I suffer from anxiety. I am not my anxiety but sometimes it gets the better of me. It has become worse since entering motherhood. I read this is common. I also love self -improvement so I am constantly working on myself to live the best, happiest and calmest life I can. I have shared my anxiety struggles quite a bit on this blog and I often get asked about the things that work best for me. So, here’s me sharing in hope that I might help anyone else who is struggling. Please note this is years of trial and error and talking to professionals, what works for me may not work for you, so it’s always best to seek professional advice.
Anxiety is fear of the future, so I try to get out in nature and be as present as possible. I do body scans (a lot) starting at my feet and focusing on what I can feel under my feet as I walk, what I can see in between my toes and the air on my ankles and track my way up. I use body scanning a lot, it’s my first go to if I begin to panic.
I slow down, my life is pretty fast paced so I try to slow down, meditate or do a Yin Yoga class. If I can’t do that, I will sit on my balcony put on my favourite candle/oils, fire up some classical music and do some long hold stretches. Initially I found the meditation and breathing counterproductive, provoking anxiety but I’ve learnt that it works when doing it in a yoga flow or in Yin Yoga. These days I am much better at it, so if it’s hard, persevere, it takes time.
Limiting stimulants, is key for me, I haven’t had a coffee in 5 years. I’ve recognised that it’s a trigger, so I have excluded it completely. When I am having an anxious bout I also limit my sugar intake.
Alcohol is not a stimulant but is a major trigger for me. Although at first it is a relaxant, if I over indulge I have shocking anxiety for days to follow. So, I limit the amount I drink in one sitting.
Fatigue also increases my anxiety but frustratingly anxiety also keeps me awake. So, having a night and morning routine that includes meditation, stretching or whatever works to wind down, helps me to get a minimum of 6 hours sleep. I make this a real priority.
Tuning into my senses helps. Using my sense of smell, so candles and/or a diffuser with oils and getting out in nature, the colours blue green and yellow are supposed to make you happy- works for me!!!
My psych gave me a strategy of using imagery. I picture myself in my favourite place, what it looks like, smells like and feels like, who is there with me. And just close my eyes, sit quietly and tune in to the feelings this place evokes. This is a great one when/if panic hits.
Keeping a journal is good too and helps identify your triggers which is really helpful. I use the 5-minute journal app which is amazing as gratitude can override anxiety pretty effectively!!! I also write down how I am feeling and my current goals.
I guess the best advice I can give when it comes to anxiety, is to know your triggers, try everything and see what works for you. Talk to your loved ones and a professional is also key, as it helps to share the load, so you are not dealing with anxiety on your own. These things worked for me, but everyone is different. I hope sharing these helps others who are struggling. XX