Anxiety creeps up on you like a spider in the night, spinning a web of negativity that can ruin the day ahead. For many, including me, it can affect parts of your life, and it can feel like no matter what you do, you will always have these unreasonable worries and physical effects of anxiety. Those doubts are wrong. There are ways to manage your anxiety, and though it’s different for each and every person, for some of you these routines and healthy habits may be the beginning of a wonderful change in your life. These are tried and tested, by me truly, someone who has spent the last year struggling with anxiety. So give them a try, be patient with yourself and take care.
Start Your Morning Right
Waking up in the morning is one of the biggest challenges when you’re stressed or have anxiety. It could be that you have trouble getting to sleep at night, so you’re not getting enough sleep, or it could be that the day ahead is hard to face and you want those dreams to help you drift away from reality.
Make It Permanent
The decision to sit up, put your feet on the floor and open your eyes is one of the bravest when you’re really struggling. Your first thoughts are everything, but it’s also important that you start to do. So, if you’re reading this in bed, your first step is to make the bed. This is now a no-go zone. Open the curtains, open the window, spray air freshener or light incense. You’re done with this room, it’s not your safe haven till bed time comes around.
When you’re struggling with anxiety, it’s a feeling of not being in control. Whether it’s your circumstances or a situation you’re currently dealing with – or maybe you haven’t quite worked that out yet – it is a feeling that on some level you don’t have control. So being able to control or manage little things in your life can make a big difference. So things like tidying your bed and opening the curtains when you wake up, is you deciding “Right, I’m up now, what can I do next?”
Lack of sleep is a main factor in poor decision making, it’s also the reason your anxieties will overwhelm you from time to time. I’m a classic 3am-er and I hate mornings! I still have a way to go, but I am proud to say that for the past 8 months I’ve been getting up between 7am-7:30am every week day – sometimes even at the weekend! So how did I get to this point? Well, you can read more about this in my post about How To Become A Morning Person.
Take Your Time
Next, find somewhere to just wake up slowly, so find a comfy chair or a windowsill with a view and take 5 minutes to just breathe. It’s important to have more ‘safe spaces’ other than your bed, so create a little nook, with your favourite chair or cushions.
In this time you could do a bit of colouring, watch a bit of your favourite show, flick through a picture book, play a game or meditate. Whatever it is, make it something that you find relaxing, that you know will calm you for a while. You’ll begin to really appreciate this down time and actually look forward to it!
Just FYI, I like to watch Everybody Loves Raymond. (8am, Channel 4).
The most important meal of the day is breakfast, etc etc etc. You may know this by now, but breakfast is actually the best meal ever. When else can you have a plate of pancakes and call it a meal?
Eating in the morning can be a challenge when you can’t seem to string a sentence together, never mind whip up a culinary masterpiece, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Forget ‘diets’ and ‘No carbs! I need to lose 6 pounds’, anxiety doesn’t have the patience for that shit and neither do you. Put your mental health first and the rest will follow.
Choose 3 breakfast meals that are quick and easy, whether it’s cereal, toast, fruit, yoghurt – whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that you can switch up every now and then so you don’t get bored, and is easy enough that you can’t find an excuse to skip it. This isn’t about ‘clean eating’ or diets, because when you’re anxious that’s only going to make you feel more stressed, especially if it takes time to prepare.
Take Time Out To Do The Things You Love
When we’re feeling anxious, we can feel guilty doing things we enjoy, like your time would be better spent on the things that are making us anxious. The truth is, a lot of what we worry about and what we list on our ‘to-dos’ as priorities aren’t really life or death, but it really feels that way in the moment.
The only way you’re going to get perspective on something that is bothering you, is if you step away from it and focus on something else. Yes, ‘it needs to be done’, but not right now, not right this second. Making time for things that you enjoy, that make you happy, help give you a more positive outlook to your problems.
Don’t skip this step, I know you’re about to, but give it a chance. There is nothing quite like fresh air and sunshine. Your body needs it.
If you’re anxious, I know going outside isn’t just about stepping outdoors and getting some exercise. For some it’s getting caught by the chatty neighbour who always seems to know when you’re leaving the house. For others it’s the feeling that you have too much to do and could be doing something more productive with your time. Well, if you’re anxious, you’re probably not spending your time productively, and what is more productive than filling your lungs with oxygen and soaking in some vitamin D? So, do your body and your mind a favour, leave your worries at home, and get exploring!
Tell Your Anxiety Where To Go
You’re like, “what?! Be serious now.” I am being serious. One day I spent the morning dancing to Sia and I don’t regret one second of it, and you know, that day got better as it went on. There’s something exhilarating about blasting music from the speakers and forgetting the world, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Any physical exercise gets your heart pumping and releases endorphins, but dancing boosts your mood more than any other exercise. No one can see you, no one is judging, you’re just giving your body what it wants. Your body wants to move, so just let it.
I really hope you found something here that you’re looking forward to trying, and if not, don’t worry. One day a thought might pop into your head, you’ll think back to this post and suddenly it will all click. Sometimes we just need time to think it all over before we actually do anything, and that’s ok! Sign up to our monthly newsletter for free printables & more posts on the body & mind!