A topic that has been on the front of my mind pretty much everyday for the past few months is fear. The reason for this is due to a huge amount of upheaval and change in my life, and my brain is feeling it. I’m not ok, I have had panic attacks, trouble sleeping, and instead of being my usual confident, positive self, iv’e been a negative ball of anxious energy.
I know that when I live my life in fear of what is coming next I forget about the present. I miss that opportunity to laugh with someone, I miss the gorgeous sunrise, and I miss the everyday miracle of being alive. Its a tough cycle to get out of, I’m still in it. I’m afraid of what will come tomorrow, if I will be good enough, if I will have regrets, or if I will make a difference. Because I so strongly want to make a difference in this world during my life. I want to see a change in the way we deal with healthcare, I want to stand up and be the one to make noise and lead the change. But I can’t do that if I am living in fear.
So what am I doing about it? Well at the moment I am trying to get through everyday. Uni is the toughest, with assignments coming out my ears, and decisions about where I go next-do I study dietetics, do I wait? And work as well, I have just accepted a fantastic new job which starts next week, and although I am incredibly excited about it, I am also afraid. What if I am not good enough? Then of course there is all the rest-family, friends, money, exercise, health, diet, mental health, spiritual health, goals and finally my car. Its all swirling around in this crazy brain of mine, its terribly hard to get it to stop.
So if this sounds familiar to you, I urge you to speak up-lets have a conversation about fear, stress and anxiety. Because if you are not ok, you don’t have to deal with it alone. There are so many incredible people in this world, many of which will be feeling the same as you right now. We are brought up to put on a strong face, to pretend we are ok, to not show emotion and to be brave. But it is ok to cry, its ok to feel weak, its ok to not be ok. We are part of this beautiful community of human beings, and I think we need to start acting like a team, supporting and motivating each other to be the best we can.
So here are my top tips for dealing with fear, anxiety and stress:
Its simple, but effective. A few weeks ago when I was having a panic attack (It was really scary because I had never had one before) my partner Cam was amazing, he simply told me to breath. It was like my brain had forgotten. And his words guided my to regain control of my breathing, and to allow my brain to be a little clearer.
In times of fear and stress going for a walk does wonders. If you don’t have time, its ok, only go for 5 minutes, but the benefits of getting outside in the fresh air, with the grass and the trees will help you to get focused again, and to try to keep cool, calm and collected. If you need to cry, its ok, those trees aren’t going anywhere-and they won’t judge you.
3. Call a friend
When in doubt, call or catch up with that friend you know will be there for you. Get it all out, talk it through, they will listen, and give you the best honest advice. Sometimes all you need is an ear to listen to your problems. And sometimes, afterwards, they don’t seem so bad.
4. Let it out
There is no point trying to keep it in. Its too hard, its like air filling a bottle, and the more you try to keep that air in, the more it wants to get out. And if you don’t let it out, it will explode. So cry, scream, break things, stomp around, rip paper, whatever you need to do to physically release the negative, fearful energy. A few plates and cups are worth your mental health.
During the last few weeks I have pampered myself more than I have in the past few years. Get your hair done, nails, eyebrows, massage, facial. Tell yourself you are beautiful and strong, and you will get through this. For me this makes me feel like I have it all together, and I know that the better I feel on the outside, the better ill feel on the inside. Treat your body, allow it space and time. YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL HUMAN.
I know when stress, fear and anxiety rise up, its easier just to grab takeout. But seriously, you are not doing yourself any favours by taking the easy option. Instead, put on the slow cooker with a big old stew, curry or soup. That way when you get home from work/uni etc you can easily grab a big, warm, nourishing bowl of goodness. Eat fruit, smoothies, veggies, porridge, yoghurt, and nuts. Don’t go grabbing that packet of biscuits, bar of chocolate or bag of chips. It may ,make you feel better right now, but getting on that road to feeling better comes from the inside.
Its ok to take a mental health day. You are entitled to sick days, and honestly its just as important to take it for mental health as it is for physical health. Your body will thank you for it, rest, sleep, relax, read a book, walk the dog, go to the beach, watch a movie, binge watch your favourite tv show. And don’t judge yourself for doing so, or feel guilty. This is your body and your mental health. Take control of it, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad.
Sometimes. its helps for me to get it out on paper (or in this case on screen), get that old dusty journal out, and write your heart out. Let out all the thoughts, negative emotions, fears, stresses, anxieties, and anything that has worried you. This is no time for holding back, so be brutally honest with yourself. Allow your self to scribble the pages, fill them up with everything on your mind. Let the pages take you away, and allow you to clear your head from the negative energy, you don’t need to hold onto that stuff. If it helps, once you are done, rip the pages and burn them, physically letting go of the feelings and thoughts. Then, once you are done, write down a purely positive mantra or quote that will take you to a place of clear, positive, beautiful thoughts.
And most importantly of all, LOVE YOURSELF! You are a beautiful, intelligent, capable human being.
If you have any tips that have helped you to get through times of fear, anxiety and stress, comment below, you never know who you might be helping.