10 Ways To Help Keep Anxiety At Bay This Christmas

The festive season can be the most wonderful time of the year. But it can also be one of the most stressful times of the year. From the financial strain of buying presents, attending events and social gatherings and treating your loved ones, to the social anxieties the festive season and all of the parties brings. It certainly requires some strength from within. So, how do you keep anxiety at bay this Christmas?

  1. Say no if you need to. If an event or party is giving you more grief than what it’s worth, then just say no. I don’t mean shutting yourself away from the rest of the World and pushing people away, but really question the situation that is making you worry; is it worth it? This time of the year there are always events and situations that we push ourselves to be in and yet really we gain nothing from it but our own torture and upset. Learn to gracefully say no but don’t worry about letting people down, you do need to look after number one.
  2. Don’t put yourself under financial strain. If you can’t afford to do or buy something, then just don’t do it or buy it. People will understand if they are genuine people in your life. As for children, they far more appreciate the presence of a parent rather than the presents.
  3. Make time for yourself. It is so essential to press pause on plans and life to take care of yourself, especially this time of the year. If you fancy binge watching that Netflix show you’ve had on your list for months, or fancy a luscious bath or just want to curl up on your bed and read a book then please do that. Set a date with yourself for yourself.
  4. Keep a balance with food. Yes indulge, it is Christmas time after all! And don’t feel bad about it- this festive period and the indulgant food only comes round once a year so go for it. But, keep a balance- keep eating those healthy veggies and fruit because the vitamins and goodness from them really will help boost your mental health. Also, make sure you keep hydrated and drink plenty.
  5. If you’re currently in treatment for CBT or counselling, then do keep up with your treatment and sessions. Although it is a manic time of year, it is vital to keep yourself and your mental health as a priority and the more you do the techniques you’re taught, the easier life will become. You may even find the techniques help with the situations you’re dealt with this time of year.
  6. Don’t stress the small stuff. If you are busting a gut and feeling drained to try and get every little thing done for everyone, then just stop. Stop stressing; your friends and family will not judge you at all and will still love you dearly.  Sometimes, you just have to breathe and let it all just be. Everything will fall into place. If you constantly stress about the small things then the holidays will fly by and you won’t have enjoyed a single moment of it.
  7. The simple things in life will bring you the most joy. You’ll soon realise that actually, it’s the small, simple things in life that will create happiness for you. That little walk down the road, looking at the twinkling Christmas lights in the houses you past, or the smell of the festive drink from the coffee shop. Look for the small subtle things in each day and the magic of Christmas will soon shine through.
  8. Create reminders. I find that this time of year requires endless lists of everything you have to remember. From sending those Christmas cards, swapping presents, attending social events and school events. When I’m stressed, I end up almost going into survival instinct mode, where I just focus on what I have to do there and then to get by. This can be detrimental when it comes to forgetting things. So, as soon as something pops into your head, set a reminder on your phone for when you need it to go off. These reminders have saved my butt several times over the past few weeks.
  9. Seek comfort in your close ones. You’ll find that friends and family are also feeling the strain of this time of the year, so grab a coffee with them and have a rant and a rave. Offloading and bonding over it all with those you love will give you that warm cosy feeling that this time of year is all about.
  10. Remember it will all soon be over. As hard as the holidays are, they fly by. And actually for me, it is my favourite time of the year, despite how overwhelming they can be. That’s why I am going to be letting go of what doesn’t matter and holding on to those small, simple and subtle moments that this wonderful time of year brings. I am going to be festive, fun and find the happiness in the little moments. I am not going to let this overwhelm me and try to people please so much that I forget myself; so remember- it doesn’t last long. Blink and it’ll all soon be over.

What do you dread about this time of year? What do you look forward to? Have you got any Holiday mental health boosting tips to share? Pop a comment in the box, I would love to hear from you.

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I will not be blogging over the Christmas holidays, as I will be spending every last minute with my family and just having a well deserved break from it all. However, I will be back at the end of next month with a new post for you all. In the mean time, do follow us on social media; the links are above, for more mini doses of Me Against Myself. Thank you. Until next time, I wish you all A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy Anxious Free New Year!

8 Tips To Help You Cope With Change

Recently I went through a big life change. Moving house.
Now, change has often been worrisome for me. But since I started suffering with anxiety, it is terrifying. It’s a leap into the unknown. It’s not feeling at home, comfortable, in charge. It goes against everything I try to daily enforce in my life to ensure calm and to feel “on top” of things. It’s brave.
I’ve been searching for a new home for a few years now. I knew as a family it would benefit us to move closer to my Son’s schools and also I felt like over the past couple of years we had outgrown our humble abode. Yet every time I loaded RightMove I was reluctant and I was picky. I knew whatever I chose, I had to be sure of because I knew how much the change would affect me. Then I found this place. And me and my husband viewed it, then I got this feeling. I just knew this was going to be our future. And so I took that leap.
Change terrifies me. It really unsettled me. I still don’t feel ‘at home’ now, but I know that will come with time. Here are some tips on how I have handled the change;
  1. Make lists. Making lists is something I do all of the time anyway, it keeps me feeling like I have a sense of control and I feel organised and my thoughts aren’t so cluttered and floating free. I’ve got a few lists on the go now but it’s been essential for me during this change. I have always been a list maker. I do it for everything, big and small; from Christmas shopping lists to what housework needs doing, tasks I need doing on my blog to places I want to visit with my children throughout the year. Having my lists handy over the past few weeks has been so helpful to me.
  2. Keep in as much of a ‘normal’ routine as possible. It soon became apparent to me that nothing was going to be normal as I knew it again. We had moved. Our routines would naturally change because of this, but still the first week was awful because I just wasn’t trying to get into a routine. When week 2 began, I knew that the most important thing to do, would be to create some sort of normality through routine. Which we did, and immediately I felt better. No, things will never be the same again as they were a month ago, but they can still be good. You do what you can from the old, but tweak it with the new.
  3. Accept help. In whatever way you need. I had a thousand things to do one day, but my husband ran me a bath and told me to go soak myself instead. I listened, and I am thankful for that pause and helping hand that I was given. My friends and family have been so supportive over the past few weeks and have been helping in the ways that they can. I also, I’m not ashamed to admit it, but have started counselling again. I have never taken anti-depressants, although I see nothing wrong with those and I believe they help so many people so should be used where they can help. So my way of getting help is by talking it through with someone trained to give me help, advice and techniques that I can use. These new techniques of calming my worries down have really been invaluable. I am thankful that I had help available to me.
  4. Indulge in yourself. In a time of change, it’s important to look after yourself. Watch that chick flick, go out with friends, read a book or take a bath. Have some time to yourself. Life is forever changing so it’s important to ground yourself from time to time and rediscover you. You can never feel guilty about looking after number one.
  5. Acceptance. Realise that nothing will be the same again. Autumn is a fantastic metaphor for this. Every year the trees shed their leaves, the breeze lifts them off the branches and they let go. What happens a few months later, new leaves grow. I have been using this metaphor a lot lately, it’s helped that my change has also come over Autumn. But I have to accept the change. Let go of what has been and look forward to a fresh start and what’s coming next. This applies to everything; friendships, relationships and happiness. Nothing is guaranteed to stay. But the best thing to do, is learn to let go, accept what is and what will be and be grateful for what is left.
  6. Take one day at a time. I was very naive when we moved and thought that by the next day, we would be cleaned up, unpacked, tidied with homely things put on the walls. 2 and a half weeks later and there’s still a list of ‘to-do’s. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say. Things take time. I realise that now. I need to practise patience a lot more. To be honest as well, by taking it one day at a time, I am reflecting more on the journey and it can be quite exciting. Small steps.
  7. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I found it so easy to get caught up in all of the stressful situations that moving and change brought me. I was stressing over everything. So many things went wrong and then naturally my mind was racing with negativity. Now, I am slowly getting there with settling down, I realise that every little thing does not need to be analysed and stressed over. If I can not fix a problem, I should not worry about it. Instead I should focus my energy in the tasks at hand. I’ve actually gotten pretty good at this now. And when I really need to worry, I use ‘Worry Time’ to do so.
  8. Be kind to yourself. It has been a rollercoaster couple of weeks. I have had so much thrown at me- as life goes, we all get it- and I wasn’t being too kind on myself. I’ve made mistakes over the past couple of weeks, I’ve gotten snappy and on edge about things. But do you know what? That’s ok. I forgive myself. We all make mistakes. Nothing is dandy all of the time and we can’t always be perfect. All I can do is try my best. Now change is horrible and daunting for anybody, but as I find anxiety difficult at times, for my it’s the worst. Not only that, but moving has been listed as one of the top situations to cause stress and anxieties. So no wonder I’ve not felt myself! But now, I am being kind to myself. It’s been a couple of weeks and I am getting used to it all now, now it’s time to wipe the slate clean, have a fresh start and BE KIND to myself.

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Have you been through a change in your life lately? How did you cope with it? Have you got some tips you could share in the comment box? I would love to hear from you. Don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on social media too, (links are above).

Thank you.

 

10 Tips to Help Reduce the January Blues

Anyone that knows me well, knows that I am Christmas obsessed. So it comes as no surprise that at the end of November all the way until Boxing Day, I am at the peak of my happiness. And anyone that knows me well, knows that once New Years hits, I’m, well the opposite. It shouldn’t affect me like this, it’s ridiculously silly. But I love Christmas and everything about it. It, to some extent, drowns everything out and makes me feel all jolly. Well, it is the most wonderful time of the year afterall!
So come January, I feel lost. I sort of want to count down the 300 and 50 something sleeps to go. But I know I can’t live my life happy for only 1 month and sad for 11. Even though my youngest little boy, who seems to be taking after me with my post Christmas blues, said he will do.
As a mother, and an anxiety buster- I must make the rest of the year just as amazing. Which, when you do tend to suffer with anxiety and dwell on the negative, is a tough thing to do. But 2018 taught me a lot about myself and life. And perhaps it doesn’t have to be so bad, as long as I work hard on improving myself and my life.
My New Years resolutions will be to lose weight, stop chasing people and waiting for their replies, work on my anxiety busting goals and to work hard to become self employed.
But what can I do now? What can I do right now to make sure that I can overcome these January blues?
  1. Make some positive plans for the future. For me, if I have something to look forward to, even if it’s something small– I am able to focus on that. So this month, we are trying to book a weekend away to see some family and friends. I’ll also book in some dates to see some friends this month for a coffee. In terms of longer plans, I’ll start thinking of things to do this spring/ summer with my children. A very positive thing that we have already done this month is book a holiday for this Summer.
  2. Have a little ‘me’ time. I intend to schedule in short bursts of time throughout the week, to do something different that I will enjoy. This could range from baking, having a bath, painting my nails to having a de-clutter. Every little helps to re-energise my soul and boost my mental health.
  3. Eating healthily and drinking more water. This speaks for itself. The healthier I can be, the more my body will feel better and reward myself.
  4. Spend time working on my physical space. I don’t know about you, but a less cluttered and homely looking home makes me feel better mentally. I have started by writing in my diary when I will do a sort out and deep clean of each room; I usually tackle one room a month so it’s not taking up too much of my time, but I’ve also written a list of what needs doing over the next couple of weeks. I’ve had a thorough clean since Christmas and we got some new furniture so I’m in the process of having a bit of a sort out and organising. I already feel a lot better and mentally decluttered.
  5. Although I find it hard to think ahead, to some degree I do map out my year and what I want to do when roughly. For example, we will be going to visit family a few times this year. I also want to take my family to London for a weekend trip, so I’ll figure a few things out that will be positive. I also roughly map out when certain tasks need completing.
  6. Start the new year with some anxiety busting hacks, like worry time or writing down positives at the end of the day.
  7. Get enough sleep. I have been guilty of burning the candles at both ends this Christmas time, so it’s time I got into a good routine of early to bed and early to rise so that I am ready to face the day and achieve as much as I can do.
  8. Don’t expect too much too soon. Going from a festive, jolly season to welcoming the January blues- it’s a tough time for us all. So don’t expect to feel on top of the world straight away. Just take one day at a time.
  9. Get on Netflix and watch some of their fantastic shows and films. Something that has helped me over the past couple of weeks has been to have some TV to look forward to at the end of the day. I will work through my jobs as quick as I can, knowing that come evening time I can curl up in my PJs and stick a binge-worthy show on. This month so far we have watched; Sabrina, The Haunting of Hill House, You, Bird Box and Black Mirror; Bandersnatch.
  10. Take up a new hobby. For me, I love cross stitch, sewing and baking so I have made sure that in those times that I need to do something for myself, I have these to focus on and enjoy.

I hope that these 10 tips for beating the January blues helps. January is a dull and dreary month for many, so it’s best if we take it day by day and we make the most of these cosy winter days and evenings. Don’t take it so seriously. We’re half way through winter, Summer sunshine will be here before we know it. This month be selfish. Buy yourself that outfit. Go out and watch the latest movie at the cinema. Make plans with friends. Curl up with a cup of tea and Netflix. Find something small to achieve each day to give the days purpose and meaning. Find something small each day to enjoy to give the day pleasure and joy.

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Let me know how your January is going and if you’re managing to beat the blues. Also click on the links above to give me a follow on social media, for more updates and tips on how to overcome anxiety. Thank you.

8 Steps On What To Do When You’re In A Slump

Sometimes life can leave you feeling a bit drained, like your glass is half empty and you can feel mentally exhausted. I’ve had my fair share of days like this. Days where all I have wanted to do is hide away from life and not face up to my day to day routines. Some days I feel like the World is against me. I feel those around me slipping away. I feel myself slipping into this anxiety swamp. So, what do I do when I’m in a slump, what should you do when you’re in a slump?

  • Take a long walk in nature. Breathe in the fresh crisp air and look at the beautiful nature around you. There is so much beauty in this world if we really open up to it.
  • Aromatherapy. The best essential oils for anxiety are Lavender, Camomile, Rose and Frankincense. You can also get some great essential oil packs on Amazon aimed directly at improving Mental Health.
  • Phone a friend or family member. Even if you don’t know how to explain how you feel, the company will help. Talk about anything even the weather. At times, socialising with anxiety can feel overwhelming, but it is also important to push through as it does help.
  • Watch some TV or a feel good movie. Personal favourites are The Greatest Showman and Stepbrothers. Escapism is a great way of feeling better and just putting a pause on life until you are more rested and ready to face everyday life again.
  • Eat healthily. Treat your body to some fruit and vegetables. Why not make some energy balls? Try to cook from scratch if you can. Reward your hard-working body with healthy and wholesome food.
  • Read a book. The DARE book is amazing and I can not recommend it enough. It really does help to gain an insight into how the brain works and help you to start facing anxiety. This will give you a mental boost and a sense of new hope.
  • Have a deep relaxing bath. Lush have a great range of environmentally friendly products. Here is a great bath bomb that will relax you and make you feel like a Goddess. 
  • Do some decluttering or cleaning. Decluttering your physical space does wonders to help declutter your mind. This book looks good, it’s definitely one I would want to read soon. 

I find that when I’m in a slump with my anxiety and mood, I just need to pick something and do it. But also, sometimes it’s ok to accept that I’m having a slump and just let it be for a bit. I never let myself dwell in my low mood for too long, but sometimes just laying on the bed and thinking things through, or sitting still with my thoughts isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It all makes me stronger in the end. But once I’ve sat with my thoughts and had a bad mood for a bit, it’s time to pick one of the activities and then the next and work my way through till I’m out of that slump.

I hope this blog post has helped you. If it has, it would mean so much if you could like or share it on social media. Also pop a comment in the box, I would love to hear from you. Don’t forget to follow me on social media too (links are above)

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Do This 1 Thing Each Day To Help Anxiety

What if I told you, you could change your perspective and help with your anxiety within two weeks by doing one thing each day? This one simple thing can help improve your anxiety and mental health in such a short space of time.

Anxiety is such a consuming, scary thing to suffer with.

At times I can feel myself drowning with all of my stresses and worries pushing and shoving me further under. At times it’s hard to feel that there is a way out. Sometimes though, just by building one simple activity into a routine, it can make the world of difference.

The activity is simple.

Each night, find a time to reflect on your day. Try to find a nice quiet location, or just lay in bed quietly pondering the events of the day. To be honest, this was something I was doing each night anyway, but instead of seeing positives, all I could draw out was the negatives. What if so and so found me annoying at the school gates? Oh, I forgot to tackle THAT item on my to do list. Did I show enough affection to my husband and children? Could I have been healthier today?

This activity changes your thought patterns.

It takes 11 times of doing something new to change a habit. Do this for 11 days in a row and soon your will start to change your thought patterns and behaviours. So, instead of dwelling on all of the negatives and over analysing what you should or shouldn’t have done, focus on the good. Then eventually, your mind will learn to recognise the good more naturally.

If it helps, even try to write down four good things that have happened each day.

Is that it?

Yes, it really is as simple as focusing on 4 good things that have happened that day. Repeat this everyday for a few weeks and soon your brain will start to naturally draw itself to the good of the day rather than dwelling and ruminating on the bad.

But I find it hard to think about anything good that’s happened.

Although the task is simple, it doesn’t make it easy. Having suffered with anxiety for the last few years, I find it really difficult to pull the good out of a bad day. Some days it feels like the whole world is against you, you question your social life, you question your future and you dwell on your past. But, there are even positives to having anxiety.  Sometimes all you need is to practice a new skill that can help grow and strengthen you as a person. That’s what this task aims to do.

Recognising the four good things.

When it comes to listing the 4 good things from each day, don’t try to only focus on the big things. Most of the time, it’s the small and simple things in life that mean the most. Perhaps something big did happen, like a job promotion or you went to a social event which you loved. But maybe it was something small, like fresh bedsheets on the bed or it was the night of your favourite TV show so you curled up to watch, for me it’s The Walking Dead, with a cup of delicious hot chocolate. Keep open minded and just find four good things each day. No matter how big or small.

Soon you’ll find that your mind begins to open up to doing this and it will get easier to find four good things that have happened each day, in fact some days you will be able to list far more than four.

So why not give this a go? Try this one simple, non time consuming activity each and every night for the next few weeks and see how much your anxiety and overall mental health improves.

Have you tried this activity before? Pop a comment below, I would love to hear from you. Also don’t forget to follow me on Facebook (Link is above) If you liked this post and found it helpful then please do give it a like and a share on social media. It would mean the world! Thank you.

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12 Tips On How To Cope With Anxiety

I’ve been suffering with anxiety for four years now. Over the years, I have had to create tips and tricks on how to deal with it. Somedays my anxiety is harder to deal with than others, but over time, I have done a lot of research into what can help. I have found a few methods and tips on how to deal with anxiety affectively; I will list these below.
  1. Worry time. When I was doing research on anxiety I came across the notion of worry time. I am guilty of worrying too much during the day. And sometimes when I’m feeling anxious, the worries will just keep coming. Well, once I’d read about worry time, I felt like this could be controlled a lot more. Basically anytime through the day, if a worry pops into your head, write it down on a notepad or notes on your phone (so keep it close by) then draw your attention back to your current task at hand or if you’re not doing anything, find something to do. Then when it comes to the evening, set 10 minutes aside at the end of each day. Put the timer on and sit down with your notes. This 10 minutes is your worry time to go over the worries that have popped into your mind during the day. You can then reflect and sort these worries out.
  2. Take it one day at a time. Sometimes when I look at my diary, I can feel very overwhelmed about what’s to come three weeks or months ahead, depending what I have on. When I went for CBT before, I learnt the importance of pushing myself and making plans and sticking to them so I’ve always gone ahead and made plans, even ones I feel slightly uncomfortable with. I do this to push the boundaries of my anxieties in the hopes that it will help me further along, but in the meantime, some of the plans can be quite daunting and scary. So the best thing I find, is not to look ahead to much. Obviously it’s important to know what I have going on in the coming days, but more often than not, it is far easier just taking one day at a time. So when I wake up in the morning all have to know is that I just have to get through that day and those plans. I try not to look ahead too much.
  3. Writing lists. I love making lists, I make them about everything. My list can be about daily chores I have to do, shopping list, to then if I’m feeling anxious or worried about anything I will write a list about that. The lists then help me to organise my thoughts better. By seeing them on paper, I am able to visualise and begin to make a plan on how I go about making my way through what is written down, whether that is organising my to do’s into when I should complete each task or where I can buy the things I need in the shops. Or if it is about my anxious thoughts, I can then make my way through them and figure things out how to make me feel happier and more comfortable with those. Decluttering your mind is just as important as decluttering your physical space. So making lists helps to organise your thoughts and even your daily tasks so that you feel more organised and your mind is less cluttered and busy trying to work through everything it needs to.
  4. Doing research. Since suffering with anxiety, I have read a few different books that have really helped me, not just mindfulness ones. Some of the books I have read are as follows; ‘Overcoming Low Self Esteem‘, ‘DARE‘, ‘The Little Book of Mindfulness‘ and ‘Mindfulness in Eight Weeks‘. Having done some research, I have learnt so much about my brain, anxiety and depression. Learning about it does really help to move you forward in life with more wisdom and knowledge about what you’re suffering with. I think because I’ve learnt so much, I have also learnt a lot about myself and that has helped my anxieties a lot. I have some other books ready on my shelf to read- make sure you follow my Facebook page and subscribe to the blog to see how I get on with those. I can’t wait to be able to read all of them and learn even more. Hopefully I’ll be able to help myself and help all of you as well.
  5. Turn to those you love. I am so lucky and grateful to have a great home team around me. These are the people that have my back. The ones I can call when I need them. My family and husband are so supportive and even if they do think I’m silly, I can always turn to them and know that I will be spoken to with truth but with love. This is incredibly important. Reach out to those around you and bond with them.
  6. Seek help elsewhere if you need it. If you’re really struggling with your mental health, don’t be afraid to go to your GP’s and explain how you’re feeling and why you are struggling. Some areas in the U.K. have fantastic mental health services that you can use. There are also other charities such as Mind , Heads Together, and the number to phone the Samaritans is 116 123 (UK). Don’t feel like getting help is something to be ashamed of. Some people struggle with their diets and exercising regime, so they seek out nutritionalists or personal trainers. Others may turn to sleep coaches to help sleep train their children. Seeking mental health help is so important. Don’t suffer alone. I have been through my local mental health services a couple of times and the help and support I have been given has been invaluable. I’m not ashamed about it as it has helped me to grow and improve and thankfully i’ve done this without needing antidepressants.
  7. Schedule in some me time. It’s really important to give yourself some tlc from time to time. Give yourself a glorious bubble bath with a scented candle.
  8. Go on a nature walk. There is something about nature that really soothes the soul and helps to ground you. Take in the scenery and be mindful.
  9. Escapism. I truly believe in a good bit of escapism- that can be through films, tv programmes or reading an enjoyable book. Don’t stick anything too depressing on but rather something that can absorb your attention and give you that escapism from life for those few moments.
  10. Cut out negative toxic people. I have had my fair share of toxic people in my life. They would make me constantly over-analyse everything to do with our friendship. Suddenly it hit me, that the days I felt so down and ashamed- were because of the way they were treating me. Sometimes toxic behaviour isn’t obvious, but when you spot it, cut it out. You will feel rubbish for a while but after that distance from those people, you will feel tons better.
  11. Don’t over do things. I can be so guilty of this, I end up cramming so much into my weeks or pushing my boundaries too much in one go. It’s good to push yourself, it’s good to try new things- just don’t over do it because it will leave you both mentally and physically exhausted and that leaves the barrier down for an anxiety flare up to happen.
  12. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. Alcohol isn’t advised when you suffer with anxiety, although whilst you’re drinking it you feel merry enough, usually anxiety peaks after an evening or night drinking. I still have a glass or two of my favourite, Tia Maria and Coke, but I never over-do it or drink often.
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I hope these tips have been helpful for you to read. What tips would you give to fellow anxiety sufferers or to anyone to help boost their mental health? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you. Also please do share and like this post on Facebook- we need to spread the message that it’s ok not to be ok.
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The 6 Positives To Having Anxiety

Monty Python always taught us to always look on the bright side of life. I think a positive attitude and a positive outlook on life is key to tackling anxiety. So instead of being a pessimist, I always try to be a bit more optimistic. So, I am trying to see that sometimes, but not all of the time, having anxiety can be a good thing. So what do I believe are the positives to having anxiety?

Strength

At times even though I feel that I am a failure, that things aren’t going right in my life and that I’m not worthy of good things, there are other days when I realise that all of this has given me a strength inside me that is huge. To have anxiety and worry so much and feel so nervous about doing certain things and going to certain places, but still doing those things and going to those places shows that I do have strength inside me. Despite feeling all of these anxious symptoms, feeling this dread, anguish and having physical symptoms that come with it, I’m still strong enough most of the time to go and I still turn up. I still tackle everything in life that I can. So actually by having this anxiety most days, but still getting on with the ins and outs of everything, I have strength. I am strong.

Appreciation For The Good Days

There is a massive appreciation for the good days. I am lucky to be in a place where I have been working on my anxiety for a few years now and so I have a lot more good days than I have bad days. However, there are still some pretty bad days that I have where the anxiety will consume me and I worry about everything in my future, I start dwelling on my past, and it all feels just too much. But what this teaches me, is to have an appreciation for those good days. When I have a good day and when things are going right in my life, when I have good friends around me, when I’m feeling happy and good things are happening, I am so grateful and thankful that these things are in my life. A lot of people just bumble through life day by day, nothing really changes. They don’t necessarily see how good things are in front of them and sometimes when they’ve had a rubbish week obviously they will point that out, but on the whole if you don’t suffer with anxiety sometimes you never really do you see the beauty in some days, the goodness in some days and really really feel grateful for those days and appreciate them in the same way that people with anxiety or depression feel. So every good day that I have I am so grateful for and it renews my hope that things can be better and they will get better so there is a huge appreciation.

Becoming Empathetic

I never really lived caring what others thought beforehand. This has definitely changed for the worst. I now care way too much about what others think. But on the flip side, other than my nearest and dearest, I never cared a whole lot about anybody! Now this has changed and I have become a huge empath. I feel deeply for others. I also find myself caring about old friends that for whatever reason, are absent from my life now, and I miss them so much. I care too deeply now. Oh, if I could wash away some of these thoughts and feelings away, I would. But sometimes being empathetic is a good thing. I care. A lot. And sometimes this extra care and attention to other people is a must. Because in our World, kindness is dissolving and dying. And if only people were more thoughtful and emphatic- maybe this wouldn’t be happening.

To Be More Mindful

At the beginning of my time suffering with anxiety, a friend of mine asked me if I had looked into mindfulness. I never really heard of this before and I just thought it was another form of meditation and for me sometimes sitting still and emptying my brain feels absolutely impossible and is just not my cup of tea and so I didn’t even bother to look into it. Although mindfulness also teaches you practices of meditation, there is so much more to this concept and it has taught me so much about myself and the way the brain works and it helps me to not feel so ashamed of having anxiety. I’ve realised why sometimes my brain follows the thought patterns it does and mindfulness is teaching me to not necessarily follow that direction anymore. It’s teaching me to be more in the moment. I’m not worrying and fretting about the future, it’s teaching me to appreciate the small things in life like on a stroll into town; I am now more mindful and I can breathe in the fresh air, look at the beautiful sky and feel appreciative of my life in that moment. It does teach meditation practices too, some of these I’m still practising but others I have found really useful like the body scan. Mindfulness has opened up a new way of thinking for me and this has benefited my mind body and helped me somewhat in terms of combatting the anxiety I feel. If anyone wanted to start learning about mindfulness the three books that I have used so far for information are;

The Little Book Of Mindfulness.

Mindfulness In Eight Weeks.

This Book Will Make You Mindful.

My Anxiety Strengthens Certain Relationships

Having anxiety has made me trust in those around myself more. On days where I feel utterly overwhelmed, I have to be strong enough to put my worries on others and ask for help with those around me. This can be for simple things, such as asking my husband to cook dinner instead if I’m feeling like the day has been a bit much. Or telling one of my close friends about a “silly worry”. I think by opening up so much, it actually helps to create stronger bonds and strengthen those friendships and relationships. And it certainly makes me so thankful and grateful for the family I have as they never fail to make me feel better.

I now want to help others.

After having suffered with anxiety for the last 5 years now, I feel like I have learnt so much about mental health and what works and what helps. I hate the thought of anyone else suffering with mental health so now it’s made me want to help others. It’s made me think kinder as a human, I have more compassion and even friendships that have drifted apart- I hope they know that there is always an open door policy with me. I want to help others and be there for them. That’s exactly why I started this blog, mental health isn’t spoken about enough and there is this huge stigma surrounding it and there needn’t be. We all could do with a helping hand sometimes and we should all get help and reach out when we need that. By talking about my experiences- I hope that someone else gets the confidence to speak out and realise that it’s totally fine not to be ok all of the time. But let’s work hard on fighting this unwanted monster this together.

Those are 6 reasons that really stand out to me as positives for having anxiety. I’m sure there are many more but actually, that’s one flaw- sometimes it’s hard to pick out of the positives. But reflecting on these, I realise that these are good qualities to have. I haven’t always done or said the right thing in the past for myself or those around me but life is all about making mistakes and learning from them. And if I have learnt anything from this whole experience, it’s to reflect on the positives- no matter how small.

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Do you find that there are some positives to your anxiety? What are they? I would love to know so please do feel free to leave a comment. If you liked this blog, please share and like it on WordPress or Facebook or whichever social media platform you feel you want to- that would mean so much, thank you.

Why you should be using ‘Worry Time’ to help tackle Anxiety

During my recent studies and research on anxiety I came across the notion of ‘Worry Time’. To begin with, this baffled me. Why would I put aside time to worry each day? Surely this seems counter-productive when you suffer with anxiety? Surely you don’t want to be having extra time to worry when you already suffer with anxiety? This isn’t the case at all. In fact, when I read about worry time I felt suspicious about whether or not this would work but nonetheless I decided to give it a go. In this article, I am going to describe the process of worry time and why I think it’s important and a great way to start tackling your anxiety.

Firstly, I would try ‘Worry Time’ for about a week to see how you get on.

I would say during this first week, it is important to have a small pad and pen nearby at all times. If technology is more your thing, then open up a new notes page and use that instead and make sure that that is accessible to you throughout the day. I tended to use a bit of both, if I’m honest because I would use the notepad and pen if I was at home and had access to it, but if I was out and about I would use the notes on my phone so you can always combine the two. But by the end of the day, you need both copies on you and try to write down the notes from one onto the other- so all of your worries of the day are listed in one place.

Whilst I’ve been suffering with anxiety, I have noticed that I am a constant worrier. These worries can be about small things, big things, just anything.  Sometimes it feels like my mind always worries and it doesn’t seem to switch off. I could literally be there all day with my brain flowing with worries constantly. Once my brain has gone into this pattern, I find it really difficult to switch off and focus on what I was doing, or who I was with. I would switch to these worries through the day, I’d be consumed by it all. I know that this is a very common symptom of anxiety and I’m sure that many of you can relate to this and have probably experienced this on some sort of same level.

So why is worry time important?

The aim of this is ‘Worry Time’ is to reduce the amount of time you worry through the day and allows you to re-focus your energies on your every day life and offers a process to help you to manage your worries and in turn your anxiety. It allows you to take control back a little bit. I think this is really important in making life more bearable and reducing anxiety in your everyday routines.

The process of worry time is pretty simple and it should be fairly easy to follow.

The trick is to remember why are you doing it and to not ruminate over your worries during the day. You need to be strict and and only allow your worries to come out at the specific time.

Throughout the day hundreds of worries and stresses could potentially pop into your head. This method teaches you how to regain control over them. So all you need for this method is to have a piece of paper and a pen handy or you could use the notes on your phone. Just make sure that you have something that you can record down some of your thoughts.

I personally used a mini pad and pen and had that accessible at all times. I love my stationary so this wasn’t really a chore to have this around and it’s quite nice to have the excuse to have a new pad especially for this task. Basically throughout the day, any time that you feel worried or anxious about something, no matter what it is, you need to record that worry onto a piece of paper or wherever you are jotting it down on.

We are not pushing the worry away, because actually there is evidence that by trying to a avoid your worries that you end up making your anxieties worse, but you are just saying to this worry and this anxiety that you’re feeling, that you are too busy to deal with this right now and you will come back and address the worry when you have your specific time later on. So any worry that pops into your head throughout the day, jot it down and then you are to re-address your attention back to your current task at hand. If you are currently not doing anything, my advice is to indulge and get involved in an activity. This could be anything from doing some washing up, another household chore, to having a bit of pamper time, going on a walk, phoning a friend, reading a book. It can be anything practical, but the importance is to put your attention and mind back on something else and to focus rather than ruminating over your worry.

By the end of the day you will have a few of the worries you have experienced written down. At the same time every day you need to allocate 10 to 20 minutes to sit down and have your worry time. It’s best to put a timer on for this so that you don’t end up using the worry time to ruminate and get excessive and take up too much of your evening, so I found that between 10 and 20 minutes is more than enough to complete this worry time task. Make sure that you have no distractions and that you are on your own ready to go over your worries.

The next part is to go through your list of worries one by one.

As you go through the worries, you may find that some have already resolved themselves, you may find that some don’t bother you any more. With the remaining worries that you have in front of you, you need to then categorise them into two; one being hypothetical worries. These are worries that you can’t do anything about. These are the what if worries and these are the ones that when you usually have them on your mind, they run away with you and you start to panic and think what if this happens, what if that then happens etc. These hypothetical worries can get you very caught up, however, if there is no practical way of resolving them and they are just what if worries you have to try your best to think that there is nothing you can physically do about this worry and you have to put your faith someone into life and hope that with time this may resolve.

Now what you could do, is to make a note on a separate piece of paper with all of the hypothetical worries you have and remind yourself that you cannot resolve this worry tonight so you will readdress this tomorrow. It may be that a few of these you have to come back to each and every day but you realise that although you are worrying about it, you’ve got a certain time that you can worry about it and that’s at the end of the day so that it stops spoiling your day. I think with time you’ll see that a lot of these ones will either resolve themselves or you may not be that bothered by them any more.

The second category of worries are the practical ones. So these are the worries that you have that you can do something about. So if you’re worrying about money issues, then your next step is to write a step-by-step plan on how you are going to tackle this worry; what you are going to put in place to get through this problem. You will find that instead of excessively worrying about the situation, your head is turned into more practical thinking and you will feel better alone by just putting some practical steps and goals onto a piece of paper on how to tackle this worry. Then, of course, you should go ahead and follow the steps and break them down into as many tiny goals as you need to just to make you feel better about it all. By making the steps and goals into bite sized chunks, it all seems more manageable and less daunting.

When the timer goes off, you are to stop going over your worries. It doesn’t matter if you have any left to go over; those will then continue onto the next evening when you have that time again. As soon as you have finished your worry time, the aim is for you to just put your concentration and mind back into other aspects of your life and back to a current task at hand. As I would do my time in the evenings, I would then have a shower and go and watch some TV, knowing that actually I’ve gone over my worries. Some of the ones that I can’t do anything about, I can address another day and I’ve put some steps in place of ones that I can do something about. Now it’s time for me to go and carry on my life and if I have anything else to worry about, I will put it down ready for me to come to during my next time.

So that is ‘Worry Time’ in a big long nutshell.

  1. Basically any worries you have during the day, jot down as you go along. As soon as you’ve jotted those down, you need to put your attention back on the task at hand in front of you.
  2.  Find something practical to do that will take your mind off these worries after they’ve arisen.
  3. At the end of each and every day, you allocate 10 to 20 minutes. Put a timer on.  Sit down somewhere quiet and go over these worries.
  4. Some worries may have already resolved or you find that you’re not fussed about them any more. A lot of worries will remain. You then need to decide which category to put these into. Can you do something about this worry? Is it a hypothetical worry or practical worry? Determine which category they belong to and the hypothetical ones you need to put to one side to maybe address a different day or see if with time it goes away or if you are able to just try to let it go and let things be. You cannot physically do anything about that worry or it may be that you can’t do anything about that right now and you’re worrying about something that is a year away, or years away. What I would then say is to have a think about some steps you could put in place if that really happens but other than that I would try to just put it to one side as for now there is nothing you can do about it. Please stop beating yourself up about it. But what ifs may never happen so it is stripping away from your present joy in life by worrying about these.
  5. With the practical worries, you then need to write down some step-by-step goals on how to tackle these worries so that you can move forward with your life. You can then implement these steps and goals.
  6. At the end of the worry time, you are to go back to life and continue to jot down the worries you have outside of the time that you allocate each day.

I did this for a few weeks a couple of years back.

It did really help because if I had something I was worrying about I was able to say “Okay, I can’t deal with this right now, but I will do later” and I would write it down and just by writing it down, it felt like I had a load off my mind already. Over time as my anxiety has been getting better, although it is not perfectly okay, I have found a more modified easier version of this. I don’t need ‘Worry Time’ each day any more, however, when I feel that I have a lot on my mind, or I am worrying about several different things in one go, I will write absolutely everything that is on my mind onto a piece of paper. I will then put it away for a few hours, maybe even a day or two and then when I have a clearer mind and I feel like I can deal with these, I will bring this piece of paper out and go over each thing bit by bit. I find that by doing this, I already feel tons better and if it is a practical worry I then set about trying to tackle this with a clear mind and positive attitude. So this is something that you can aim to do further on, but I find that by writing everything down, it really does make things a lot easier to manage. Decluttering your brain is just as important as decluttering your physical space around you.

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So I hope that you will give this worry time a go and I hope that you find this method helpful and manageable to do. If you have any questions do not hesitate to send me a comment or message on here and I will try to get back to you as quickly as I can. Do you have any other tips and tricks on how to manage worries? I’d love it if you could leave a comment, thank you. If you liked this blog post, then please share it on your social media pages and give it a like and don’t forget to subscribe if you want to follow my journey of improving my mental health but also improving the stigma around mental health. I am trying to get the message across that it’s okay to talk about this even if it is just to help each other out. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, the link is above at the top of this page.