So the first thing I want to point out with the following blog, is that I’m not a mental health professional, nor any kind of medical professional. I am however, a long standing anxiety sufferer, and after many a years of managing it, here are some tips which I find beneficial when having a bad episode of anxiety. What I would also stress, is if you are struggling with your anxiety, or any other mental health conditions, please reach out to your GP or a medical professional. There are many organisations which can offer you help and support through difficult times. Right, on with my blog post... I hope you find it useful.
10 tips for those anxious moments...
Go for a 10 - 15 min walk
Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing.* Getting outside for a short walk can be hugely beneficial on my mental health. You don’t need to head for countryside and mountains. Even if you live smack bang in the middle of a city, just head to your local park or even take a walk to your local shop. The fresh air alone will enliven your senses, and hopefully in turn calm your senses.
Run yourself a bath / or have a long shower
Just taking 20-30 minutes out of your day to take a long bath / shower helps to ease my anxiety. Pick a time when you are unlikely to be distracted. And fingers crossed, the peace and serenity should help you to relax. And finally for added calmness, consider adding an essential oils, such as lavender oil, to promote relaxation.
Sit down with a cuppa in a quiet room for 15 mins
Again choose a time when you’re unlikely to be interrupted and just take some time out. Grab your favourite magazine to flick through, grab a book which you’ve been meaning to get through, or even check out one of the favourite blog posts.
Practice 10 mins of meditation
I find meditation incredibly beneficial in easing my anxiety. Although I would always recommend finding a local meditation class, sometimes juggling life might not always allow this. What I do find really useful is the Calm app which you can download via your smart phone. (Please note this is not an ad or a sponsored article in promoting the Calm App, I just find this a really helpful tool in managing my mental health.) We also have a Monthly Mindfulness class and regular yoga classes which incorporate meditation within the sessions which you may find beneficial. Click here for our class timetable.
Find a local Yoga class
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. The main components of yoga are postures (a series of movement designed to increase strength and flexibility) and breathing. I find personally, that Yoga helps me to switch off my racing thoughts and worries. This NHS article is fantastic to see if yoga would be suitable for you, and also offers an online beginners class which you may find helpful. Click here to view the article. If a yoga class is off interest to you, we also have sessions that run throughout the week here at Beehive. Click here to view our class timetable.
Turn on some tunes
Research in the past, has found that music releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical in your brain. It also found that dopamine was up to 9% higher when volunteers listened to music that they enjoyed. It may be obvious to us, but it is strong evidence for the link between music and mental wellbeing.* Personally I do love to put on a feel good playlist and pretend that I’ve actually got the voice of Adele whilst doing a bit of housework. Who doesn’t right?!
I absolutely love any type of crafting activity. However whether you sketch, paint, write, knit, compose or play music, being creative focuses attention.* And it also might be an opportunity to learn a new skill or hobby. I often find when I'm crafting that my mind focuses on the task in hand, so I'm distracted from my anxious thoughts.
Control your breathing
By focusing on your breathing will give your body and mind to chance to reduce your heightened anxiety. Take a deep breath fully into your chest and abdomen and slowly exhale.^ By focusing on your breath, allows your mind to wander away from the worries and anxiety your mind is currently focusing on. The extra oxygen circulating through the body will encourage clearer thoughts.^ For a more in-depth breathing exercise click here for this NHS article.
Stick by a regular bedtime routine
There's a close relationship between sleep and mental health. Living with a mental health problem can affect how well you sleep, and poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health.*
Click here to view an article from Mind which has some great tips if you struggle with sleeping patterns. Personally I tend to wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to get back to sleep, I find sleep stories in my Calm app hugely beneficial for this. They help me drift back off to sleep. Again not an ad, I just like this app.
Reminding yourself to take notice of your thoughts, feelings, body sensations and the world around you is the first step to mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation involves sitting silently and paying attention to thoughts, sounds, the sensations of breathing or parts of the body, bringing your attention back whenever the mind starts to wander. If you are interested in practicing mindfulness, click here to view a great article on the NHS website which will talk you through the steps. Again we also have a monthly mindfulness class that takes place here at Beehive, click here for more details.
Again I can't re-iterate enough the importance of contacting your GP or a medical professional if your anxiety or any mental health condition has gone beyond the self-help methods. There are so many organisations out there to offer help, support and guidance in these difficult times.
This blog has been written by a member of the Beehive Team
^ Breathe magazine, issue 24