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27.4.17

Eight things to do when you feel Anxious and/or Depressed




Either anxiety is getting worse for everyone recently or people are just getting better at talking about it. I really hope that it's the latter. My own struggles with anxiety are well documented here and so I thought I'd share a few of the things that I have found help when I'm starting to feel overwhelmed and panicked. They all start with one easy step - unplug. Ironic, since I'm typing away at my laptop right now but important all the same. The amount of information we take in on a conscious and unconscious level every day is mammoth. Enough to fill our heads like sand in an egg timer, leaving only a small cramped space for our own thoughts 


Go for a walk 



Again, unplug. Leave your phone at home and go and find a nice green space somewhere quiet and peaceful to expend some of that manic, anxious energy. This is especially important now, during Spring and during any transition of the seasons. The feeling that time is slipping away from me is common feature of my anxiety, often the sense of my own insignificance in the world and the passage of time is overwhelming. If I get stuck in the "In 100 years I'll be dead and everyone I love and know will be dead" headspace then it's game over for days. Being outside as the seasons change and noting these changes for myself helps me to anchor myself and to stay present in the now. I like to walk to somewhere with food  


Bake a cake 

Or cook anything really. Or paint or sculpt or photograph or papier-mâché. Just make something because the point here is that you need to manifest your anxious brain activity into creating something palpable, something you can be proud of. A cake, a piece of art, anything that allows you to channel that terrifying faceless, manic energy that's currently rattling around your head into something real and beautiful



Have a bath 



But REALLY have a bath, do not half-ass this. Do not Chandler Bing this. Treat your bath as a mini pampering session. Buy a nice bath oil or bubblebath, light a lovely candle, pour yourself a glass of wine, put some music on. Make the experience as relaxing as you possibly can and for the love of god leave your phone outside of the bathroom in the interests on both sanity and safety 


Read a book 

This may sound like a really easy one but it can often be really hard to concentrate on those first few pages, we are so used to having so many tabs open in our brain and multi-tasking our way through life that the simple skill of concentrating on one single thing can slip away from us. Halfway through sentence three my mind has usually slipped off the page and back to the tasks I didn't get finished at work, the washing I forgot to hang up and that weird rash on my right knee. Reading helps me learn and relearn to focus on one task at a time 


Watch a film 



Again, treat it like a mini-pampering session. I'm talking snuggly blankets, drinks, have some friends round and turn it into a real event. Make yourself a healthy or unhealthy snack really just immerse yourself in the experience for a few hours. I feel like so much of the time we spend with our friends is pre-planned and highly organised as we move through our mid-twenties. Gone are the "Do you want to hang out" days of our teenage years and all that pre-planning and organisation is an anxiety storm waiting to happen


Book a massage 

If you're own at-home, mini-pamper sessions just aren't cutting it then it's time to call in the professionals. Go and get a massage and let the masseuse work on your anxious muscles while you use the quiet time to work some stuff out in your head. Pedicures and Manicures also work, the idea is to look after yourself in some way on the outside so that you can start work on the inside too  


Buy flowers and/or houseplants



So much of our anxiety pivots around technology, social media, the unnatural and the man-made. Having a beautiful plant or a colourful bunch of flowers to look at instantly lifts my mood, the very act of selecting plants and flowers is soothing to me. I try to visit actual florists and invest in the selection process of every stem as a focused and calming exercise. The houseplants section of a Garden Centre is also an underrated sanctuary, they are unexpectedly uplifting places to wile away a half hour. If you see me crouching by the trailing succulents please just leave me to whatever existential crisis I'm currently battling  


Write it down 

Sometimes my anxiety boils down to the simple fact that I have way too much going on in my head because, as usual, I have taken on too many commitments. Train-of-thought writing helps, literally just writing anything and everything that enters my head down on a piece of paper (usually in scrawled, barely legible handwriting)  and then sorting through the gibberish to make some sort of list of priorities. Doing this makes me realise that 70% of the things I'm anxious about either aren't really my problem or cannot be helped or influenced by my actions at all. I like the rip this part of the list off and eat it

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I hope my tips have helped? Have you got any tips that you can share? 


3 comments:

  1. I've forgotten to buy flowers for weeks now, and this post has just reminded me of what's missing from my office! Having them there makes me feel so much brighter and calmer

    Steph - www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

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  2. Great post, a walk always does the trick for me. Especially because I live near the sea and it's such a happiness boost for me!

    Hannah | Oh January

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  3. These are great tips! I'm gonna have a bath later I think and treat myself to some lovely flowers too. I hate feeling anxious and it stops me doing things in my life. I look for these type of posts to lift me and remember I'm not the only one so thank you!

    Holly x

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