Following the panic attack that I had at the beginning of May (read about it here) I have felt like my anxiety has gotten a little worse again. However, I have been conscious of this and have therefore been taking steps to allow for it. Some days I’ve stayed in doors and wanted to shut the world away but others I keep pushing myself. It’s a roller coaster of emotions but I know one day I’ll feel like me again and it’ll all have been worth it. Or perhaps I’ll just come to terms with the fact that this is me now.
Over the years I’ve come up with a few ways of coping with my anxiety when it flares up and I thought I would share some of my tips with you.
Here are my 5 top tips for coping with anxiety –
When my anxiety is bad sleep is my worst enemy but it is also my best defence. On days when I’ve had a good night sleep I feel a lot more able to confront anxiety provoking situations. I find that getting into a good routine and trying to go to sleep at the same time can help. I’ve also found ear plugs to be a huge help when trying to get off to sleep. I tell myself that when I put my ear plugs in they not only shut out the noise around me but they also block the noise coming from my brain. As soon as I try to sleep my brain thinks it’s question time and will start wandering down all sorts of thought trails. This is not foolproof but it does help to an extent. I’ve also tried some meditation apps and have so far found them helpful in getting off to sleep.
Know your Limits –
I cannot stress this point enough. Do not put yourself in situations that you know are going to make you feel anxious, at least not whilst you’re feeling fragile. Now I know this is a sweeping statement and in some situation it is impossible. Some days I know I can tackle something and I want to push my limits, other days I know that if I push my limits too much it will backfire. You have to know when to push your limits and when to take a step back and look after yourself. I concentrate on replacing anxious thoughts with positive memories and therefore if I have a negative experience it hinders my recovery.
Keep trying in small ways –
This point is similar to the one above. Every day try and do something that scares you a little bit. It doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be enough to test your limits. For example during lunchtime I usually go out for a walk on my own but I call my boyfriend which makes me feel safe. Sometimes I’ll leave the house five minutes before he calls just to force myself to spend 5 minutes on my own, with my own thoughts and away from the house. To others this may seem like a ridiculously small step but to me it’s important and it’s another way in which I’m slowly trying to overcome my anxiety.
Know when it’s okay to rely on someone/something –
*When I say ‘something’ I’m referring to mints, bottles of water, etc… not substances*
I think this is a tip that most people would tut and shake their head at but I believe that sometimes it is okay to rely on something or someone. If leaving the house with a bottle of water is your safety net then why not? Until you feel strong enough to leave that bottle of water at home keep doing it, at least you’re still going out. I know I rely quite heavily on my boyfriend but in the first few months after I had the norovirus my anxiety and depression was at an all time high and I needed support. I’m slowly trying to go out with other people and building up to going out on my own but I’m easing myself in slowly. Do what feels comfortable for you so long as you’re trying.
It’s okay to cry –
Mental health can be overwhelming and life altering we spend every day trying to fight it but it’s important to remember that it’s okay to sometime let our weaknesses show. We’re only human. When I’m feeling anxious all I want to do is curl up in bed and cry and so I do. I throw myself that little pity party until I can’t stand it any longer and I find the strength inside to get up and keep on going with the day.
I hope my tips can help you in some shape or form. Just know that however your feeling it’s okay. We just have to keep fighting and things will improve.
P.S. I might be quiet on here for a while as we’re going away for the weekend. I’m praying my anxiety behaves. I’ll keep you updated!