In the blogging and social media world, it seems evident that many of us suffer from the big A horror that is anxiety. I don't know if it's a generational thing because we put ourselves *out there* more or if it's simply that we pay closer attention to healthy and happy mental states, but anxiety seems rife in the blogging community. Considering the blogging community can be such an up-beat, positive, confidence boosting place, it's always a surprise to see so many of us involved in it get so anxious about a multitude of things. I am definitely one of those who get anxious and my anxiety has been something that has held me back and continues to do so on a daily basis.
However all is not lost. Although of course, anxiety is a negative ninny, you can take some baby steps to make it more manageable and easier to deal with. Just as a little disclaimer before I start rambling about some tips and tricks, I should say that these things won't work for everyone. Everyone's anxiety is different and personal to them and it's always important to bear that in mind, but these are some things that have helped me along and make my life that little bit easier living with anxious Annie whispering in my ear:
Okay so I need to heed my own advice and do this first point more. Doing exercise - whether it's light and just some yoga before bed (which I highly recommend, yoga is great for when you're feeling anxious and need to calm down) or it's an intense cardio circuit, it will all help. It boosts your energy, it can give you a positive state of mind and the best thing? You keep your body healthy in the process. If you don't usually work out, try adding it into your weekly routine. It doesn't have to be every day and it doesn't have to be for an hour at a time, but try and do something that will give you that boost and get your heart race going. Improving the body might help those who are anxious about their body, but it will also just give you a boost in your hormones that will make you feel on top of the world. It has been proven that exercise can improve conditions of depression and I would confidently argue it does the same for anxiety. So go ahead, click on a new tab and get that fitness video up on YouTube - trust me, you'll thank me later!
This isn't something I have personal experience of, but I have friends and a partner who highly recommends it. You can watch numerous videos on the web of varying techniques, you can use it alongside yoga if you do a more relaxing routine, or it can be a simple breathing exercise before bed to help you sleep. It never hurts to take 5 minutes out of your busy days to just stop and take stock. One of the worst things to be told is "just try not to think about it" when you suffer with anxiety - trust me: we wouldn't think about things if we could choose not to! But having 5 minutes - even if you just go and lie on the floor in your living room and stare at the ceiling! - can help you unwind and release that tension you build up.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Pamper:
There's no need for Christmas in July, but there's every need for a pamper. Again, this can be used to take your mind off things and kind of restore you to your factory settings. Got a bathtub? Run yourself a bath? Got a book you've been meaning to read but couldn't find the time? Switch out something on your current to-do list to make time for that book. It doesn't have to be extravagant, but a little something can go a long way. We wind ourselves so tight with anxiety it's important to try and have an emergency release button for when it all gets too much.
It's Okay To Say No:
This is a one that took me years to realise. Growing up I was never a one for being centre of attention. I was in a group of friends who were quite popular, quite loud, quite well-known at school and our other social circles, but I was always labelled the "quiet goth one" (fitting for my scene kid aesthetic wouldn't you say?). As a teen this wasn't too much of an issue because I knew the limelight was never on me - I was always just on the outskirts of it so it wasn't totally unbearable. But then fast-forward a few years to university and I melted under the light. My group of fantastic friends I made at uni were very social. I'm talking waking up, going to each others houses, leaving at dinner time to get something to eat, then meeting back together right after that for a night at the pub. This was every day; day in day out and it was hard going. At times I hated it. I sometimes wasted money and precious time travelling home for essentially just a few hours so I could breathe. Sounds ridiculous right? And I agree, it totally was, but I just couldn't bring myself to say "no, not tonight guys".
Going out all the time can be great but as an introvert who likes their own company, it can kickstart an endless cycle of "omg *that* person is going to be there, *that* person is going to say something snide to me, do *I* look okay because I never look okay, *this* is going to end horribly"... and it would just go on and on like that during the lead up to going out and throughout the whole ordeal. By time the second year of university rolled around, I was burnt out; I just couldn't go out anymore. I went quite off the radar and you know what? I had never felt better. My creativity thrived, I did things I wanted to do, and I could feel myself getting more comfortable in my own skin. It's important that you look after yourself because to make way for a bit of cheese, you're the only person you know for definite you are going to spend the rest of your life with therefore, look after you. If your friends can't handle that your anxiety can cancel plans and ruins dates then they're not worth the worry or the stress. You need to keep your mental health a top priority and if you don't feel like pushing yourself out your comfort zone that particular day or evening then that's okay. You've got your whole life to push yourself.
It's important to not get too comfortable with being alone though, you do need to strike a balance because we are social animals - we thrive on interaction and sharing knowledge and affection with one and other. But if you need a timeout, a timeout to do that drawing that takes your mind off of things, to read that book that makes your skittish breathing more regular, or that long relaxing soak in the tub that keeps panic attacks at bay, then do it, the rest of the world can wait.
If you'd like to see more ramblings from me, head over to Northern Blood Blogspot and I'll see you there!