So recently I did a post on my Anxiety, it was called Anxiety – My Story. Here I told you a bit about my Anxiety, how long I had it before I seeked help and some of my experiences. The response I had to that post was amazing and I want to thank everyone who liked, commented and shared their support. From that post I asked if anybody would like me to do a post on how I dealt with my anxiety before seeking medical help and a few of you said you would like to see that so here it is.
Firstly I struggled to come up with a title for this post, should I call it Anxiety Coping Mechanisms? How to overcome Anxiety? I settled on Tips to help relieve your Anxiety because everyone’s Mental Health is different. What worked for me might not work for you. So when your reading this post please don’t think that any of this is a cure, sadly it isn’t but some of these tips helped relieve my anxiety symptoms for a little while.
If you read my Anxiety Story then you will know it took me years to finally get the courage to go to my doctor. I first got symptoms when I was 11 and I visited the Doctor at 21? So that’s 10 years of struggling back and forth. Those years were filled with really good times and really bad times. So without further ado here are some things I picked up along the way which helped relieve my Anxiety for a little while. Some of these may seem stupid to you but like I mention everybody is different.
1) Stress Relief Tablets – The Obvious One…
During my A-levels many of my friends used products like Kalms during Exam season. What they are is herbal tablets which help with Stress. Exams are a big trigger for me like they probably are for a lot of you. I would make myself sick and pretty much not sleep for days leading up to an exam. I was just terrified. When I entered the room my revision was gone and my head… empty.
My mum actually got me some herbal stress relief tablets when I was in my first year of uni and struggling to get on the train everyday to go. They had Valerian in them which helped me with my lack of sleep. They tasted absolutely awful and made me gag but for a little while they worked. Part of me, the cynic in me thinks it was like a placebo effect, where I thought this tablet says it relieves Anxiety so my brain just associated it as a cure and I was fine for the day. But I can’t deny I was finally about to sleep better and go to uni without my physical symptoms.
There’s a number of herbal medicines that combat stress relief on the market, if you are wanting to try one please just make sure you go to a proper retailer. If you are in the UK Holland and Barrett sells numerous herbal medications. For those of you who live Internationally then I don’t know a specific place to name but if you go to your local Organic or Herbal seller which sells products like Cod Liver Oil Tablets then see if they have any. Or even wherever they sell cold and flu relief medicines then just check the aisles and see what they have.
I say this because I don’t want anybody to order anything online unless it’s a website you know and trust. Otherwise there could be anything in them, you can’t always trust ingredients listed on the box.
I can already imagine your face now. Youtube? How will that help? You may be surprised. As we know YouTube has pretty much everything on there. When I feel really stressed trying to do work or struggling to sleep then I find a video of ‘white noise’. Basically a hairdryer sound, which is a constant noise not too loud but it blocks out my thoughts and I can concentrate. If I’m in bed then I get sleepy.
Also on YouTube there is such a thing as an ASMR Community, which makes relaxing videos. You may know them from The Fine Brothers, who have done reaction videos on them. The community is one which you either love or hate I think. I came across a channel called ASMR Rooms, this girl creates animated scenes and fills them with relaxing sounds. For example as shown in the picture below she created Diagon Alley and you hear sounds associated with that.
Isn’t the animation seriously amazing? The girl is talented. I listen to her Harry Potter videos a lot. She also does other book series such as Sherlock Holmes so their basically a book lovers dream? If you’re on the fence then all I can say is ‘Don’t knock it until you try it’. When your anxious thoughts are plaguing your mind then just put one on whilst your trying to work and hopefully like me you will find you concentrate better.
3) Write it down.
For me my anxiety feels this giant pressure within me. Sometimes I need an emotional outburst to help relieve that so throughout the years I found writing a letter to myself helped. In that letter I would write down my feelings during that time and make sure to tell myself that even though I felt so low now things would get better. Even if I didn’t believe it at the time. Sometimes I felt like repeating that to myself helped me.
Or sometimes I would go the opposite way and write down my anger and everything I hated. I would end up crying and pouring my pent-up anger into this letter but afterwards I would feel cleansed. It allowed me to release everything I had been bottling up. I never personally keep a diary because frankly my family is NOSEY ASF and I know it wouldn’t stay private but writing a diary may also be helpful. When I had written the letter I would rip it up and allow the anger to be ripped away with it.
This technique is also good for getting out things you could never actually say to someone. Then it cleanses you of them thoughts, for example for me when I was about 12 my brother joined the army and I was so terrified of him going. I remember writing a letter as if I would send it to him begging him not to go. It made me feel better getting it out. Of course he never read that.
This method really worked for me during his tours of Afghanistan, during those months I felt like I had to bottle everything up for the families sake. So when alone I would allow that emotion to flow, relieving some of the stress and anxiety in me.
Before I went to my Doctor about my anxiety I had an appointment with a nurse for something totally different but I brought it up and she gave me a list of counselors I could see. Terrifying thought – which ended up with me pushing off seeing my Doctor even more. One of my biggest fears with my Anxiety is not being ‘normal’ and I associated a Counselor with the idea that would mean I’m not normal? But from her giving me that list I looked online and came across CBT – Cognititive Behavioural Therapy Apps. I downloaded one or two, I haven’t used them much but they can help you acknowledge what a trigger is for you and give you tips on how to break that trigger.
I’ve never tried actual CBT so I can’t comment on that or what it entails really. But I was so scared to even visit my DR that I would try anything so if you are like me then download an App. There are tons out there, I just went for the free ones to try. They might work better for some people than they did for me.
5) Blogging/ Find A Hobby
What makes me anxiety worse is of course Stress. Work, Uni/School/ family/relationship whatever you have in your life all piles up and you need a way to relieve some of your stress. Find something you enjoy and make sure to carve out time to let yourself relax. Watch a movie? Have a bath. I loved to read so I created my blog. Blogging does come with its own stresses, worrying about I’ve not posted enough etc but it’s also an amazing stress reliever and its helped me a lot.
The support from this community is amazing. The people you will meet even though they may live in Australia, France, Pakistan, India basically everywhere in the world may seem like their so far away but its like they went to the same school as you. The support is something I could never have imagined.
So my advice here is find something you love to do.
So there are five tips that have helped me in my Anxiety journey. I’m sure I have more and these may seem obvious to you but I hope they can provide some help to someone else’s journey and offer them advice. Maybe you’re even doing some of these now and just need to see that I too am doing things you tried.
Let me know in the comments what you think of this post.
Remember if you have Anxiety you’re not alone. You are normal. I spent years terrified thinking I wasn’t normal, that something was wrong with me but that’s not true.