As the cycle would go I would feel on top of the world before the worries and low mood would creep in. It would slowly and so subtly consume me. Sometimes a serious incident would have to take place for me to realise what was happening. Although symptoms varied and were unpredictable day to day, I was able to take hold and steer myself back.
My colleague shared with me the following. It’s an exercise I still I use to this day.
- Make a list of all the things you could possibly do that make you feel good.
- Include items that are free of cost (because money can be a trigger for some people’s anxiety).
- Include items that nurture your health, some that you can practice on your own and some that include your support network. The variety means you usually have something on your list to go to no matter the current situation.
- When you feel low mood or have anxiety creeping in, select something from your list.
I’ve shared my own list below. The items would sometimes include notes in anticipation of the excuses I knew I would make.
My Self-Nurture List:
- Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat.
- Go for a walk. Even just take the first step outside the house if this challenging.
- Talk to someone about what I’m thinking.
- Write it all down. Out of mind and into sight might make me see things differently.
- Write out a plan to deal with anxiety causing ‘X’. Break it down into small steps. Take things slowly. Focus on progress.
- Talk to a housemate (or anyone else) about THEIR day. Switch the focus.
- Paint my nails. Put on a face mask.
- Clean something. It’s productive, free therapy.
- Play my most upbeat music loud, jump up and down.
- Take a long bath with candles and music.
- Make a green smoothie. Replenish from the inside.
- Do something nice for someone else.
- Read a book until I fall asleep.
- Pay attention to the little things around me and see things in more detail.
- Go out for a tea or coffee and engage in casual conversation with others.
The key point throughout these times of distress is to be self-compassionate. Show yourself understanding and kindness. Get out of your own headspace a bit and shake up your perspective on things.
The advice in this post should not replace that of a qualified professional. You should seek assistance if you are suffering from feeling low or any mental ill-health. Speak to your GP or for anonymous advice contact your local crisis hotline such as Samaritans or LifeLine.