If you read my previous post about my anxiety and emetophobia then you will know that my anxiety is currently at an all time high. I have suffered from anxiety and emetophobia since I was 11. 13 years later I have developed a lot of coping mechanisms and techniques to help myself through the bad patches. I thought I would share some of the ways that I have used over the years. Please comment below any technique that you may use – I would love to try some other ways.
My past ways of coping with anxiety –
- Yoga & Exercise classes – During my A levels my anxiety peaked and I began to do some yoga to help me through the stressful period. Alongside the yoga I also did 3 to 4 exercise classes a week. I know that this had a positive impact on my mental health. Unfortunately the people I use to attend the classes with are now busy or we have fallen out of contact. Plus I would much rather make hot chocolate and watch a film with my partner. My partner is very supportive and we have tried going for a run of an evening but we’re useless at keeping it up. It’s definitely something I would like to do again though.
How I am currently coping with my anxiety –
- Exercise – Even just going for a walk. I work from home and my work is quite intense so I try to regularly go for a walk on what would be my lunch break. I’ll admit that I do not go as often as I would like to but on the days that I do I definitely notice an improvement in my mental health.
- Healthy Eating – I’m a big believer in your body will tell you what it needs, however sometimes when it’s asking you for a bar of chocolate you should only give it an apple (Perhaps with a slice of cheese!).
- Replacing negative memories with positive ones – The biggest way in which I am currently dealing with my anxiety is by creating positive memories. Right now my biggest anxiety is that I will have an anxiety attack (how silly is that?!). I have therefore decided that by taking little steps and going out and having a positive experience where I do not panic is the way to deal with it. Slowly I am rebuilding my bank of happy memories and I know it is somewhat helping me.
- Relaxation – I am terrible at doing nothing, which is a bit of a contradiction as I’ll admit I’m a tad lazy! Sometimes when my anxiety gets a little bit much I find that I need a day just to ground myself again. During these days I will run errands, either bake or cook and sometimes spend time with my little cousins. Relaxation for me is not worrying about work and doing things that make me happy. A day isn’t always realistic so sometimes even if I just pop a face mask on and watch a couple of youtube videos just to take 10 minutes out.
- Counselling/ CBT – I have previously referred myself for CBT, however during the six month wait I managed to get myself back on my feet. Stupidly when the appointment came through I turned it down. At this point I was working up in London, leaving the house at 7 in the morning and not returning until 7 at night and so I was unable to attend any of the appointments I was offered. I want to seek help again, however knowing how long the wait will be puts me off.
- Start a hobby – I popped into a Hobby Craft the other week to pick up some bits for my Christmas wrapping. Whilst in there I was surprised at how calming it felt. I thought it would be nice to start a crafting hobby to keep my mind and hands occupied.
When my anxiety is particularly bad I have to build myself back up and rightly or wrongly so I do rely on safeguards. I am aware that safeguards have the potential to backfire and continue to limit my actions but I use them with that in mind.
For me my car has always been my safeguard. Throughout college I knew that if I felt anxious I could go and sit in my car and have a few minutes to myself. Throughout university I successfully weened myself off of this safeguard, having to commute up to London on trains. Until my Masters I was happy taking public transport. During my final year in education I found travelling on public transport increasingly difficult and often would find myself skipping classes to avoid the journey. Thankfully now I work from home commuting up by train is no longer an issue.
Recently I have found myself relying on having the car there again. I know that this is not healthy in the long term but for now at least I am going out.
Today has been a bad day for my anxiety, I wanted to go out but couldn’t face leaving the house on my own. I’m starting to feel like I don’t want to leave the house again tomorrow but I know I have to fight the feeling. Somewhere deep inside of me I have to find the strength to keep fighting.