For as long as I can remember I have lived with anxiety. I don’t exactly know what caused it or if anything did. When I was a teenager everyone just thought I was shy and quiet but as I got older I began asking more questions and taking care of my mental health. So many people are open about this topic now (which is AMAZING) but for a long time, it was quite a taboo subject and something that wasn’t really talked about. Now that I’m in my early-to-mid twenties I have figured out how to cope with my anxiety, so that it doesn’t impact my day-to-day life. In case somebody out there might find it useful, I have decided to jot down everything that has helped me.
Disclaimer: Everybody’s mental health is different so not all of these points will necessarily help you and if you are really struggling, please seek help from a medical professional.
UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPTING
First of all, before I could begin looking into ways that could help my anxiety, I had to understand what it was and accept it. It took me a long time because I always felt like I was alone in feeling this way. I struggled a lot with social anxiety growing up but none of my friends ever seemed to understand, so I just felt like I was ‘weird’. But, as I got older and met new people, I realised how common it is. Once I knew there was a reason for how I was feeling, it was a lot easier to deal with.
Having anxiety can make the smallest things difficult, which can be different for everybody, and sometimes it can seem unimaginable to complete anything beyond this. However, I have found that the only way my anxiety gets better is by challenging and pushing myself to do something that makes me feel uncomfortable (I am currently taking trapeze lessons). This can be really hard at first but once I’ve done it, I feel so good about myself, which can do wonders for my confidence.
TOP, SHACKET, SHOES, EARRINGS – TOPSHOP, BAG – PAUL’S BOUTIQUE,
I know this is heavily spoken about and when I suggest doing yoga to help with anxiety, most people will just roll their eyes. BUT, it honestly has worked for me. It doesn’t have to be yoga but doing something that lets you escape from your everyday thoughts and focus on something with targets and goals can be extremely therapeutic. If I ever miss a yoga class I can feel a huge difference in my anxiety and stress levels.
HOBBIES AND PASSIONS
I have also found that having a purpose outside of work and having something to be excited about can be extremely beneficial for my mental wellbeing. At the minute I love painting, reading and writing. It is another way to have something to aim for and having a creative outlet really helps me remain positive.
BEING OPEN AND HONEST
In my opinion, surrounding yourself with good people who love you is the best way to get you through any difficult times. I have had bad experiences with opening up to people who didn’t understand and weren’t helpful or sympathetic, and it can be really disheartening. However, finding people who you can trust and will listen to you, really can do wonders. Being open and honest with them will hopefully lead to you accepting any issues you may have, so that you can help yourself.
GETTING MEDICAL HELP
As well as having anxiety, I have also suffered from depression. Again, I didn’t realise it at the time but luckily I had good people around me who had been through it before and could see I needed help. This time, I decided to see a doctor and get some medical help which really did help me get out of a difficult time. Medication isn’t always the best option for everyone so it is definitely worth discussing this with a doctor.
Medication really did help me but… it can only do so much. Sometimes there are deeper routed issues that you really need to deal with in order to move on. Seeing a therapist can seem quite daunting and intimidating, but speaking to somebody with an outside perspective who will not judge you, can be a huge help. A lot of counsellors have different methods, so you may want to think about what would be most beneficial to you and what you would like to achieve from your sessions. There is also therapy online or over the phone, if you aren’t ready to speak to somebody face to face.
As mentioned above, everybody’s experience with mental health can be completely different but I hope you find some of these points helpful and if you have any tips of your own, please let me know! x