I think it’s a common theme with us all right now that we’re not sure how we’ll wake up feeling from one day to the next. With still so much uncertainty about the future, and the brutal reality of the impact on our beloved NHS, the emotional rollercoaster caused by the c-bomb is very real right now.
For example, one day at the end of last week I woke up feeling anxious, but couldn’t really figure out why. I’d had a ‘good’ week so far – in that it was fairly productive and I’d spoken to people in my life I cared about, and they were all safe and well. However, I continued to have a tightness in my chest, and was on the edge of tears for the rest of the day. Perhaps it was a manifestation of how guilty I’ve been feeling that things in my life are as okay as they can be considering the current situation, when for so many others it’s the polar opposite.
Whatever it was, I knew I had to lean in to it. It’s absolutely okay and to be expected that we’ll feel a range of emotions at the moment, and some days we’ll even swing violently between them.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed by certain thoughts and/or out of control, the below tips are how I’ve helped myself ride out a day of feeling anxious, and ended up going to bed feeling a little calmer. I know coping with anxiety is no one-size fits all solution, but I hope these tips will be ideas you can build on to find what works best for you.
I Listen to my Favourite Podcast
When you’re on the edge of tears, it makes sense to do things that will lift your mood. My go-to podcast that has me laughing out loud is Shagged Married Annoyed with comedian Chris Ramsey and his wife Rosie. (they’re both worth a follow on Insta too) You’ll be introduced to the Beef family, and be equally appalled and astonished at the questions and stories from the public – they’re not for the easily offended! Or, just search for comedy podcasts on Spotify and you’ll be sure to find something to suit your taste.
Even if I don’t feel like it beforehand, I always feel better after a workout. For me, it’s a chance to switch off and just focus on what exercise comes next. The endorphin boost afterwards also gives me the little bit of energy I need even on bad days to get something ‘productive’ done, and that makes me feel better about myself. I like picking workouts from Joe Wick’s (aka the nation’s PE teacher) YouTube channel, The Body Coach TV. There are so many online workouts available right now, so pick one that feels right for you and your fitness levels.
As I’ve grown up taking dance classes, this is a sure fire way to put a smile on my face. Give me some decent pop music (80s preferably) and I’ll be shaking my bum for sure. It’s one of the few activities that I do that I feel I can really let go with. Why not make a playlist of your favourite tunes and blast them out whenever you need a boost? Then dance like no one is watching!
I like to mix this with the dancing, as it makes mundane cleaning tasks that much more enjoyable. Similar to working out, there’s something about cleaning that makes me zone out and forget about everything else. I also get a lot of satisfaction from seeing my flat transform from a cluttered mess to a clean haven that smells great. It brings me a sense of control and comfort back too. For a little cleaning inspiration, I would definitely recommend giving @mrshinchhome a follow on Instagram. She openly admits that she cleans to calm herself down, and makes it fun too.
Last week when I was feeling anxious I soaked in the bath and read The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary. Being able to escape into a totally different world helped to distract away from how I was feeling, and I could feel the tightness fading in my chest. If it’s a good story, I will read it, and perhaps unsurprisingly at the moment I’m getting through books more rapidly than ever. (if you’re wondering, I give The Flat Share a 5/5) You could even try reading along with others – there are loads on online book clubs at the moment, plus it’s a way to connect with others through a like-minded community. If you struggle getting the focus to sit down and read, you could give audiobooks a try instead.
How have you been feeling so far this week? What activities do you do to help lift your mood or calm anxiety? I’d love to hear your tips too – share them in the comments.
Featured image from Unsplash