How to cope with Anxiety when you – literally – don’t have time for it
Dealing with anxiety is lonely, time-consuming and above all, complicated.
It is a well-known fact that stress is one of the biggest causes of anxiety in our lives. Whether its because you have a deadline coming up, or your kids keep doing that thing you’ve told them not to multiple times, stress is part of our day to day experiences. There also comes a point in your life, where anxiety and stress have no room in your daily activities, however, we still find ourselves worried about the future or what happened in the past.
I am a person that suffers from anxiety most of the times, and I concluded that I genuinely had no time to be feeling the way I did. Anxiety is nasty, if it could dress up it would wear bright colours to let you know what’s coming: the feeling of irritation and irrational fears. So, what can we do to help ourselves learn how to live with our mental health? In this article, I will be discussing multiple coping mechanisms, which I believe work.
***DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that these coping mechanisms do not work for everyone. I am not a psychologist, therefore the advice given is from personal experience.
Make it into a character.
Yes, that right, bring your mental health to life. You may have seen on Facebook, little snippets of illustrations of mental illnesses. Toby Allen created these illustrations to make his illness more manageable. He stated that it made his “monsters” feel weaker, therefore he was able to look at them comically.
The first step to creating your monster is to think of something that makes you laugh. I created “Bea La Fea” which translates to Beatrice the ugly. This helps because you have personalised your mental health, meaning you can tell it to go away or to come back. This creates a bigger connection within yourself, suggesting a better understanding of one’s self and mental health.
I will swear by this miracle potion until the day I find something better. Edward Bach was an English homoeopath in the 1930’s. Bach found that the dew found on flowers could be used to retain the healing properties from the plant. From this, Bach flower remedies have been popular ever since. Rescue remedy is the Ventolin to most anxious people. The Blended Bach flowers (Rockrose, star of Bethlehem, cherry plum, impatiens, and clematis) are mixed with solutions of grape-based-brandy and water. The liquid form goes underneath your tongue, where it seeps into your bloodstream instantly. This small bottle has saved me from many panic attacks, irritation, and extreme anxiety. You can also get this fantastic remedy in spray form and pill form.
Yoga and meditation.
For the first 18 years of my life, my mum would remind me to take a half hour out of the day to meditate and stretch my muscles. Me, being your typical stubborn Aquarius, I did not listen. My mother is a highly professionally trained Iyengar yoga teacher, therefore yoga is part of her everyday routine. Iyengar is one of the strictness and hardest types of yoga, however, its health benefits outweigh the “I can’t be bothered” thoughts, and also, anyone can do it.
On my 19th birthday, I asked my mum how she remained so calm and presence in moments of stress and chaos, she replied with “self-control” which is something we all miss when feeling anxious. Yoga teaches you just that.
The philosophy of yoga is more significant than just exercising your muscles, it is about self-discipline and self-love. This is something everyone needs, but due to social constructs, we push our selflessness and love aside. Firstly, it is essential to know that not everyone is born skilled and flexible, so its ok to not be great at it. Secondly, it must be continuous. Yes, it is true, after yoga you might feel amazing, however, this only lasts a few hours until life grabs you back from utopia. To feel balanced and calm, you must have a routine to go along with yoga, that does mean meditating at least half hour every day.
But by introducing new good habits to our routines, we can control our anxieties and stress’.
Treating oneself to nice healthy stuff.
When we say “treat yourself,” we think of the impulsivity of eating a whole chocolate cake or going to your favourite shop and spending half of your bank balance. We must understand, that this action is not treating ourselves unless it has a positive outcome.
Practising self-love and self-care is always a better way of treating yourself, rather than indulging inexpensive but short-lived pleasures like shopping and food. Examples of self-love are:
- long salt baths
- clay masks,
- getting up early and meditating,
- cooking healthy fulfilling meals,
- practising yoga,
- listen to music and dance
- go out with friends
- read or write
- organise or declutter.
I hope these small coping mechanisms help your day to day life and help you recover from your own monsters.