So today I wanted to share something a little different with you all…
You know that feeling when you wake up and can’t move… can’t get out of bed… can’t find the energy to eat. That feeling that you’ve been sucked into another anxiety spiral and all you can do is just go with it.
That was how Monday started for me. I cancelled class and was spiralling. Now you’re probably wondering why?! To be honest… I have no idea why! I had the most incredible week and most amazing birthday that I woke up expecting the other shoe to drop… Almost feeling like the experience couldn’t have been real….
Luckily I have my emergency toolkit and was able to tap into that.
So what do I mean by emergency toolkit… well it’s just like it sounds- A series of tools you can tap into whenever you need them. Some are easier to do than others but just having the range of them there helps. So here’s what’s in my bag:
- Meditation (1,2 or 20 minutes). Just being able to stop, close your eyes and breath. I find this the most effective tool to use when you first notice yourself getting anxious… when you feel like things are starting to pile up. Meditation is less helpful when you’re full on spiralling as it’s just time for me to sit and spiral some more.
- Sleep. I notice that I’m more susceptible to anxious attacks when I’m tired or when I haven’t been sleeping well. Sleep is such a vital part of our life and it’s so easy to trim it out when we are busy and the tasks are piling up.
- A good cry. The thing I’ve learnt is that I need to cry… I need to let the emotions out and there is no good in trying to keep it all in. I usually just let myself ride this one out.
- Talk. Yes yes yes! Talk and talk some more!! A lot of my anxiety was made worse by not talking about it. I just kept it in my head and that made it seem more real. Having learnt from this I know how important it is to talk… talk to your friend… your partner… someone who can hold space for you! I love using the voice memo tool for this on whatsapp. It’s a space where I can talk… interrupted or swayed by other peoples advice or body language. Usually just talking about it out loud will bring me back.
- Read a book. I’ve been reading a fair few books recently on anxiety. For me it shows me that I’m not the only one feeling this! I’m not alone…
- Go outside. By far the most effective tool around! By this I don’t mean get on the tube and go to oxford street! (That will induce more stress if anything!)… I mean get outside to nature… your nearest green spot… nearest tree or nearest woods! Last night we went for a walk in our local woods and discovered so many incredible areas. There’s something so special about being outside, breathing fresh air and walking in nature! Walking on grass, next to trees… just listening to the rustling of leaves and the sounds of birds that brings you back to the present moment, makes you stop and admire mother nature.
- Journal. Set yourself a 5 minute timer and don’t take your pen off the paper in that time. Just keep writing even if it’s “I don’t know what to write”… eventually something will shift. This tool is best used when you don’t feel confident enough to talk about it but you need a release. It’s also an amazing way to check in with yourself and be truly honest. It’s also an amazing opportunity to release or give forgiveness but also write a gratitude list.
- A hug. This is so special! And by a hug I mean a real hug… one you are comfortable holding for a minute or two. Being held shows you physically that you are supported… you’re not alone. The physical act of a hug also brings you out of the mind and into the body. For some people getting onto the yoga mat and flowing is like a self hug too!
- Do what you love. Be creative… If you love to paint, draw, dance… whatever it is for you! Let your creative side take over a little and move in a different way. Being able to do something which doesn’t have a deadline or isn’t a set task for anyone means you can just enjoy the activity with no expectations. For me this is walking a dog! Literally nothing brings a bigger smile to my face than animals- they’re so pure and all loving, they hold no judgement or expectation and are excited by the smallest things (a stick!). So I remind myself to be more dog.
- You do you. Take some time to do what you want to do. So much of my anxiety stems from the pressure of doing things for other people! Sometimes I need to remind myself “You do You”.
So there you have it! My emergency toolkit! I’d love to hear from you if you do something similar or have more tools in your box or even if you now take 5 minute of your day to write out your own toolkit.
For more information on this “Yoga Girl” did an amazing podcast on it a while back where she talks about her methods as well.
For now I leave you with all my love