Anxiety doesn’t line people up and pick its players depending on their socio-economic status, it can affect anybody no matter how rich or poor.
Silence the Stigma
The stigma attached to it “all being in your head” or something you should just “snap out of” is still alive and well the world over.
‘Mental illness is not a mythical creature’
Understand that your feelings and experiences are valid. You do not need for anybody to “believe you” that your mental illness is real. Mental illness is not a mythical creature. It is something very real and if gone untreated, can control every aspect of your daily life, making simple tasks feel unbearable and forcing you to miss out on a lot of the fun.
If you are not able to seek medical/psychological help, there are a variety of effective coping techniques you can practice, otherwise you can supplement your current treatments with the following as well.
My self-care checklist
- Keep a routine. Try take a warm, shallow bubble bath, drink a cup of chamomile tea and read a book at the same every night before bed, making sure to get an early night.
- Avoid stimuli that may contribute to your anxiety such as caffeine, nicotine or alcohol.
- Look to YouTube for hours of free yoga classes that you can do in your bedroom.
- Check out autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) videos for calming anxiety & relieving stress. I find listening to Bob Ross paint before bedtime or even at work really helps me relax and banish unwanted thoughts.
- Listen to your body. If you feel a wave of anxiety come on, take time out to get some fresh air, a glass of water or a cup of tea.
- Find “safe people” that you feel comfortable talking to about your issues.
- Check out free-to-download apps for managing anxiety such as: Calm, Moods, What’s Up? and Headspace.
- If you feel like talking to people with similar experiences, try out free-to-download safe chat spaces such as: Talk Life & 7 Cups.
- Create a playlist of calming music. Check out channels on YouTube and Spotify such as ChilledCow (Low-fi Hip Hop).
- Use the rule of five to practice mindfulness: Count 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste to help ground yourself.
- While lying in your bed, try practicing basic meditation; starting with the muscles in your toes and working your way up to your face, locate each muscle and clench it tight for the count of ten and then release.
- Pet a cat! Animals, especially cats, have been proven to assist humans with lowering their stress levels when petting them.
- Take a walk outside in nature with a friend. Take in your surroundings with all your senses.
- Limit the time you spend on social media. The unattainable desire to seek perfection can be toxic and send your anxiety through the roof.
- Take time out for therapeutic, practical tasks such as: colouring in, beading or painting.
Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up. Remember, you’re doing the best you can, and you have people in your life who love and support you. Try to see your anxiety as not only a curse, but a gift too. People with anxiety are often more empathetic and intuitive towards others’ feelings and needs. Chances are you’re a great friend! – I.I.I
Read Chelsea’s piece, The difference between anxiety and worry, on her life with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and signs of GAD.
Words: Chelsea Mouton
Feature image: via