Tips For An Anxious Day
Like almost 300 million people around the world, I often experience significant bouts of anxiety. Having OCD, anxiety is a common symptom, and something I have to deal with on a daily basis. I'm lucky that the anxiety I experience is often manageable, and predictable. I realise for many, it can be much more overpowering, and have a much greater impact on their day to day lives. Today I thought I'd share some of my own tips that help me when I wake up with my heart pounding, knowing that it's going to be an anxiety-filled day. I really hope someone out there finds these tips useful. I realise they might not work for everybody, as everyone experiences anxiety in a different way, but if they help even just one person, that would be great!
I would completely understand if you roll your eyes when you see this one. It's so obvious, and it's always recommended to people with anxiety. That being said, it's recommended for a reason. I use the Calm app for mindfulness, which does cost money, but I think it's totally worth it. Even just doing the 10 minute daily calm each morning can really help. I quite often will spend some time before I go to sleep just lying in the dark listening to one of their soundscapes. It really helps relax me, and I find I often sleep better as a result. It's probably not the best for when you're experiencing an active panic attack, but for low level anxiety it's great!
Wake up earlier
This might seem counterintuitive since getting more sleep can help with anxiety (at least in my opinion), but I've found that getting up that bit earlier has really helped me. My anxious feelings tend to be at their worst in the morning when I first wake up before I go to work. I started waking up even just fifteen minutes earlier, and I used that time to have some fruit tea and just sit and relax and scroll through my phone. Having that extra time, rather than rushing around to get ready, allowed my mind to be calmer, and consequently set me up for the day ahead much better.
Don't push yourself
If you know that today is a day full of anxiety, I think it's important to accept that fact. In my own experience, if you try and power through it can make you feel worse. On these days, I often adjust my plans to have a day that's less busy and I can spend some time relaxing so I don't feel overwhelmed. Sometimes if you're at work this isn't as easy, but I make sure to minimise my to do list for that day so that I don't feel overworked, and I don't punish myself if I don't get much done that day.
Be open with people
This is of course personal choice, but I find that letting people know that you're experiencing an anxious day can be really helpful. Not only do people tend to be more lenient on you that day, particularly in the work environment, but you then have someone to lean on if you need extra support. Should you need some time away to yourself, it also means they should understand why you've left.
Do something you enjoy
Be sure to make time in your day for something that brings you joy. That might be a short walk during your lunch break, or playing a video game at the end of the day. Having something that does not cause you any anxiety can help relax the brain and the body. It also gives you something to look forward to, to help you get through the day. Having something I really enjoy for dinner, or arranging to go on a nice walk with someone in the evening already has a calming effect on me.
Have a nap
A simple one, but very effective! I appreciate it's not always possible depending on your schedule, but if you're able to take some time to have a nap, or even just lie down, it can really help, especially if things are starting to feel particularly overwhelming. When I'm working from home, I'll often schedule in a 15 minute break where I just lie on the sofa and watch TV. If I'm not feeling particularly hungry, I might use my 30 minute lunch break for a quick nap. It allows the brain and the body to relax and can help reduce my anxiety levels.
Have lots to drink
I don't know if this is scientifically proven, but for me, drinking a lot during the day really helps. I tend to start the day with warm things, like herbal teas, and then throughout the day move onto lots of water, and then back to warm drinks in the evening to relax me ready for bed. Again, this is a bit of a wild card, but it works for me, so I'd love to know if you also find this helpful!
And those are my tips for helping you through an anxious day; I hope they helped someone out there! I'd love to know your own top tips; feel free to share them with me in the comments or on social media!
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Until next time,