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:
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.