Ever have one of those days where your head hurts, your muscles are aching from tension and you feel a little bit like your heart might jump out of your chest? For me, today is one of those.
It’s a common misconception that to have anxiety you have to be an anxious sort of person. Have a conversation with me for at least five minutes and you’ll soon realise I’m not a ‘shy’ type that shudders at the thought of public speaking or gets nervous when I have to drive on the motorway. In many ways, and in many aspects of my life, I’ve got a ‘bring it on’ mentality. I’ve been described as confident since I was old enough to speak, and I’ve got no qualms about telling people exactly what I think.
So why, on some days, do I feel like I might have a heart attack, or that my head might explode with a thousand different thoughts? To be honest, I’m not completely sure. I’m a happy person with a fulfilled life, surrounded by great people and keeping busy doing the things I love. I don’t feel sad about myself or the future, or even the state of the world. So if you ever feel the way that I do, here are my go-to tips to ease your anxiety on the days where your brain just won’t do what it’s told. Good luck!
Go for a run
I’m not about to go all Gwyneth Paltrow on you but looking after yourself is a great way to remind your body (and your brain) that you can achieve something. The first time you make your way around a 5k course will have you believe that you can complete endless marathons, while the ‘runners high’ that most of us experience is enough to lift the darkest of moods.
Have a bath
When I’m feeling particularly anxious, stepping into a bath is like taking one massive deep breath. Make it as hot as you can handle, fill it with as many bubbles as you can and light every candle you own. It also helps if you’ve got a really good book on the go, or a new issue of your favourite magazine.
Switch off your phone
Stop looking at your emails. Stop scrolling through Twitter. Definitely stop reading those supposedly helpful articles on ’30 things you should be doing before you’re 30.’
Give the prosecco a miss
If I’m feeling particularly shaky, alcohol is the first thing I say no to. While I love a glass of bubbly as much as the next person, a hangover on top of a bout of anxiety is not something to be enjoyed.
While it sounds obvious, did you know that you might just be breathing wrong? When you feel anxious, you sub-consciously hold your breath and unfortunately, that means less oxygen to your brain. Someone once told me that instead of breathing in, you should breathe out as far as you can, expanding your diaphragm until your body is forced to breathe normally. Funnily enough, it really works.
Your grandparents were right when they used to go on about fresh air being good for you. Who knew? It doesn’t matter whether it’s a short walk around the block or a six hour trek through the hills, going outside is almost guaranteed to give you some focus.
Buy yourself something
It might sound simple but sometimes you just need to treat yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything too expensive or flashy either – my favourite me-gifts are usually a bunch of the brightest flowers I can find.