Breathe in. Breathe out. Have a cup of tea. Repeat. Take a bath. Take your meds. Exercise. Create things. Repeat. Have some more tea. Limit time on Netflix. Be sure to eat. Get some sleep. Repeat. Ask for help when needed. Be open with friends and family. Say “no” to things if desired. Repeat.
These are things that I tell myself on a daily—or near daily—basis. They help me stay grounded, focused, motivated, and positive. They help me live and breathe. They help me thrive.
But there are some days that even these things don’t really help.
There are some days when I feel like I can’t breathe.
There are some days that I spend half of the day crying or sitting in silence.
There are some days in which I never feel like I fit with anything or anyone else.
But these days aren’t all there is. So I try to continue reminding myself of how I tend to feel better.
Just over a week ago, I had a couple of really bad days mentally. During the night I had one of those dreams in which I could tell it was a dream, but no matter what, I couldn’t shake the tension and anxiety that was rising, and it got to be so much that I went into a panic attack in the dream. But then when I woke up as that started, I was in the middle of a panic attack in reality as well. I could tell I needed a minute to calm down before letting anyone know. So I went to the loo, did a breathing exercise to slow my heart rate and calm my body, and then told Turner so that he could help me calm down more and help me remember how far I’ve come in my journey with anxiety.
After this, two days of battling extremely negative thoughts, tension, and panics followed.
But even with all of that, I knew that I had to continue with reality and try to be productive and kind to myself.
Sometimes the anxiety can be overwhelming, sometimes it’s a bit more slight. No matter what, though, I always have the same thought: “I’m back to square one. I’ll never beat this.”
That’s the thing with anxiety. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve improved and gotten your anxiety under control; it always tells you that you haven’t gotten any better.
It’s nearly impossible to not listen to it. But you have to fight that thought. You have to push past it and think of your reality. Think of how you’ve improved, even if it is simply that you’re able to recognise that you can beat it, slowly, one day at a time.
It’s a slow process. It’s like a young child learning how to talk. Technically the process is never complete, as even the elderly continue to learn new words, inflections, phrases, and meanings. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your speech—or your mental health.
I’m focusing this year on my personal health as a part of doing that. It’s definitely been difficult, and there are times when I slip up. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not improving. I don’t know if any of things would help you, but here are my mantra and my resolutions.
Breathe and do one task at a time.
I try to focus on too many things at once on far too regular of a basis. So when I think of something that needs to be done, I’ll try to make sure I add it to my to-do list and take care of it later. But sometimes I still find myself doing too many things and feel my anxiety rising. So I try to take a moment to breathe, prioritise, and then do one thing at a time.
- Exercise daily
- Meal plan
- Spend 30+ minutes doing focused work towards dreams every day
- Ask for help (especially mentally)
- Do something fun every day
- Believe in myself
- Let things go
- Share (and be proud of) my work
- Aim for big things and take little steps to get there
Mental health and physical health are often intertwined. I found for me that meal planning and exercising daily are a huge help for being able to think positively and being able to have confidence when I come up against the anxiety I always struggle with. I’ve also noticed that being creative and working towards my dreams is not only something I do sometimes to express myself, but often times it’s just cathartic simply because of the focus, movement, and stillness. It’s a chance to become who I truly want to be every day, even just a tiny bit. And I’ve always had difficulty communicating, especially about my mental health. But I’ve also always known that it’s incredibly important in my overcoming my anxiety.
Whatever the case is for you, you probably know the things that help you most, even when you don’t like them or find them to be a bit of a hassle in the moment.
Those are the things that you need to find a gentle way to focus on them, and little by little, you’ll notice small improvements that lead to a completely different state of being over time.
I hope that you’re able to find your bits that help you and to overcome even your worst days.