Things that help me through a spell of anxiety
I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember. Some days I’ll be absolutely fine, while others everything feels like a battle, even walking past people to go to the bathroom, holding a conversation, or falling asleep without waking up panicking at 3am. My mind, frustratingly, likes to make even the simplest of things an obstacle, with a sense of dread clinging to every thought.
The older I’ve gotten, the better I’ve understood how to tame my anxiety. There are moments where it can feel as though you’re floating lost in space, terrified about everything with no hope to turn to, but I’ve managed to identify the following things as small symbols of hope and comfort; friendly, glowing planets that you can inhabit peacefully for a while until a spaceship arrives to take you back to earth.
Although anxiety is something that affects everyone differently, and everyone copes in their own way—including taking time to talk to a therapist, and, for some people, take medicine—these little things are what help me. If you’re suffering from severe, serious anxiety, you should definitely talk to a professional. (If you’re wondering where to start, here’s a good place to look.) None of these are actual medical solutions. But these are the little tricks that help me when I’m having a hard time.
Making a cup of tea
Something about feeling the warmth of the mug against my palms and breathing in the steam calmly really helps
Taking a Netflix break
Hanging out with my favorite TV show/film characters by chain-watching DVDs or Netflix can take some of the pressure off.
Creating a soothing atmosphere
Lighting candles and watching the flames flicker helps me.
Pulling a big, warm jumper over my head and feeling its material cascade over my body, or pulling on pajama bottoms, with the relief of their looseness around my waist is a huge relief.
Getting some inspiration from art and music
I like listening to Simon and Garfunkel and reading famous quotes by artists (to remind me I’m not alone in such struggles). But it could be anything, really.
Hugs with my dog. Hugs with anyone. Hugs help.
Making a fort
Wrapping myself up in the duvet as though it were a big cocoon.
Getting some exercise
Going for a long walk, inhaling the fresh air and focusing on every footstep.
Pizza is the miracle cure.
Taking a long bath
Preferably with the kind of exuberant bubbles that shift across my body like clouds.
Finding a close friend
Talking to someone until the early hours of the morning, watching the sunrise slither through creases in my curtains.
Re-organizing shelves to focus my mind on something else.
Remembering to breathe
Taking deep breaths. Lots of deep breaths.
Watching animals online
Looking up YouTube videos of sloths (because they will always make you feel better).
Trying to focus on the good stuff.
Keeping a scrapbook of good things, filled with moments such as old train tickets, birthday cards and seashells from seaside trips. Looking through these helps to remind me that the world isn’t as terrifying and awful as it feels in the heart-palpitating moments of anxiety, but can be ok – wonderful, even. And it will be ok again. I won’t always feel like this.
[Image via iStock]