A few of my favourite things...
...to help with anxiety
- •MeditationI have found that a 20 minute meditation buys me 48 hours of more manageable anxiety levels. When I've meditated, it's like I can choose whether or not to go down the anxiety path when it presents itself. When I haven't meditated, I have no control over my anxiety. (I use two apps: headspace and rituals).
- •ReadingI had this period where I had to read every day to be ok. It felt like I was refilling an empty tank. I read Strayed, Gilbert, Patchett, Brown Taylor, Niequest. Lots of memoirs/soul-searching essays. I still read pretty much every day, but I don't have the same feeling of thirst for it. These books helped me to repair a part of myself, I think. And reading still helps my anxiety, even now that the tank is full.
- •SwimmingOk, I am totally late to this party, but apparently sport is really good for your mental health. Who knew?! I swim at least once a week, and when I don't I feel all bleurgh.
- •Planning aheadThinking through potentially anxiety inducing situations and planning escape routes, coping mechanisms, prepping key people (husband, bestos, even organisers - once I actually emailed a conference leader to let them know that I might have to sneak out sometimes, and to ask for an advance copy of the schedule. She was more than happy to help out.)
- •Adjusting expectations and behaviour accordinglyMaybe you can't be your charming and witty self at that event, maybe you'll be a wreck and embarrass yourself. That's ok, dear.
- •Having a few dear ones who know and understandMy husband and a few close friends, all people who know how anxiety affects me and will pat me on the head and feed me biscuits.
- •Home comfortsBaths, tea, candles, that kind of thing. Can help you come down from a wired state.
- •PodcastsGet on with life, while your mind is occupied with something other than fretting. Especially recommend Dear Sugar for this purpose.
- •NappingOften when I'm feeling wired, I'm actually exhausted, but haven't allowed myself to feel it yet. Get yourself to bed.
- •Emily Nagoski's explanation of stress cyclesApparently we're all building up the after-effects of stress, and not discharging them. Our bodies need to run, connect to community and rest after a stressful event. I'm trying to build some of these into my anxiety management.
- •WritingI find it hard to write when I'm anxious, but the more I write, the less susceptible I become to anxiety. It's a learning curve.