Being in the midst of a transitional year is pretty tough for someone who isn’t very good at “going with the flow”. As much as I hate to admit it, I am definitely not an easygoing person. I wouldn’t say that I’m uptight, and I have moments of spontaneity and adventure, but I’m not good with long periods of the unknown; which is what I am currently stuck within. Because of this limbo year, and also a couple of other factors, my anxiety has come back in a pretty bad way and I’ve been experiencing it every single day for the past few months.
Which, you know, is great.
I have been getting anxious about a myriad of things that usually I’d be semi-fine with. Like, going to gigs, or doing something outside of my established routine, or talking to people I don’t know, doing something I don’t have a plan for, being around crowds and even just talking to people I do know if I’m feeling particularly anxious. And of course I’m anxious about my PhD application and get a bit nervy before taking my tutorials, because PEOPLE. And by anxious I mean my heart starts racing, I get all hot and sweaty and all I want to do is curl up in a little ball/run away.
But despite my anxiety hanging around, I’ve still been able to function well at work and keep up a semi-regular routine – I do get out of bed by midday and I have been able to leave the house, that’s a win. There have been no panic attacks, which I am so happy about because nobody needs those in their lives. I’ve been a bit more grumpy than usual and have had a few teary moments, but I’ve still been able to go out and do fun things and socialise; although I am being weary of my triggers (like loud, packed spaces, being late and having no plan – basically, the reason I haven’t been to your parties or gigs recently, sorry friends).
I don’t feel amazing, but I do feel like I am coping with my anxiety at this heightened level. I’m taking each day as it comes. Obviously, I am hoping it will die down once I’ve figured out what I’m doing with my life (and with the help of my GP and psychologist). But for now, I’m managing it the best I can.
I’d thought I’d share with you my tips for coping with heightened everyday anxiety, because sometimes we go through times like this in our lives, and it’s nice to be able to manage it and still show face when we need to. I hope this helps!
- Write down all your worries and fears and make strategies to tackle them, one step at a time.
- Make a daily to-do list the night before.
- Exercise everyday, even if the thought of it is too hard. Try some gentle yoga or a walk if it’s too much.
- Breathe. Try and make it a habit to breathe deeply and slowly from your belly. It makes such a difference.
- Try to fit mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises or a quick meditative practice into your day. I like to practice mindfulness in the shower and meditate with the help of Tara Brach as I drift off to sleep. There’s plenty of apps and podcasts available too! Calm is supposed to be great.
- Take time for you. Whether that’s having a morning coffee and watching some YouTube videos, doing a spot of baking, reading or watching a movie; carve out space in your day to do something you love.
- Make sure you talk to people. You don’t have to talk to people about what you’re going through, but it does help. Just make sure you socialise and have a bit of fun when you can – get a good laugh in.
- Ask for help. Friends and family are so happy to help you out if a small task that needs to be done is just too much.
- Establish a good sleep routine. I even made a video to help you! #shamelessplug
Lastly, and most importantly, be kind to yourself. Anxiety sucks, it’s never good timing and it gets in the way. But you will get better and you will be OK! If it carries on for too long and you start to lose control, see a doctor or someone who can take care of your mental health. Don’t let it take over your life, because it’s not something that you have to live with forever.
I hope this list will be helpful to those of you who are struggling a little at the moment. You can do it!!