Everyone deals with anxiety – some of us on a daily basis.
But if you’re aware that your levels of stress are becoming unmanageable and you’re struggling with everyday life, then it might be time to start employing some tactics to deal with your worry. Of course, there are some things where a healthy level of stress is the right response, for example before a job interview, or taking a driving test. But if you’re feeling fraught about activities or situations that shouldn’t be a cause of concern, or you are panicked about things that have never been a problem before, then it might be time to take action. Here, you’ll find ten tips to manage anxiety and start getting back into the swing of things.
- Speak to your GP
If you have symptoms of chronic anxiety, such as trichotillomania (chronic hair pulling), panic attacks, or heart palpitations, then it’s worth having a discussion with your GP. Even if you think your symptoms are small, check in with your doctor. They will be best placed to advise you and there may be a waiting list for counselling services so it’s a good idea to make them aware so they can help you sooner rather than later.
- Try meditation
You might never have tried meditation before, or it may be something that you’re very familiar with. Either way, it’s worth returning to, or picking up to help you deal with troubling thoughts and feelings. Even if you can’t put your finger on exactly what’s making you feel worried, there may be some intrusive thoughts that are creeping in. If you’re new to meditation, or want a bit of a refresher, try the Headspace app to guide you through some short and easy meditations.
No one’s at their best when they’re tired, and it can be even more difficult to deal with feelings of worry when you’re sleep-deprived. Practice good sleep hygiene, such as limiting your screen time before bed (or even sleeping with your phone in a different room), taking warm baths an hour or two before you settle down, and getting into a good bedtime routine.
- Take action
If there are definite things that are worrying you, like talking to your boss about an issue, or even something in the house, then make a plan and deal with it. If it’s something concrete that a few phone calls can put right to put your mind at ease, then make time to do it. It might be a doctor’s appointment or contacting Tiger Utilities to get something fixed – if it stops you worrying, it’s worth doing.
On the other hand, if your to-do list is getting out of hand and you regularly find yourself without enough hours in the day, then are you setting yourself unachievable goals? If you are being weighed down by constant productivity pressure, then it might be time to find ways of easing up on yourself. Try and have days where you don’t set yourself tasks and jobs and, if you can’t put down the list, then at least categorise your jobs into urgent and non-urgent so you can prioritise.
- Take a walk
We’ve all been told that getting out in nature is good for us, but it has been scientifically proven to boost your energy, and your mood. Not only that, but if you suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and generally have a slightly lower mood during the winter months, then the positive effects of vitamin D – even from an overcast or cloudy sky – can’t be underestimated.
- Talk to people
Your friends and family (probably) aren’t trained therapists but, if you’re struggling, then share your concerns with those who are closest to you. If you live with a partner, then it’s a good idea to make them aware of how you’re feeling. Not only will it mean that they can help support you, but if you’re stressed or irrationally irritable about certain things, it will give them some context for why you’re behaving in a certain way and they won’t end up shouldering the blame themselves.
Often, when we’re feeling worried or anxious, diet is the first thing to go. It might be that you under eat, overeat or just that your usual food-plan goes out the window. Whatever it is, trying to eat healthily during this time is critical. Not only will you feel better about yourself, but a nutritious diet will also give you more energy and help alleviate feelings of tiredness. If you are finding food difficult, then start by tempting yourself with things you’ve enjoyed in the past. If you find that you’re overeating, then try practicing mindfulness while you eat, chewing each mouthful slowly and stopping when you’re full, as well as avoiding distractions like the TV or your phone during a meal.
We all know that exercise is good for us, but it can be difficult to carve out time for and, as the nights draw in and it gets colder and darker, the temptation to go for a jog after work gets less. If you’re not a gym-bunny, then look at apps that will help guide you through at-home workouts. There’s plenty to choose from and all have a range of lengths. Start small, maybe challenging yourself to do a 20-minute workout twice a week, and then gradually increase your exercise as you get more confident.
Don’t give up on your hobbies and things you enjoy doing. Make sure you carve out a little time every day to do something that you enjoy, that has no benefit necessarily except your own pleasure.
If you’re suffering with anxiety, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Over 8 million people in the UK struggle with some form of anxiety. But, if you practice taking control of your life and start using some of these tactics then you will find that you can manage better and keep your feelings of worry under control.
Disclosure: This is a partnered post