Mental health can be a difficult topic to write about, everybody has their very own personal journey. While I never intended to write about this subject, I came to the realisation that I have actually developed a pretty good number of anxiety self-care tips, which to be honest I actually felt a little guilty for not sharing.
Sure, the sceptical people out there will see this as another click bait article on anxiety, but I assure you that couldn’t be further from the truth, and if this could possibly provide someone with a little relief then it is worth the effort.
Anxiety is a fucking tricky bitch, and what I have learned is maintenance is the key, because here is the reality of the situation: when you feel okay, when your anxiety is relatively controlled and not ruining your life, you get complacent.
You stop doing the things you need to keep it at bay, until the crash comes. So, in order to avoid that, here are some habits that have worked for me over the years. These are no substitute for medication or therapy which are hugely important, but personally after years of both I came to learn that while therapy is great if you can get it, medication is merely treating the symptoms rather than the cause, so changes to your life must be made.
Hardly surprising that meditation would appear in this list as it’s recommended over and over for dealing with anxiety, and with good reason. While meditation can be great when you are feeling particularly anxious, it is at its most beneficial when it is incorporated into your daily life.
Try setting yourself a meditation routine, perhaps once a day in the morning, or even better both morning and right before bed. There are many different types of meditation so try out some different types, you might find one that suits you better than others or vice versa. Remember, learning to meditate properly can take years so don’t worry if you struggle to get a hang of it – stick with it, it’s definitely worth it.
What I mean by self-care is purely doing something that makes you feel relaxed. For me, I strangely use skin care… is that weird? Although I’m a pretty obsessive skin care addict all the time and have a daily routine, this is where I go all out; cleansing, using exfoliators and different facial masks makes me feel calm and relaxed.
There is something about my skin feeling really clean and fresh that calms me. For you, your self-care time can be something different but whatever you do make sure it’s something that makes you relaxed, and be completely unapologetic about it. I guess it could be called pampering but I reject that term as it sounds almost selfish; it’s self-care.
Known as an adaptogenic herb, ginseng is one of the most potent natural methods to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone. Much of the difficulty in dealing with anxiety is that it isn’t just mental, but physical, and that physical response can be difficult to tackle.
Ginseng is known throughout the world for its health benefits, but it is the best at relieving stress. Available to buy in pill or sachets, you can even get it in its natural form and eat it. If you can’t get your hands on ginseng, some other with similar benefits are holy basil, ashwagandha and liquorice root. Trust me, I know this sounds kind of strange, but every little will help.
Learn about anxiety
Learning about your own issues is hugely important, whether it be anxiety, depression or any other mental health problem. It can give you a sense of control in a chaotic situation, and an understanding that you are, firstly, not alone, and secondly, experiencing something that is both real, and not your fault.
Be informed about your condition, your treatment and even your medication, and don’t let yourself be swept away by the advice and opinions of others, even those in the medical profession; of course they have knowledge and experience you do not, but you have to take ownership of your own mental health and part of that will come with knowledge.
Plan your relaxation time
This might sound kind of unusual, but as an anxious person it can be incredibly difficult to relax, that easy going nature of falling gently into a relaxing situation may be completely lost to you now. So, in order to counteract that, I have realised what really helps is if you plan your relaxation just like you would plan anything else.
‘course I’m not saying to be super rigid about it, but actually creating this plan will sort of force you to decide how you are going to relax, eliminating any anxiety over decision making, whether it be writing a to-do list of TV shows you want to watch, or whether you will spend the night reading a book or having a bath.
For some extra tips on easing stress;