This is my second post for Mental Health Awareness week and in this one I’m going to share some tips that I’ve learnt over the past couple of years to help me manage my anxiety, there is definitely more I could be doing but these are a couple of things that work for me.
I’ve done a post previously talking about my anxiety and the all consuming nature it takes when it decides to invade my life and head space for a while, so in this post I’m going to talk a little about how I manage it.
So, my top tips for managing anxiety:
Get enough sleep – for me, this is the most important one. In lockdown I really started focusing on getting enough sleep and going to bed at a reasonable time, now that I’ve focused on that for an extended period of time I really notice how much it helps keep my anxiety at bay. I’ve never really focused on sleep or realised it’s importance until now. I think my whole life I’ve always lived it feeling slightly tired, and kind of just accepted that that is life! Before lockdown I would probably only get around 6 hours sleep a night but I’m now realising that is no where near enough for me to perform at my best! Since focusing on my sleep, I’ve noticed I am so much more productive, I’m in much better moods, and I just personally feel like a better version of myself.
Drink less alcohol – I’m definitely not the only person that gets hangxiety or the sunday scaries whatever you want to call them, I think most people do. When I drink alcohol my anxiety is sooo much worse and not just the following day but for the following couple of days, which then makes me not feel my best self at work the following week (which I hate). I think I notice this even more now than ever before, after having barely drunk the whole way throughout lockdown and really focusing on my sleep I notice the anxious cloud hanging over my head so much more when I’m hungover and tired.
Exercise – I feel like lots and lots of people bang on about the importance of exercise for your mental health, and rightly so, but the thing about exercise is that it doesn’t immediately improve you mental health, not in the same way that getting enough sleep and not drinking as much does. I feel like I always used to hear people talk about how good exercise is for your mental health but I just didn’t get it. For me, the impact of exercise on my mental health has been much more of a gradual thing that I have noticed over time . I think it’s a mixture of consistency and getting my endorphins up more regularly that make exercise feel so important to my mental health. As I’ve become more consistent with my exercise over the past year I now really notice the difference when I don’t exercise for a couple of days, I get really agitated.
Get outside – this is something I know really immediately helps my head when my thoughts are feeling a bit heavy but I am really bad at putting this into practice for some reason. I think it’s because I just feel a bit stupid going on a walk with no real purpose? Who knows.
Meditation – this is one that I am really not good at doing. When I am feeling really anxious I do take some time to focus on my breathing, but I don’t spend time meditating or putting a more long term practice into place – I tend to just jump to focusing on my breathing as a last resort when my anxiety is really bad. But I think that the positive effect of meditation on mental health is similar to that of exercise, it doesn’t help immediately, but over longer periods of time it starts to have a really positive impact on your mental health and your breathing help calm you down before you get stressed and is a preventative method, rather than reactive.
Time away from phone – again, another one I am really bad at but that I am sure if I implemented more would help my anxiety loads. We live in a world where we are constantly connected and our brain is over stimulated pretty much all the time, we never have time to be bored because we can fill empty hours with mindless scrolling rather than doing nothing (Matt Haig talks about this so well in his books and on podcasts). Time away from your phone allows you to be free to think about absolutely anything rather than filling your mind with negative news stories or comparing yourself to other people on Instagram.
As well as this obviously talking to someone about how your feeling always helps, whether that be therapy or just talking to a friend. So these are a couple of my tips that help me and if you’ve feeling anxious I hope they can help you too! Also, if you’ve got any other tips, please share.
If you feel like you need further help with your anxiety, minds website has some really good tips that you can find here.
Thanks for reading, Chloe x