Staying Grounded: A Method To My Madness When it Comes to Anxiety and Depression

Ahhh yes…anxiety is the biggest pain in the a** of a friend, if I do say so myself. We have it for a reason – it’s to keep us safe, and help us consider things before we do them! Anxiety cares a lot about our well being.  But sometimes it gets so incredibly carried away, that it starts to be counterproductive, and leaves us feeling scared about life, scared to be hurt, worried about what others think… and ends up stopping us from living! It stops us from being content with life and feeling a sense of inner peace.I’m sitting here in London, at my old student house, with one of my best friends Lauren as we listen to Joni Mitchell and Jack Johnson. The sun is shining into the living room, seemingly making everything glow a little more than normal. It’s December 3rd already, but yet it feels like spring outside and I’m catching myself smiling for no apparent reason that comes to my head. I question how I got here.  When did I get to a point in my life where this has become my reality? Have things always been this beautiful, and I just couldn’t see it? Or am I at a place in my life where my perspective on the world has been changed? It may be a little bit of both.  Undoubtedly, I know the work I’ve done on myself has impacted the way I see the world, and the appreciation I have for myself, my people, and the things and places around me. What used to be work, has started to become a habit. And I’ve caught myself doing things that help my wellbeing without even realize what I’m doing.

But even with the most open and positive perspective, things get tough sometimes.
Especially around December, when it seems things start to get really hectic. It’s during times like these that it’s good to keep a reminder of what helps you stay grounded and at peace. This is my personal toolkit that I have found helps me best.

 

 

Staying Grounded: A Method To My Madness

1) Writing. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but writing is my escape, haha! I love it so much. It helps me make sense of what’s going on in my head. And it helps me take something ugly, and turn it into something beautiful. Whether that be in music, or poetry, or just seeing words come together that make sense. Writing is such a good way to let go of what has been locked up inside you, and releasing that built up emotional energy from your soul. I always feel so refreshed after. This is great for when you are comfortable being in your head and understanding your feelings, rather than avoiding them.

2)Dancing. Yes. Pull a Greys Anatomy. Do a Mer and Cristina. There’s nothing like blasting a great tune, and dancing around your room to it, full on Risky Business style. I can guarantee you will feel whole bunches of bananas better after. (I can’t believe I just said that ahahah)

3) Chewing Gum. This is such an odd one, but it totally makes sense. I have anxious tendencies, and I overthink things, and catch myself playing with anything I can get my hands on. Chewing gum just gets my body doing one more motion… something repetitive that releases just a little bit more energy. I’m a very kinesthetic person, and I fidget all the time… so this helps me get rid of that anxious energy without thinking too much about it. I can definitely think clearer when I’m chewing gum, and keep my attention more focused.

4)Going for Walks in Nature. Okay, I know this is standard and every therapist I’m sure has mentioned this at least a thousand times. It’s not news. But it’s so good, that it had to be mentioned! And my favourite thing.

5)Mundane tasks. I admit, on my day to day, I really don’t enjoy housework. But have you ever had a paper to write, and you were stressed, and suddenly you find yourself wanting to clean and organize everything in sight? …Exactly what I’m talking about!! If I find myself being anxious while I’m doing a shift at the bar I work at, I will find some sort of repetitive task to do – such as punching tickets to put on coat hangers for coat check. Or when I was living in London, it was washing dishes. It just puts both your mind and your body at ease by investing it’s energy on something else, rather than getting trapped in your head.

6) Making Playlists. This is easily one of my favourite pastimes. If you go through my Spotify account… I likely have over 50 playlists of my own that I’ve thrown together over time. And unless you have things you need to be doing, you can literally do it anywhere if you have your phone on you, and it’s a totally discreet way of helping yourself out, and getting out of your head.

7) Animals!!!! Therapy dogs exist for a reason, and there’s totally a reason why I make animal friends wherever I go (I don’t suggest petting a groundhog, like I did though… that might have been a little bold). But animals just bring so much joy. Animals are the BEST for calming down the soul (…and your heart rate ahaha). My cat is my best friend when I’m in need of some serious self-love. He makes me laugh, and is the biggest suck in the world, so he’s always down to snuggle up to your neck like a little happy cat scarf. And if I can’t get a real animal – hilarious videos of animals always seems to do the trick.

8) This is a TERRIBLE example, and a last resort. It’s for days where you just don’t have the energy. But honestly, throwing on Netflix and getting lost in a storyline can be such an easy way to take a step away from your brain when things become too much. Books are great for this too. I try and use this only on days where I’m struggling to get energy, though. Comedy’s are great. I used to resort to watching Friends a lot. Lately, dramas have been the go to, though!

9) Yoga! It’s been a little while since I’ve done this, but fully intend on jumping back on the Yoga bandwagon. Yoga is so so so good for the body and the soul. And I love that it helps you find a sense of inner love and peace within yourself, and that the goal of it is to be very in tune with your body and mind – relieving both mental and physical tensions you may have. Plus its easy to do on your own in your home – and varying levels of difficulty – so pretty much anyone can take a stab at it!

10) Picking up a new hobby. Okay so these aren’t all hobbies, but spicing up your life in any way seems to be helping me stay positive, and motivated and excited! Do things you’ve always wanted to try, or try something like nothing you’d ever done before. For example… I never thought I’d work at a bar. Never in my life! BUT it’s been so fun for me to do that –  it get’s me meeting new people all the time (and I get to groove to the music all night – which is a blast).  I also got my smart serve, finally got my G1 (and have been doing the training), while also throwing in working towards my real estate license!  All of this I had no clue I was going to do – but it’s kept my life really exciting for me, and keeps me on my toes.

Some of the smaller things that help for me are; making a tea, holding on to kind words people have said to me and reading them when I’m blue, listing off all  of the things I am proud of, playing categories with myself, acknowledging the emotion I’m experiencing is only a feeling, and that it will pass (it isn’t who I am, it is an experience I’m having vs. I am this emotion), making photo albums, art, etc. All in all, these are just a few of the things I really find helps me. This, of course, will not be the case for everyone. What works as your therapy toolkit will vary so much, since people are all so unique. There have been many things I’ve tried that work wonders for some people, but I had only found minimally effective (very extraverted activities I find exhaust me more than they recharge me). Or cooking. Cooking does NAWT calm me down in the slightest haha!! BUT having a few that you KNOW work for you is so good. And usually, they are likely things you did here and there anyways – so basically you’re just taking parts of your life that you like… and doing them more habitually, keeping your mood boosted J  So tadaaaa! That is my list!
If you have any things that you find work really well for yourself, shoot me a message or comment! I always love getting new ideas, and hearing about peoples’ experiences!!

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