Today I am writing something that I’ve been dreading to write about since I started the blog. It’s my anxiety. Not that I am ashamed or anything, it’s just hard to talk about it sometimes when you are trying to not think about it. It’s really hard, but I want to help others who are suffering from mental health issues. It’s a really important topic to talk about, and I wish I had more resources when I first met anxiety. I am going to give you a few of my tips to release anxiety.
First of all, I’m not going to go deep into the whole story under it, because it’s a story for a different day and may take a lot more courage and time to write.
In short, I have GAD (general anxiety disorder) and panic attacks. Even though I think I have struggled with it a bit since the very childhood, the first panic attack happened 5 years ago. (woohoo 5years of anxiety!) And ever since it’s been up and down. To not go deeper into it, I will write a few tips that have helped me instantly and then next time I will write a longer term helps.
These tips are helpful when you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, stressed and even panicking.
Please remember that it’s ok to feel that way, and it will never last forever.
- Acupressure mattWhen you are anxious or stressed, your body gets really tense, and it makes you feel worse and your muscles hurt. For that reason, I love acupressure mat. It has these little spikes and when you lay down on it, you will literally not be able to think of anything else, but how releasing (and a bit painful) it is. You can change positions on it and just sit or lay on it for about 20 mins. It helps instantly. It’s also great if you are struggling with sleeping. It always makes me so sleepy. I do it before bed when I need to chill down.
You can also get them quite cheap. Mine was only £16 I think.
- Herbal teaThat’s the stuff. It can be camomille, lavender, valerian root and mint teas. My favourites are from Yogi Tea (Bedtime and Relax). There are a lot more different relaxing teas out there that will surely be as good. Even just a simple camomille tea will do the trick. When you drink something warm it already releases tension, but with some magic of herbs, it’s always been my go to. And definitely better than any over the counter stress or sleep medicine.
- Yoga, meditation or deep breathingI understand that when you are super anxious the thought of meditating or listening to you breath is scary. But deep breathing is the most important thing to do. If you do just a quick 10 min of meditation you will feel so much better. Not only it quiets down the mind but again it releases tension in your body. Releasing the body tensions is the best and quickest way to release stress and anxiety. When your body is relaxed, your mind is as well, and the other way around of course.
- Singing or talkingWhen we feel anxious it’s important to express ourselves and get ourselves out of our mind. Singing is a very good way of letting things out, it also stabilizes our breathing and makes our mind to think of something else. I’m not a good singer at all, but if I feel stressed and anxious I will sing my heart out because it instantly releases everything and puts me in a better mood. The same goes with talking. Just talk with someone, not texting, but actually talking.
- Move your bodyMoving, walking, dancing, stretching (love stretching) it all helps us to get ourselves out of our heads. Combine it with singing. Go for a walk. Do yoga or other exercises. I know that’s sometimes the last thing we want to do, but then again, sitting and stressing out is better?
- Watch your favourite tv showIf you are feeling so bad that you cannot move or sing, or make a cup of tea. (There have been times like these) Wrap yourself in the blanket and out on your favourite TV show. Something you will like and something rather positive. For those moments I love something like Friends, Gilmore Girls, Keeping up with the Kardashians. It just takes your mind away. Or your favourite movie will do. ( I always watch a movie when flying, guess why? :D)
- Eat somethingEating somehow relaxes me. I don’t know if everyone would agree, knowing how many have eating disorders. But the process of eating again takes us out of our head. Also, having a warm meal will lover your blood pressure. And probably steady your breathing, as you have to chew and swallow the food that requires more thinking that we think.
- Lavender essential oil (or others)As we may know essential oils have healing properties. Different oils are for different purposes and so is lavender. I love the smell of lavender oil and it calms you down. I think that for whatever reason when you smell something good when you are stressed out, it calms you down. Some oils lift your mood, some calms you down. Lavender is known to reduce anxiety and stress and helps to sleep. I put a few drops on my pillow before bed but also can help really well if you just sniff it a bit straight from the bottle when you are in need of something quick.
- Play a game or do a crossword puzzleThis is really effective to take your mind away from worry. It’s recommended by a therapist to use your logical brain to do something like playing a card game on your phone or crossword, word search. You want to get your mind engaged in a different way. To make it use the logical side of it. Because when we are anxious and worried, it’s our creative mind that is engaged, coming up with all the worst scenarios in our head. Other things can help too. If you are writing something, calculating, doing homework, working anything that needs focus will help.
- Read a book or a magazineIt’s a similar way as the previous one, it also engages our minds to do something else. I recommend choosing a really interesting book, that will not be boring. When we are bored our mind wanders, and we don’t want that. That’s why I sometimes prefer to read a magazine because they have short and interesting articles. Pictures and little bits to read on every page. It’s a lot more engaging sometimes than a book. But any of them will do. Even a blog or listening to a podcast. Make sure it’s interesting for you.
Here is also a very good article from Tiny Buddha – 20 reminders that will comfort you when you feel anxious. It’s really great and relatable.