Anxiety crept up on me out of nowhere and smothered me with a permanent feeling of dread. As the weeks went on it got so bad that when I went to bed, my heart was pounding so much that I thought it was going to stop and I would die in my sleep. It made me feel weak as a person and embarrassed that this was happening to me. I was a fit and healthy person who did yoga, running, practised meditation and ate well, so I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me.
My first step to recovery was acceptance and then began my journey to being well again. I would like to share with you my tips of how I managed anxiety:
Surround yourself with a positive support network of family and friends and seek help from your GP and other sources.
Breathing is key to calming the adrenals and feeling in control again. Lie down somewhere quiet and place one hand on your heart and one hand above your stomach in between your rib cage. Take a deep breath in through the nose for 7 slow counts and breathe out for 7. Keep doing this until you feel calm again. Acknowledge any thoughts that pop into your mind but try to keep concentrating on your breathing.
Writing a journal is a good way to offload what’s on your mind and identify patterns/triggers for the cause of your anxiety.
Set yourself a positive mantra that you can recite every morning to keep in a positive and calm mindset. Keep positive affirmations on post it notes and place in prominent places around your home e.g. on the fridge, mirror. Also checkout You Tube and Ted Talks for inspiration.
Most important of all is to be kind to yourself. Guard your thoughts on how you are talking to yourself, stopping any negative thought patterns. If you are having a bad day, don’t worry, for tomorrow is always a new day.
Set yourself a daily routine for the day so that you have a sense of purpose and structure. Do something for yourself that you enjoy whether it is a walk in park, sitting in the garden, reading a book, soaking in a hot bath – anything that is relaxing. Being outdoors for at least 20 minutes every day is beneficial for your well being, topping up your vitamin D levels and getting some fresh air. Being in nature is also very therapeutic.
Although you may not feel like it at the moment, you will get through this and there is support available. There are many other people suffering from anxiety too, so you are not alone. Your main priority is to seek help to be well again and find what works for you. You will have learned wise lessons from this experience and will develop a toolkit to maintain your mental wellbeing going forward.
Maria Mander is a PA and has now branched out into well being in the workplace. Good health and well being is a big passion of hers. Her hobbies include running, yoga and meditation. Through recently being off work with anxiety, she has just started mindfulness through baking.
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