Managing Anxiety by Clara Moseley
Mental health is just as important to look after as your physical health. Coming out of the other end of a global pandemic where most of the population has had to spend more time than they ever expected at home, mental health issues are set to be on the rise.
3 years ago I left university and was given medication for severe anxiety, depression and panic disorder. The next few years have been used to try and work out how my mind works, what makes me happy and how to reduce the anxiety in my everyday life. I’m now at the point where I am looking at finishing university (finally), coming off of medication and moving into my very first home! Looking at mental health from a more natural perspective rather than a psychological and medical perspective has helped me to come to terms with the mind and collate a few tips that could help others on their wellness journey.
Eat well, regularly and enjoy your food!
This may seem like the most obvious advice that is always given to tackle mental health. However it really does work! I’m not suggesting you have to go vegan and super healthy, but cooking your own meals from scratch provides a useful distraction and a rewarding experience. Make the time to cook your meal and also make time to eat it and just appreciate what you have made. Trust me, it makes for a good break!
Fill your home with relaxing smells!
Something I have discovered only very recently is the joy of diffusing essential oils, both in water or through a candle. Essential oils have so many uses, and I recommend looking into what each one helps. For instance, my favourite to at the moment is Lavender, which is very relaxing and perfect just before bed as it makes you quite sleepy. There are also oils for energising your day, calming your mind and also helping boost your immune system. I recommend you look at the Kensho oils from Ethical Gifting, there are so many beautiful blends! There are also oils in small handbag sized bottles which are perfect for anxiety. Sometimes when I am out and about I use a small bit to rub on the wrists (or there are some you can put on the roof of your mouth (though I don’t recommend trying that in public) and the natural oils help to calm your heartrate right down.
Keep a journal
As an artist I love to keep myself busy, especially to calm and distract my mind. However bullet journaling is something that everyone can do. All you need to begin bullet journaling is a journal with blank or dotted pages, and a pen! There are so many more accessories you can buy, washi tapes, brush pens and stamps to really personalise your journal.
I use my journal to log my daily moods, meaning at the end of the month I can review how my mental health has been and set new goals for the next month depending on what I have struggled with. I also use the journal to track ‘To-Do’ lists, as boredom is my worst enemy. Keeping a list of things to do and new hobbies to try ensures that I can’t ever complain of having nothing to do.
I also use the journal to log special days out, and stick in photos and mementos. This means it gives me something to look at when I feel sad of all the happy days I have had over the last year to be thankful for. Another good journal idea is to write a small note every day of what made you happy. I don’t do this every day anymore as I feel content with how life is, but when I was low I found this really helped me through each day, and forced me to try and think positively rather than negatively.
Look after your sleep
Sleep can be a massive factor in mental health, and bad sleep often means you’ll have a bad day! I find that I need to relax for at least half an hour before bed otherwise my brain is racing for hours whilst I lie there. I usually put some lavender on to diffuse, and spend a bit of time away from screens such as reading, sewing or filling in my journal for the day. I also always make sure I have a routine before bed of washing my face etc and taking a bit of time to look after myself.
In terms of waking up, this can be a problem. Since being put on antidepressants, I feel like I could stay asleep all day, and often I have. This leads to problems of guilt and low self esteem so I decided to try and get up at a good time every day. I bought a light alarm clock, which emulates the rising of the sun to wake you up and I adore it. It has transformed my sleep and I have far less unhappy duvet days than I did before.
There are so many small changes you can make to your life to help with anxiety and depression, and these are only a few of the ones I have found. I try and post helpful tips and down to earth advice over on my Instagram, so feel free to get in contact with me there @clara_designs.