Along with peoples' own mental health stories, it is constantly requested in these emails that I write a post on how I deal with my anxiety. Because, lets be honest, my original post was an emotional mess and, at the time, I didn't really have any solid ways of coping.
I'm far from being better, but I've come a long way since that first blog post, and in that time I've discovered a few things that work for me.
Listening to music
Sometimes I like to do this, and sometimes I don't. It depends on how I feel at the time, and if I do choose to listen to music, I either pick kickass tracks with empowering lyrics to get me in the zone, by artists like Sia and Jessie J, or I'll listen to less intrusive music, like Lorde and Troye Sivan. I also really like this remix of Midnight by Coldplay. Mostly, I think it's about finding songs with lyrics that speak to your particular situation.
Blowing on my thumb
This sounds weird, but stick with me. I got this one from Carrie Hope Fletcher's book, All I Know Now, and it works. When she's nervous before a show, she blows slowly on her thumb to regulate her breathing. A similar tip is to breathe in for 4 and out for 7, making sure your stomach is rising more than your chest. It helps to lay down for that one, so I prefer the other tip as you can do it anywhere.
Say I have an exam this afternoon and I'm really anxious about it. To help, I'll think 'this time tomorrow it will all be over and done with.' Imagining the situation over and out of the way really helps me and is actually something I've done since I was little.
With anxiety, it's very easy to slip into the mindset that you can't do this, that you're rubbish and you'll never be able to do anything. Picturing myself doing successfully whatever it is I'm anxious about has helped me in the past.
Taking time out
I guess you could say that, until maybe a year ago, I didn't take much care of myself in the way that it never occurred to me to take a break every now and then. These days, I am a firm believer in self-care. If I have a lot to do but I'm feeling rubbish, I'll 'take the day off' and relax - or try to, at least. It's important to take time out when you need to, because if you're feeling like crap - whether you have anxiety or not - that's probably a sign that you need to stop for a while.
I write about every blog event I attend. There are always more than enough photos, lots and lots of notes, and sometimes even a vlog of the day. Why? Because being at an event is extremely nerve-wracking for me, and the only way I can ever get through it is by distracting myself by completely focusing on the end result, aka the blog post. I'll film clips, take photos, and write notes about the event, and this always helps to make me more comfortable.
Making my lock-screen positive
Remembering that lots of people feel the same
Right now, someone in the world is having a panic attack. Right now, someone in the world is sat talking to their therapist. Right now, someone is taking their medication for the day. At YALC earlier this month, I was comforted by the fact that I knew there were lots of other people there with anxiety. Lots of people are dealing with the same things as you, and you're not alone. It helps to remember that every now and then.
_______________These are all things that can help me to feel a bit calmer. However, just because these help me sometimes, doesn't mean they'll help you - I'm not a doctor! Hopefully they do help, and there's no harm in trying, right?
On a different topic entirely, I love it when some of you send in blog post ideas, so if there is anything you would like to see on The Mile Long Bookshelf, let me know via my contact form and I might just do it. :)
Do you have any tips on dealing with anxiety?