something I have a hard time with. I didn't grow up in an emotionally healthy or happy household and it's taken me a long time to accept that I've had to distance myself from the people that just 'don't get it' and aren't interested in my personal happiness. Special holidays or someone violently ringing my doorbell are some more random things that can set off my anxiety as well.

Make a self care plan

In the second part of this post I'd like to elaborate about self care methods that I apply when I'm very anxious and cannot necessarily figure out why - or simply couldn't care less because I'm panicking and I can't get it together. Having some kind of a self care plan is absolutely crucial when you suffer from severe anxiety. Something that I like to do is take a Vitamin C supplement. I've talked about this many times before but as I am not a medical professional, of course, I strongly advice you to pass this by your doctor first. I take Vitamin C because it really helps to elevate my mood and I genuinely feel that it makes a difference when it comes to dealing with my anxiety. Another thing that I do is make sure not to reach for caffeinated or sugary drinks and check whether I've actually had a decent meal that day. I have times where I really can't be bothered to cook and times where I do love to be in the kitchen. That last one is when I take the opportunity to meal prep and make sure I have a bunch quick lunches or dinners ready to pop out of the freezer when I'm having a really bad day. Soup, chicken, lentils and rice are often my go-to's. When all of that has been covered I move on to what I actually need to get done or don't need to get done that day. I find it difficult to prioritise what is important when I'm anxious so making a list is what I do first - and if even that proves to be hard I ask for help either from my boyfriend, a friend, my therapist, or one of my siblings. Also, remember not to force things. If you cannot find the energy to do something maybe it's just not the time.

Do something for you

I've talked about self care and the problem with the 'treat yourself mentality' but what I failed to mention in that post is that you need to put yourself first, always. You deserve the absolute best and doing your best doesn't mean working until you're on the verge of a breakdown. It's okay to get off from work a little earlier than usual, meet with a friend, wrap yourself in a blanket and watch a movie, have a good cry, buy yourself some flowers, fill in your journal, read that (comic) book that's been catching dust on your bedside table for so long, do your makeup, paint your nails, take a nap, listen to a podcast, watch youtube videos, draw, play your favorite music, take a bath, declutter your wardrobe, make an extra appointment with your mental health counselor. Your needs are a priority, your feelings are real and they are valid. You are allowed to love yourself. You are allowed to choose for you. 
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