I’ve been having a bit of a rough week last week and have felt a great deal of anxiety and stress – all is good now as I’ve managed to beat this and get back to my regular self, but it gets me thinking how many people have to deal with this on a daily basis. It’s little things that trigger this, or it could be bigger problems for some, but no matter what it is, it feels scary, big, uncontrollable and it makes you feel small, afraid, restless, nervous and continuously uneasy as if something really terrible is about to happen any time soon.
So I’ve decided I’m going to send out into the blogosphere a few tips that help me stay calm, focused and keep the stress under control. Whether they’ll help or not, I cannot say, but maybe it will make other people happy to know they’re not the only ones going through this and they shouldn’t be ashamed of this.
- Declutter your room and clean the house
For me, a messy environment is an instant trigger for anxiety and stress. Because I work and sometimes travel for work, I am not the perfect housewife who tidies every day and so my flat can be a real mess sometimes. Whether it’d be clothes piles, an unmade bed, full rubbish bin, dust, food wrappers thrown around or unwashed dishes, any of these can cause an increase in stress levels and make one anxious. In my case, it just makes me feel depressed, sad and puts my life in a different perspective – I tend to think that all I do is wrong and that I am a generally messy person in my professional life as well. And this is the little pebble that gets the whole mountain crumbling down and me spiralling into a “What am I doing with my life?” crisis.
That’s why when I see that I get a bit sloppy with my tidying, I make sure that I find an hour or so to blitz the house, put some washing on, do the dishes and use some dust-removing tissues around the house. And that helps a lot – I also get my pulse up a bit which can count as exercise, which makes the levels of endorphins in the brain increase and so I feel happier.
- Get out of the house and move
As per what I’ve said above, exercise is one of the best anti-depressants out there, but it is also one that is greatly overlooked and under-appreciated. Surely, sitting in your room, sulking and feeling sorry for yourself will not make things better in any way. It’s best to get over your emotions and your thoughts and go out, move, explore or exercise. Take up a sport, join a club, meet new people and find new opportunities to socialise. I know it’s scary and you’re thinking “What would people think of me? Will they think I’m fat, stupid and boring?” – I used to think that, I still do sometimes when I’m down in the dumps. But I’ve found that if you make the effort to go out there and be yourself, people will see you for who you really are and will look past all of the things that you think they’ll see first. You just need to try!
If you’re not sporty, try to join a meditation group, a book club or a walking group – anything that will get you out of the house, help you get some air and clear your head.
- Eat, drink, sleep, repeat
It’s the most common thing to resort to junk food when you feel anxious, for comfort. And if you don’t indulge in moderation, but you binge on it, this will only make you feel worse about yourself. So put the junk food down, make a shopping list and start cooking something fresh, comforting and healthy.
Try, as much as you can, to keep things healthy and balanced. No one likes to only eat kale and drink green tea all day every day and this is not what I mean. What I’m trying to say is to get plenty of vegetables, protein, dairy and fruit in while also having a piece of cake once a week, a chocolate square every night before you go to bed or a packet of crisps with your sandwich for lunch. But don’t overdo it as you’ll end up feeling bloated and tired! Remember to get your water in every day and avoid drinking too much coffee – one cup in the morning should be enough to get you going – or too much alcohol. Make sure to also get plenty of sleep.
This will keep your energy levels up, improve your concentration, general well-being and mental health while providing your body with everything it needs, so that you don’t get ill.
- Tell someone
Feeling stressed and anxious does not mean you have to cut off means of communication with your friends and family. You need to find time for a break, when you can meet up with a friend or speak to someone in your family. This will help you relax – body and mind – reducing stress levels and improving your mood.
Also, speaking to someone you are close to can be an instant pick-me-up, so make sure you do stay in touch with them. Phones, Skype and instant messaging make everything easier nowadays. Try not to keep feeling down to yourself as everyone has probably gone through this at least once in their lives – sharing any problems will help you start feeling better and having a different perspective on them.
- Get into a routine
As boring as that sounds, getting into a routine will help you feel in control and less stressed about what could go wrong. Try to incorporate all of the steps above and you’ll notice how your mental health will start improving, while you will be feeling more confident and ready to face what is coming.
Let things follow their course, go out and meet new people and be positive about your new experiences. Chances are everyone is feeling as scared as you are! So what if you didn’t get that job you wanted, there will be more opportunities coming your way. So what if you’ve made a fool of yourself or said something stupid to someone – chances are they’ll forget about it soon. So what if you’ve not got enough money to go on that holiday you wanted – start saving now and in a year’s time you will be able to. As they say, patience is a virtue!
I truly hope this helps some of you out there and thanks for visiting my blog.