Self Care for Anxiety
I recently was given the idea to set up a few different self care lists in the diary that I carry everywhere with me, so that I always have them to reference. I don’t know about you, but when I am at the peak of an anxious episode, my already spinning brain tends to have trouble coming up with ways to help my spinning brain. It’s a vicious cycle to get stuck in! So the idea here is that if I have this list with me always, my brain just has to remember to look in my diary, then past me will have laid out a nice little action plan!
So I have two lists going at the moment; Self Care for Anxiety Maintenance (things I should be doing everyday), & Self Care for Anxiety Emergencies (things to do when anxiety strikes).
Self Care for Anxiety Maintenance
Daily Exercise: This doesn’t have to be strenuous! Just move your body! It helps to release nervous energy, which if left to build up often leads to physical anxiety symptoms such as nausea, restlessness, and shaky legs for me. Even a little bit of movement is better than nothing! You can go for a little walk, stretch, or do some yoga, it doesn’t need to be an intensive cardio workout!
Nourish Your Body: I know that I always feel better both mentally and physically when I feed my body food that it is asking for. For instance, I know that my body has trouble processing lactose so I do try to avoid it. However, I have a habit of giving in to my love of cheese, and the result of this is me crouched over a toilet bowl with a heat pack feeling sorry for myself, and this is not good for my physical body, or my state of mind lets be honest!
Read: I often convince myself that I just don’t have time to read. That is just bull#@! Judy! Seriously even 5 minutes before I go to sleep, reading one or two pages of a book can make such a difference to my wellbeing. It is so much calmer than scrolling through social media until I doze off, and 9/10 times I will have a better sleep too! and believe it or not, quality of sleep is a huge contributing factor to how anxious I may or may not be feeling on any given day.
Journal: As I said earlier, I always have a notebook or diary on me! So there is absolutely no excuse for me to not journal. I will write out whatever I am feeling, no matter how insignificant I may think it seems, because eventually a bunch of small little things can build to one massive anxious episode!
Days Off: I honestly just need to remember that days off are sacred. I think sometimes I forget that I am a human who needs to rest, and I try to go 100 miles per hour, scheduling things for every day of the week. Then it all comes to a halt when I completely burn myself out and need to take a week off work in order to recover. It’s such a vicious cycle that I can get stuck in, and I am trying really hard to make a conscious effort to give myself 2 days off a week, so that I can maintain my mental state and not burn out.
Self care for anxiety emergencies
Breathe: Just stop for a second. Take some time to breathe. If you can, go outside and sit in nature while taking some deep breaths. There are also some amazing apps like calm and headspace that can help you with these breathing techniques.
Fidget: I LOVE MY TANGLE TOY. It’s always sitting in the bottom of my handbag waiting for when anxiety strikes. I get super restless and fidgety when I’m anxious, and so these tangle toys are really good for keeping my hands busy
Journal: I know this was in my first section for maintenance, but it’s super helpful to be bale to write stuff down when you’re in the midst of anxiety! It just helps to separate yourself from the thoughts
Talk: Find someone that you trust, and open up. Sometimes just having someone listen to you is an amazing relief. Just saying the thoughts that are going around your head out loud, can make you realise that your thoughts aren’t reality. The power of hearing your thoughts out loud, and having them repeated back to is such a healing process.
Let me know in the comments what you would put on your anxiety self care lists!