Some days are better than others. Sometimes the anxiety just becomes too much to handle. Luckily there are a few helpful ways to help you unwind and let go of your tension. I speak from experience when I say that I know anxiety can be terrifying. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we allow our anxiety to take hold of us.
How to unwind?
It might seem like such a daunting task but there are a tricks that can help ease an overwhelming sense of anxiety. For me, these tips and tricks are always very helpful and I hope that by sharing them I’ll be able to help another beat their anxious feelings and learn to unwind.
Tip 1: Watch your fave movie series/read your fave book
I have a few favourite books and movies for when I’m feeling anxiuous. The Harry Potter is top on that list for both books and movies but also Disney films. For that hour and a half, my mind is somewhere else and while I know the problem will still be there when the movie or chapter is over, I know I’ve allowed myself that time. Allowing yourself the time to unwind is very crucial and if that means watching your favourite movie every night for a week then so be it.
Tip 2: watch your fave series/youtuber
Pretty much the same as the tip above, watching your favourite series or youtuber will allow you an escape. However, a time needs to be set when it comes to this form of escape. If you have a deadline, electing to watch 8 hours of series to avoid your anxiety is NOT the solution. That being said, if you’ve been hard at work for several hours and you begin to feel your anxiety mounting then take a break and watch one episode of your favourite series or one of your favourite youtubers videos. It’s important to be strict with this as it can easily lead to more intensified anxiety.
Tip 3: Watch the sunset
There are very few things quite as soothing as watching the sunset. I’m not saying you’re all of a sudden going to stop feeling anxious but I am saying it will give you a bit of perspective. It might feel like the world is crashing all around you but if you take a moment to just enjoy this simple pleasure then you’ll slowly start to appreciate each day more. You will no longer allow your anxiety to rid you of the opportunity to appreciate nature and you’ll start to put your problems into perspective.
Tip 4: Do some yoga/go for a jog
Exercise is one of the top tricks for managing anxiety. Every doctor I’ve ever spoken to about my anxiety has encouraged exercise in one form or another. Going for a jog or doing cardio can help release tension and flood your body with endorphins which will lift your spirits. I choose to jog and do yoga as my form of release but any vigorous exercise will do the trick.
Tip 5: Cuddle your loved one/pet
Pets are wonderful beings – they love you no matter what you’re feeling. If you have a dog then you know what I mean, even a cat! We have a cat and despite what you might think, she’s very loving and can sense when something is wrong. Her company is enough to make me feel better and while she might not cuddle like a dog, she’s fluffy and adorable. Also, if you happen to have a husband/wife/bae then turn to them. Cuddle them until you feel ready to let go, that’s what they’re there for. Okay not only that but really, people who love you will want to be there for you and sometimes a good hug/cuddle is all the therapy we need.
Tip 6: Listen to music and dance
What I’ve learnt, from years of experience is that music can change your mood. Many a night have been spent dancing around my room listening to cheesy old school music. Dancing, like exercising releases endorphins and will lift your spirits. Even if 80s Madonna isn’t your thing, then pick your genre and go crazy. Obviously, music that is filled with sad emotional messages won’t really help to boost your spirits and help alleviate your feelings of anxiety, so try stick to upbeat tunes.
Tip 7: Drink a cup of tea/coffee/wine
I live for tea. I’m not a coffee drinker but tea is my thing! When I’m feeling anxious, a good cup of tea goes a long way. Whether you’re a tea or coffee lover, or maybe you enjoy a glass of wine, don’t deny yourself these treats. Note: all within reason! Too much tea or coffee can result in an overload of caffeine which is the opposite of what you want because that will intensify your anxiety. Same goes with wine, too many glasses will lead to a nasty hangover which will lead to guilt and further anxiety. So have your cuppa of coffee/tea/hot chocolate or wine but all within reason.
Tip 8: Treat yourself
This doesn’t mean go on a spending spree because this can end disastrously. I simply mean, give yourself a DIY facial and face mask or a mani-pedi. Effortless treats that you can do in the comfort of your own home, treats that will take your mind off your issue and lift your mood. Once you’ve treated yourself you’ll begin to feel better about yourself and feel ready to approach your tasks or that which is making you anxious. alternatively, you could treat yourself to a massage at a local spa. A massage is great for releasing tension and will help you rest better and thus think clearer.
Tip 9: Take a hot Shower/bath
While this has become a luxury to us here in Cape Town, it definitely works. When you’re feeling anxious, take a hot bath or shower and perhaps light some lavender incense or candles to create a soothing mood. Use some essential oils on your skin or bath in epsom salts. You’ll soon begin to feel the tension in your body relax and you’ll be able to think clearer.
Tip 10: Read the Bible
This is obviously specific to a persons religious beliefs. So please feel free to skip this tip if it’s not for you. For me, I know that turning to the bible gives me a sense of peace and relief knowing that God is on my side. Praying is also very soothing and will help release any anxious feelings you might be holding onto.
Tip 11: Talk to someone
As simple as this may seem, it’s often overlooked. When we feel anxious, we feel like no one will understand what we’re feeling and so instead we hold onto what we’re feeling and try to solve it internally. This can work but more often than not it’s detrimental to your chances of feeling and getting better. Often, just having someone to talk to can make the world of a difference – they can provide a whole new point of view and sometimes just help you unwind by simply listening. I have my husband and my family and friends but I also have a psychologist who I rely on. Seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of, it is important to look after your mental health.
Along with these tips, I have a few simple reminders for dealing with daily anxiety. These reminders have been given to by my psychologist.
Don’t forget to breathe. This pain will pass, you will overcome this challenge and soon it will be in your past. When you’re feeling anxious, take a deep breath in and slowly release it. Repeat this until you feel better.
Get the sleep you need. Trust me, lack of sleep will do you no good. Even if it means taking a sleeping pill, so be it. When you get your 6-8 hours your brain is able to function properly and make rational decisions. Without the sleep you will begin to feel worse and worse. The task will be there in the morning, you will be able to face it then.
If your anxiety is caused by a situation or environment you’re in then change it! If you’re unhappy with your current relationship then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship and ultimately cut ties. This doesn’t mean leave your crappy job without a backup plan or move on a whim without a next time. Plan, prepare and make the change you need in your life.
This is possibly one of the most important – take everything one step at a time. Even if it means telling yourself “I just have to make it through this hour” for every hour of the day. It works, believe me. It helps you manage the task on hand and break it up into manageable chunks. Even if it’s not a task that is causing anxiety, even if it’s a feeling you can’t attach to a situation, just take it one small step at a time.
If you have any advice to share please do so! Also, if you need someone to talk to – feel free to contact me, I’m happy to try help as much as I can.
Read more on how I feel about anxiety here.
You’re not alone and you can tackle your anxiety.
Thanks, VB xx