I have suffered from anxiety for as long as I can remember. Who knows, I might even have been born with it.
Some people get anxiety attacks. For me, it’s more like I have an inner ocean.
Some days the water is completely still, the sun is glistening on the surface and life is beautiful. Other days waves are high and a storm is looming in the distance. However most of the time it’s just a bit choppy. Not bad, not good, but ok.
I can deal with it.
I have figured my anxiety out over the years and I have gotten a lot better at managing my inner ocean. I’m aware of what triggers it, signs to look out for and what to do to calm the water a bit.
A big part of it is to realize when I’m having a bad day. If I wake up in the morning and I already feel uncomfortable and life weighs too heavily on my chest. I will do my best to give myself a break. I re-schedule as much as possible and try to take some pressure off.
Most of the time it’s all that is needed to sail my mental ship to a calmer part of the ocean. I have come to terms with the fact that I can’t fix it, but I can manage how I handle it.
The core of my anxiety comes from myself.
It’s a mix of feeling like life is too short, wanting to achieve more, do my best in the shortest amount of time possible and being too hard on myself. I’m buzzing on a frequency too high to maintain.
If I add stressful life events, too much to do or other outside pressures and demands. Especially if I’m having a bad day. Then I start manifesting physical signs of anxiety. I get heart palpitations, become a bit shaky, get very tired and in a terrible mood. It’s not good for anyone, and least of all for me.
For those days when life feels a bit overwhelming, I have found a few things that really help.
Since I have become a bit of an expert on the subject and autumn anxiety is really common, even if you don’t suffer from it normally. I thought I would share my coping mechanisms with you.
If you suffer from autumn anxiety (or just general anxiety like I do) then I suggest you try these things out;
Spend time outside.
Obviously ideally in proper nature, but sometimes a quick walk with the dog or just walking instead of taking the bus will make a difference. I always try to sit outside for coffees and lunches for as long as the weather permits. Getting a bit of fresh air and if I’m lucky, the added extra bonus of some sun really makes me calm down and feel better.
Drink hot drinks and have long baths and showers.
There is a reason why a cup of tea is called a “hug in a mug”. Warm liquid is soothing. There are few things more calming than hot water on skin. I find that I sleep a lot better if I bath or shower before bed.
Light candles at night.
Coming from Sweden, I know exactly how badly the dark can get to you during the colder months of the year. So make sure to give yourself some “hygge”. Scented candles, a fluffy blanket, a robe, a good book, Netflix and a lovely bar of your favorite chocolate will make all the difference. Spoil yourself and make your surroundings as cozy as possible.
When I need it the most I fancy it the least. I go into myself when I feel anxious, and shut everyone else out. But most of the time a chat with a friend, a few laughs and a little break from my own thoughts is exactly what I need.
Hug and cuddle.
Humans need closeness to thrive. We need to love and feel loved, even if it’s by a dog. Honestly, my Frenchie Olive is like a therapy dog for me. Stroking and cuddling her always makes me feel better. (And of course my little boy and husband too, but Olive is more of a sure bet).
Take guilt-free time for me.
As a mom, often when I plan something just for me. I feel bad about it. I feel like I should be elsewhere doing different things instead of actually enjoying the experience. So I have worked hard to allow myself to disconnect from the feeling of guilt and to allow myself to do something for me once in a while.
Do gentle moderate exercise.
If I do CrossFit or a heavy work-out on a bad day, then I will only end up even more anxious. But if I instead do yoga or dancing, then it will help me relax and wind down. Exercise is great for mental health, but it’s worth finding something that really works for both your body and your mind.
I’m really good at managing my anxiety levels these days and I can predict when I think they will peak based on everything from my monthly cycle to workload. The one thing I cannot predict is unexpected circumstances and that is the time when I pull out all the things above. And it really works.
So if you are feeling like the pressure is building and your anxiety levels are rising. No matter if it’s connected to the season or just general. Try one or all of the things above, as long as you allow yourself to be in the moment, they will make you feel better.
Do you have autumn anxiety? What do you do to make yourself calm down and feel better?