Life Lessons, Mental Health

10 Things to Help You Cope with Anxiety

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This post (the first in way too long) is as much for myself as my treasured readers! It has been another period of deep introspection, unexpected anxiety, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. As those who know me well will recognise, such is the ebb and flow of a life lived with depth, pain and always open to growth.

Some days are harder than others on the heart, the soul and the resilience levels. Below are some of the ways that I attempt to seek the sunshine when the darkness threatens to steal my joy.

Put your feet in the grass or sand

Simple, delicious, grounding. As often as you can, find a patch of grass or expanse of sand and take the time to anchor your bare feet there. I do this in my back yard most days, especially on those days when my home office is becoming a little too familiar.

Spending a couple of lovely hours in the morning or evening sunshine on the sand at one of my local beaches is also guaranteed to help me cope with a crap day.

Journal

Still one of my most sacred practices, offloading all the words and emptying my busy brain. It has become a bit of a home therapy practice, after so many years of actual therapy I feel that this is a natural extension. I love a new notebook, and filling each blank page is such a beautiful practice.

Journalling doesn’t need to be structured, although that is perfectly fine if structure is your thing. For me it is more about a sacred release and tumbling of thoughts in an organic way. Sometimes I grab a favourite book and flick through for prompts from other’s writings. At the moment I am journalling my way through Melissa Ambrosini’s Open Wide.

Head to the library

So this was one of my favourite places to spend time at school, which makes perfect sense for a lifelong book worm! As much as I love the sensation of a new book, the smell and the flutter of pages, the library is a shrine to all things literary and my local library is a new favourite place to turn a crap down around. I borrow all of the books and immerse myself in the sacred practice of escapism or learning.

Remember you are not alone

Connecting with others, remembering that we are all in this together, these things have been a huge part of me coping with some of my darkest days. Thanks to the wonderful interwebs it is now easier than ever to connect, and to find a supportive tribe.

I started a little Facebook group called the art of single parenting about 2 years ago and it has grown to become a source of support, connection and shared experience for hundreds of single parents. Finding a group where you fit and can be your imperfect self at any hour of the day is something I highly recommend.

Plan something lovely

We all know that beautiful feeling of planning a holiday or special event. Half the joy is in the lead up! It doesn’t need to be a huge occasion to release that sense of joy and anticipation. Can you gather a small group of friends for something like High Tea or a dinner party? Can you organise a weekend away with your partner, family or bestie? Planning small, regular occasions such as these can really lift the spirits!

I recently planned a celebration of 9 years for my son-shine, and I am now focused on a Queenstown getaway and then a birthday party for myself and birthday buddy BFF!

Buy something

I know this goes against my tendency towards minimalism, it is however a suggestion grounded in purpose. Online shopping with a conscious can actually be quite meaningful, and where are you purposefully supporting small business and using your purchase power to take a stand against the tide of throw away and excess plastic, it becomes a whole lot more sacred.

Buy yourself something good for you and the world such as ethical make up or skincare from Nourished Life, or something beautiful from an ethical clothing brand. I use this app to find out who is most ethical in the fashion world: Good On You.

Read something soulful 

Lately I’ve been drawn to some really raw yet beautiful books, including Heart Talk by Cleo Wade and Becoming Beautiful by Becca Lee Poetry.

Some of the words that have helped me during recent dark times include:

“Just a friendly reminder. Nothing about you is a mistake. You are a gift and you are here for a reason. You deserve to take up space in the world, and we need you here.” (Cleo Wade, Heart Talk).

“Her harmony came not through the complete absence of chaos, but in the realisation that she was resilient enough to come back stronger from anything that she would endure.” (Becca Lee Poetry).

Talk about it!

Or write about it if you can, put it out there rather than keeping it all on the inside. The danger in not sharing cannot be underestimated, please dig deep and find the words or raise your hand so that someone knows you are not ok. Please also remember that it is perfectly ok if you are not ok all the time. Life is tough, but so are you. Together we can move through the darkness and find our light again.

Send flowers

Send flowers to yourself, or send them to someone else. I promise this one helps me every. single. time. The simple act of self love when you choose to honour yourself in this way is really quite powerful. Having fresh flowers in your world is symbolic, it is a beautiful reminder that you matter.

Be kind

Another of my favourites. When I find myself in the deepest of funks, I practice even more kindness than usual. Try it the next time you find yourself struggling with anxiety. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture, some days this is simply not possible. Anxiety can sometimes make the most simple tasks seem impossible. Text a few kind words to a friend or family member, leave a kind comment on a Facebook post or smile with purpose at a stranger.

Please reach out if you are struggling, you are never alone.

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