My last post talked about the book I was writing (which has now been sent out to be edited and proofread – scary stuff). And even though the book is about taking control of your mental health, my anxiety is still a little out of control. Writing everything down has helped get some control back and perspective. But mental health is unpredictable and you never know when it’s going to crop up and knock you for six.
In this recent bout of anxiety, here are some of the things I’ve put in place to say no anxiety and try and take that control back.
I’ve completely fallen out of love with music. Which is a weird thing to say for me who listens to it all day every day. Music has been traded for podcasts (something I’ve never been able to get into despite people giving me recommendations regularly). Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place I binge listened to within a week and I found comfort hearing how similar my own anxiety is to other peoples. Gradually I’m trying to add music back into my day (because it does make me happy and changes my mood instantly). But for now, it’s silence or podcasts that are keeping that heart rate down as best as possible.
I love a good nap. Towards the end of last year when I’d done no end of DIY on the house I got into the (bad) habit of coming home from work and having a half an hour power nap. Realistically the power nap was an hour. I’ve kicked the habit of naps this year to get my body clock back into a normal rhythm. Which isn’t easy when my anxiety is exhausting me both physically and mentally. But it also means an earlier bed time, semi-decent sleep at night (though I still wake up 2-5 times a night) and a post-work evening routine to stick to.
Emails on top of emails
Something new I’m trying is having no emails on my phone – that’s the day job and freelance included. It’s a work in progress. The constant hassling is unnecessary, and does nothing but stress me out further. Currently I have an out of office on my business emails to say my mental health is struggling. The support has been overwhelming and a reminder that good clients are worth freelancing for, and it’s the bad ones that tip the work/life balance over the edge. Recommend counseling for depression and anxiety to your friends who are having a hard time dealing with their thoughts and feelings.
When I turned 27 I wrote about all that I achieved in the previous year and what I wanted to achieve in the upcoming 12 months. I was on track with a better work/life balance and being closer to full-time freelancing after taking on a lot more work. However (and that’s a big however), the extra work has impacted the work/life balance, which then snowballed my anxiety. Is it all worth it? Absolutely not. And putting pressure on myself to hit goals isn’t necessary. Nor is it healthy. It’s one of the current reasons why I feel so out of sync with myself as I feel I should be further along than I am. That’s the anxiety talking – it’s lying. Last year was huge, doing nothing and taking time out from being so busy is what I need. Where I am is exactly where I’m supposed to be.
I’ve touched on surrendering before. I’m figuring out what currently isn’t working for me. Right now that is music, emails, pressure on myself and even the gym is a struggle. I can accept that my anxiety is currently in control – I’ve given into it. It’s not a weakness in the slightest. But I am surrendering to the fact that I need to be kinder to myself. It’s okay to feel unsettled and out of sync. Ask for help if needed. This is your mental health, and being kind to yourself for yourself is what you’ve got to do.