A lot of things in life worry me, frighten me or make me anxious, and they are usually irrational things that 'normal' people would never find worrying, frightening or anxiety provoking. For someone like me who suffers with anxiety and panic disorder, a normal day can be difficult in that my body can be feeling threatened and will be in fight/flight mode all day. Hours of being tensed up, being on edge, tired, worried, emotional and scared can really wear you out and so I thought I would write a blog post on my techniques to keep myself as calm and anxiety free as possible to lessen these effects of my disorders.
TV and Movies
I watch a lot of TV and movies on my laptop from either catch up TV, Sky Go or Netflix. Even if I'm doing uni or placement work, I will still have something on my laptop in the background. (Even right now I have Dexter playing in the background while writing this!). TV allows me to focus on something other than the thoughts in my head. For me, shows I have to use my brain in like criminal, psychological shows and films like Dexter, House, How To Get Away With Murder and Pretty Little Liars are my favorite for this very reason. Documentaries are also a good distraction for me, or insight TV shows such as 24 Hours in A&E or The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds are also great for this reason too. Films that remind me of my childhood such as Disney films or Harry Potter also keep me calm as they remind me of happiness, family and safety.
I listen to music everywhere I can. I used to download music onto my phone but now I have Spotify Premium, I can listen to any song, at any time, which really helps when I do feel anxious and need a specific song to relax me or cheer me up. Music really does help in particularly anxiety provoking situation such as train journeys, as I can listen to the words of the song and enjoy it. I made my own relaxing playlists for those times when I come home and really just need a kick up the bum to relax and wind down, and also have an uplifting playlist to distract myself from anxiety.
I started this blog as a way for me to release my thoughts on my disorders and be able to turn it into something positive for other people to come to and learn about or be able to relate to and feel less alone. Before I started blogging, I kept a diary full of writing and memories, drawings and photos to help my release the thoughts in my brain. Knowing that I help people by blogging so open and honestly also helps me more than I thought it would as it allows me open up my nurse side and do what I do best and what makes me happy - help others.
Project Life and Scrapbooking
I collect memories....No, I hoard memories. Receipts, restaurant napkins, tickets, wristbands, anything that reminds me of happy times, I keep. I also take way too many photos. This year, I started Project Life which involves a mixture between scrapbooking and storing photos in photo albums. It allows me to be creative, display my memories or happy times and look back on them. I started Project Life during my period of sickness and it was amazing therapy for me to look at happy memories and realise I can be happy again. Now I love it. Every time I go home, I will add to my scrapbook, as it also relaxes me and is something I really enjoy.
Anyone who knows me knows that my obsession in life is organisation. I colour-code, make endless lists, write down EVERYTHING and set myself deadlines. I have a diary that never leaves my bag with everything in it. If I lost that, I'd be lost myself, but staying on top of my life keeps me calm and relaxed. If I know what I'm doing and it's written down, it is something I don't have to worry about. Wish exams and assignments, I set myself mini deadlines within the main deadline so I don't bombard myself the dread of 'I have 3000 words to do in 4 months'. Instead I will tell myself to do say 200 words a week. That way I reach my targets and can feel proud of myself throughout it, rather than worried.
Obviously the main thing I do is surround myself with happy people and things that make me happy. I talk to my boyfriend, mum and dad every day and they keep me happy. I have posters up in my room with quotes reminding me to keep happy. I give myself 'me' time and let myself do nothing sometimes. I hope this post has given you an insight into how I keep myself calm and happy and have reinforced the importance of doing things your way as often as you can to be calm, relaxed and happy.
Love Luce xo