04 December 2017

How I Manage My Anxiety In Winter

I love this time of year. My anxiety on the other hand, does not. Not at all. With the days being much shorter, and it getting dark much earlier, my anxiety and mental health in general is always worse in Winter. Today I'm sharing a few things that help me manage it.

Go for a walk. It's so important just to be outside, even if it's for 5 minutes. It'll clear the head and will break up the day. Despite daylight being in short supply in Winter, I find the day really drags on, so making the most of it, helps me. I will admit I don't do this as much as I should. I should go out everyday, especially as I'm cooped up indoors all day. It's a real challenge though. You know it's going to help, but just getting out the door can be a massive hurdle. If you have OCD like me, then other things come into play too, like touching door handles and keys etc. I will say this though, the longer you leave it, the worse it will get. The more I don't go outside, the more anxious I get about actually having to do it.

Listen to you favourite song. Pick a song that provides you with an escape. Repeat it, sing it, dance to it. Just immerse yourself in it. It may only be 3-4 minutes, but that's 3-4 minutes where you're not thinking about anything other than the song. Which means you're not thinking about your anxiety.

Sleep. If I've not slept properly, my anxiety is so much worse. In fact when I'm over tired, I warn my family that today isn't going to be a good mental health day. I don't know what it is, but when I've slept well, it's easier to take on the day. I like to light a few candles an hour or so before bed to help me relax. I love to read before bed too. If I just lay there waiting to fall asleep, I'll over think things. Reading provides the perfect escape from that. Try and get into some sort of routine, so your body knows it's time to unwind and get ready for sleep.

Distract yourself. Keeping the mind focused on something that's not your anxiety really helps. At least it helps me. Things like doing crosswords, colouring in, reading. It can be anything. I personally like crosswords and working on my blog.

Meditation. This is so powerful. And you can do it anywhere, any time. Set aside a few minutes in the day to do some simple meditation. It's not for everyone, and it can be a challenge to get the mind to focus on nothing else, but if you can, it's worth trying. I keep prayer beads with me. Having something physical to hold in my hands whilst meditating helps me focus.

Go easy on social media. I'm guilty of doing this myself, but try not to be on social media all the time. Put the phone down, put it on silent and just enjoy whatever it is that you're doing. I can't tell you how many times I've been scrolling down Twitter and I'll see something that triggers me. I'm not saying don't use it. Social media is amazing. Just have a balance. Try and avoid looking at your phone or laptop or anything like that before bed. If I'm watching TV downstairs, I'll deliberately leave my phone upstairs. If it's next to me, I will use it.

Those are just some of the things I recommend if your anxiety is worse in Winter. The thing to remember is, you are not alone. You can and will get through this. Don't be too hard on yourself if you're having a tough time. You're amazing.


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