Coping with anxiety
Coping with Anxiety
Anxiety doesn’t have to be a fully diagnosed disorder to be a reality and it can come in so many different shapes and sizes. It is certainly something where one size and one solution doesn’t fit all.
The current Covid-19 crisis has been a trigger for anxiety for so many people who I know and work with. Our ‘new normal’ in lockdown and the anticipated changes that are to come are incredibly challenging. I’m sure there are many people who have never experienced anxiety before, who are now.
As I said anxiety doesn’t have a one size fits all treatment path or coping mechanism but I’ve asked a friend of mine to share how she copes with anxiety.
A friend’s experience
“I’ve always been what I would call a worrier. I have, for as long as I can remember, over thought everything and up until about two years ago I just kind of accepted that this was the way I was. It didn’t particularly get in the way of my happy life, it was just a part of me. However, as I’ve got older and crept into my 40s, my hormones have definitely made my anxiety worse. It got to a point where I realised I needed to address it. I did speak to my GP but the diagnosis was perimenopause and their solution included a discussion about taking antidepressants a path I was not willing to go down. I have worked with Ali and been friends with her for a number of years and I confided in her how I was feeling. How anxiety and fear were starting to take over and we worked together to find some solutions that would help me.”
“Firstly exercise! I’ve always been a relatively active person because I own two dogs so getting out and about every day is normal. However, what I’ve realised is that exercising to a point of my heart rate elevating and me feeling out of breath is what I need. I joined various classes and worked out what was right for me. Zumba, Boxing and going to the gym to run on the treadmill became my favourite three endorphin releasing activities. I still walk the dogs but that’s more of a gentle time out for me and them. I definitely need that endorphin rush.”
“Secondly, I have become a massive advocate for meditating. Ali taught me how to meditate and how to connect with sights, sounds and scents that help me to get out of an anxious panic. I find that I meditate much better on my own and in short periods of time. It’s about finding what works for you.”
“I mentioned scent. This has been amazing for me. I found a peppermint smell would almost snap me out of negative thought patterns so now wherever I go I carry peppermint oil and if I feel that anxiety creeping up a quick sniff works wonders.”
“As Ali said, there is no one size fits all and it’s about working with someone, and yourself, to find what works for you. My message is that anxiety doesn’t just have to be a part of who you are you can work with it and life can feel much, more calm.”
The challenge of lockdown
“With this new challenge of COVID-19…..lockdown, isolation from wider family and friends I’ve certainly put my skills into practice. I do have days where I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster of emotions, but then I think we all have over the past few weeks. Overall I have managed to keep my anxiety at a very controllable level and I am so thankful for that. I said to my husband recently, imagine if this had happened two or three years ago I would’ve been a complete raving mess! We laughed about it but it really has made me realise how far I’ve come in taking charge of how I feel .”
“My message would be to not be afraid to confide in someone, whether an expert like Ali or friends or family, because chances are you will find something that can help you and you, like me, will feel a sense of freedom.”