blossom in the sun

Anxiety can be crippling, and I’ve suffered with it since I was a tween. An imaginative, creative soul and empath, the downside to boundless imagination is bouts of sometimes paralysing anxiety.

I was the kid, and now 36 year old, who always has Rescue Remedy in her back pocket for peace of mind. I think I always will.

The funny thing is, most people probably assume I’m this super-chilled human being (I hear it a lot) and weirdly, I can be..but suffering from PCOS and acute PMT means I do suffer from mostly hormone-induced periods of anxiety and there’s zero shame in that. Many visibly-confident women suffer from anxiety and depression and it’s time to myth-bust the fact that we’re all living our best lives, calm as can be 24/7. Nobody is.

Some periods of anxiety are short-lived of course, others niggle away at me as they have been recently preventing me from being as productive as I’d like.

Dolly got it right when she sang about it being hard to be a woman didn’t she?!

Oh, and once childbearing, rearing and monthly periods are out of the way, I’ve got the dreaded menopause to look forward to.  I’d like another baby at some point too perhaps but fear the chaos of my body and mind that can come with the fruits of my labour. Yes the kids are worth it but it’s still a scary prospect nonetheless.

But that’s a whole other blog post.

For now, I want to share my Top 5 Anxiety-Busters which help me feel less anxious and helpless when the wobbles hit.

Please do chat to your GP with your concerns of course, I’m not a doctor and can only write from my own experience here offering my suggestions. I do hope they help give you some peace of mind when you need it most.

Don’t forget to talk about your worries to someone you trust as they arise, be kind to yourself and take time out when you need it.

Most of all, know that you are not alone.

What helps me feel less anxious:

  1. Distraction. Oh hello sweet much-needed ‘keep my mind busy’ distraction when anxiety rises, be it meditation apps like Headspace/ exercise or blogging and vlogging because art will save us all, right?! When I’m stressed, I write, process and digest then write some more, feeling calmer in the process. I often become so lost in my words and the moment-the act of creativity that my anxiety dissipates and before I even consciously realise it, passion replaces fear. Distract yourself doing what you love.
  2. Rescue Remedy is my everything. No, this isn’t sponsored but RR and I go way back, and that blend of Bach flower remedies always stops panic in it’s tracks for me, with a few drops or sprays depending on the bottle. That magic mixture has gotten me through every milestone I can think of from driving tests (I passed 6th time), exams, uni: a BA and MA, lecturing and directing gigs, two weddings to the same man, two births (to the same man) 😉  and pretty much any bad news days I’ve ever experienced. I literally don’t know what I would have done in life without that reassuring tincture in a bottle. I also love a cup of hot chamomile tea with Manuka honey at night to help me sleep.
  3. Yoga. Another gift to mellow anxiety and fear, yoga helps to centre me, encouraging me to be present in the moment and relax, as well as acting as a preventative for anxiety too. You only need to do a few minutes a day to make a difference so put off the excuses and start now (google ‘yoga from your desk’ if you’re super short on time). If you can add some classical music to the mix too such as stretching out to Chopin, then all the better for it! Equally, exercise that gets your heart rate up is vital for positive mental health. Aim to get sweaty 4 times a week using sport as a stress-reliever and endorphin-liberator.
  4. Become immersed in nature. I felt anxious the other day but pushed myself out to meet a friend in the park despite not wanting to leave the house. Trees soothe as the Japanese practise of Forest Bathing testify with health benefits spanning lowered heart and blood pressure levels. We recently visited Center Parcs for the first time, and I’ve never felt more relaxed thanks to ‘forest living’.
  5. High strength multi-vitamins also help support my mental health. I was recommended to try Premteese by PMT expert Maryron Stewart who informed me that magnesium is crucial to hormone function. Read her advice on overcoming PMT here.
  6. Lavender Oil. A few drops in the bath or on my pillow ease my mind and set me off on a restful slumber, even at the most difficult of times.

Bonus content: my friend Sunita from Lucky Things Blog has shared her own comforting tips on what helps her when she feels anxious so don’t miss her post.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to read about what helps you to chill out when the worries set in?

Photo by Anders Jildén on Unsplash.

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23 Responses

  1. Moonsparkle (ZM)

    Thank you for the tips. 🙂 I especially like No 1. I have anxiety and find it really hard to manage sometimes. I find that writing does help, it’s good to get my feelings out. Books and music are good for distraction too. Getting out in nature does help I like going to the beach and countryside.

    I have been doing my own CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) more recently (techniques a therapist originally gave me) as well.
    Moonsparkle (ZM) recently posted…Gratitude ListMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      CBT is amazing isn’t it. Sorry to read you suffer too. Yoga has been a gift for me and nothing is more soothing than a long walk in nature x

      Reply
      • Moonsparkle (ZM)

        Thank you. 🙂 Yes, it helps to examine my thoughts and patterns and challenge them (in a gentle way). It is nice to get out, even just to the park as well. I like to walk there once a week year round (as long as the weather isn’t too bad!). x
        Moonsparkle (ZM) recently posted…Gratitude ListMy Profile

  2. Michelle Goodwin

    I hate anxiety and finally feel like I am in control of it #brillblogposts
    Michelle Goodwin recently posted…Making a occasion special with a personalised gift from Gifts Online 4 UMy Profile

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  3. Nat - Awaybies

    Great post! I must try rescue remedy. I get quite anxious in enclosed spaces, for example the underground train or long car journeys! Love yoga, you’ve reminded me to do some today #brillblogposts
    Nat – Awaybies recently posted…9 of the Best Restaurants for family dining at Disneyland Paris – Reviews by a mum of 3My Profile

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  4. Lisa Pomerantz

    I have never been one of those people that rescue remedy works for – I try for tai chi, I use headspace, go for a walk and deep breathing. Anxiety is such a hard thing for those to understand who have never experienced it. I wish you well friend! <3 #BrillBlogPosts
    Lisa Pomerantz recently posted…The Children’s Book I read often, as an AdultMy Profile

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  5. Ali Duke

    Anxiety is awful. Hopefully these tips will help someone to ease their anxiety. I use distraction if I can.
    #BrilliantBlogPosts

    Reply
  6. Kim Taylor

    I like rescue remedy too, I find deep breathing to help x
    Kim Taylor recently posted…My current top 5 self-help booksMy Profile

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  7. Clare

    Anxiety is awful I know. It’s power is incredible. It can be scary. I recognise the signs and act immediately with rest, fresh air, sleep (very important) music and walking – so i guess i touch on a lot of yours

    I think THE most important thing we need to do is recognise anxiety and practice self-care – whatever that may be…..

    Love you work Mrs
    Love C x

    Reply
  8. Pen

    Hi Vicki,

    I have to confess that when the worries kick in I usually dull them with wine. I know it is not good in the long term, but wine is always what I turn to in the evening to relax. I don’t drink much, only a glass, but I do drink every night. I also try to do things for myself like get my nails done or indulge in some podcasts. I usually find that sleep is the best anxiety calmer for me. I am lucky that, aside from the toddler waking me, I have never really struggled from insomnia and the like. An early night is always good.

    Take care of yourself Vicki.

    Pen x
    Pen recently posted…There are two sides to every storyMy Profile

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  9. Annette, 3 Little Buttons

    Loving these tips Vicky. I definitely agree on distraction and getting out and about with nature. For me, there is nothing that a beach day can’t cure. #BrillBlogPosts
    Annette, 3 Little Buttons recently posted…#DreamTeam Linky 65My Profile

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  10. Lexie @ mommyhomemanager.com

    Yoga (and exercise in general) really helps me as well!
    I never had anxiety until my son was born…now I need to be in go-mode all the time!
    Thanks for the list. 🙂
    Lexie @ mommyhomemanager.com recently posted…Can You Afford to be a Stay-At-Home-Mom?My Profile

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  11. Oldhouseintheshires

    It’s so hard isn’t it? I have suffered one and off with anxiety and it’s so hard when it happens. I also use Rescue Remedy and I love it. Thank you for sharing these great tips. #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
  12. Michelle Frank | Flipped-Out Food

    Great advice here. Anxiety is not something that should be swept under a rug or dismissed by people who don’t understand. I frequently hear, “what do you have to be anxious about?” o.O

    I am so with you on distraction and immersion in nature. I take daily runs or walks in the local conservancy: staying active is a huge must for me. I am also a big fan of deep breathing: a slow, deep breath in through the nose and released slowly through the mouth is centering and calming.

    Reply
  13. Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie

    Great tips – I have found the two things that have worked super well for me have been my blog ( can so identify with that lost in creativity thing, and turning stress into passion) and running, which sort of hits number 1 and 4 in your list. I love how I can be super wound up and yet, almost as soon as I get out the door and start pounding the pavements (or trails), all that anxiety and tension starts melting away. Routine and planning also helps me a lot – I am a total control freak and I find if I have a plan it calms me down and stops me getting distracted or freaking out that I’ve got too much to do (well, in theory!) Eb x
    Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie recently posted…Easy Lamb MoussakaMy Profile

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  14. Susan Mann

    I suffer from anxiety and have found yoga and deep breathing have helped a lot. There are some great tips here that will definitely help others xx

    Reply
  15. Susie/So Happy In Town

    I’m an anxiety sufferer too and have been since I struggled with depression in my early 20’s – I feel like it’s always just there, sitting on my shoulder but now I’m much better at controlling it even though it can creep up on me out of nowhere. Love my rescue remedy too and Headspace has been a big saving grace for me, and yes, distraction and exercise. I’ve started running again and that definitely helps. People also think I’m super chilled but I put that front on I think, and it’s all bottled up inside sometimes. So good to talk about mental health. #brillblogposts
    Susie/So Happy In Town recently posted…Oh Dear Control Freak Mum, The Holidays Are HereMy Profile

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  16. Mim

    Anxiety really is a B – and can come out of the blue. I never had it until the last 12 months and at 38 years old, just was not equipped to deal with it. Luckily I have a strong support network but I love your tips – and rescue remedy! x

    Reply
  17. Sunita - Lucky Things

    Feeling anxious is such an everyday thing for many of us. For lots of different reasons. Some weeks I know I don’t feel myself and so it’s good to have some tricks up my sleeve (or in my handbag!)

    One thing I know I need to do more if my mindfulness on the go! Discovered a 3 minute mindfulness trick at the start of this year and it helps heaps, especially when I feel there’s lots to get done (link to it is in my blog).

    Thanks for the shout out for my recent blog post on Things that might help when you don’t feel great (and cheers for your supportive words this week – they really helped). Let’s face it, it’s OK not to feel great all the time, we’re only human xxx
    Sunita – Lucky Things recently posted…Things that might help when you’re not feeling greatMy Profile

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  18. Emerald

    Anxiety is crap and it doesn’t hep when people around you think you’re exaggerating for no god reason. I do find that yoga helps a lot (and for all kinds of things!). Restorative yoga is good because it forces you to completely chill out. You’ll need to invest in a couple of bolsters and/or blocks and I’d recommend you find a class to practise first, but then you can pretty much do it at home :). I got a taste for it after I broke my collarbone and needed surgery; I was banned from ashtanga yoga for a considerable few months. I always had a little laugh whenever I was on my way to a restorative yoga class as I’d be heading there to simply fall asleep for ninety minutes!

    What else? Well drinking lots of coffee probably doesn’t help, but I enjoy it. I make sure I also drink plenty of water too though. And I also start the day by cycling into work if it’s not raining heavily. Luckily I can stick to a cycle path then along the River Clyde (which is lucky because I don’t fancy cycling on the roads here in Glasgow!). And then I have the reward of cycling home the long way through the leafy Kelvin Walkway which is magic. That ties in nicely with what you say about forest bathing. The Japanese word is shinrinryoku. I lived in Japan for eighteen months and can attest to it being very popular. in fact, any kind of immersion in nature is bound to ease anxiety. x

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