feeling anxious

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I had a different post planned for this weekend but didn’t feel like publishing it. The past week has been kind of nerve-racking and stressful and I found myself in a state of anxiety more than once. The week didn’t start well and spiraled down from the day of the election. I usually manage to pick myself up and make myself feel better so I wanted to share a few thoughts and tips on that topic. Just knowing that I’m not alone and that other people deal with similar (mental health issues and) problems too, often already helps me. So I hope that me sharing this might do the same for you.

 getting away from people 

When the anxiety level is high I have to get away from people and be alone (or be with someone I trust). My very first impulse is “run and hide”. As soon as I’m moving I feel better because I a) am taking action instead of being paralyzed by fear and because I b) get away from where I don’t want to be anymore and closer to home. (The place I usually run to and hide at.)
When the possibility to go home doesn’t offer itself – when I’m traveling for example –, I go to a relatively quiet place like a museum, gallery or (even better) a bookstore where I try to find a secluded corner to sit down and just breathe for a while.
As soon as I’m home I have to get as comfortable as possible and have something to drink like tea or water. When I’m anxious, stressed-out or panic attack-y I cannot rest or lay down; I have to keep moving and doing something until I‘m calmed down enough to actually relax.

 organising and cleaning 

This might sound like too big a task, especially when you‘re stressed out already, but I do it in small portions that don’t overwhelm me.
I usually move clockwise through my room, starting at the window with my little side board where I keep books and make-up, then I move on to my desk, my chest of drawers, bookshelf until I'm back at the window.
Whilst going through my stuff I also look for things that I might no longer need. Then I ask myself if something is useful, helping me, making me happy ... (shoutout to Marie Kondo obviously). Especially when I’m feeling like everything is too much, getting rid of things that I feel just weigh me down helps a lot.

 listening to podcasts and audiobooks 

Whilst organising and cleaning I always listen to podcasts or an audio book. Doing something simple with my hands, that doesn’t require a lot of concentration but still occupies me a little is perfect because I’m being productive, I get something done, I feel useful and in charge of the situation. Easy tasks allow me to focus on what I’m listening to and I can actually listen more closely. At the same time I’m being distracted from (negative) thoughts that would only make me worry more.

 doing yoga/taking a bath 

This may seem like an obvious one. But taking a bath is usually not my first choice. Taking a bath when the anxiety level is high, would only make me feel trapped in a bathtub with a lot of thoughts and worries in my head that I cannot let go of or get away from. Only when I’ve managed to calm myself down with the help of the above mentioned things I can then try to really relax, do yoga, take a bath and read.


On the note of reading I have to add that I have to pick specific genres and books when I’m in a nervous/anxious state. Fantasy is a good choice for me for example. Something like Harry Potter, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or, yes, Twilight. I want to get wrapped up in a story and forget what surrounds me.
(Auto-)Biographies are also good … reading about other people’s lives and not having to think or worry about your own. Reading something by or about someone who inspires me also kind of redirects my inner focus onto things I want to do and achieve and takes it away from fear-fueled thoughts that don’t get me anywhere.

 getting away from social media 

This is more of an overall/general thing when I don’t feel too well mentally but it’s particularly important when I’m actually feeling anxious. Social Media can be interesting, fun and inspiring but sometimes it much rather resembles a very deep dark hole that can suck you in completely. By obsessively looking into it when you’re not feeling well already you can make yourself feel even worse. In the past week I’ve considered getting off of Twitter for some time because the constant flood of news weighs me down enormously. Ignoring the reality isn’t an option obviously but when it helps to take care of myself, I have to go a few hours, days or even a week without any news on politics or updates on other people’s lives and instead just focus on myself.

 be kind to yourself and take care. it gets better, always. 

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