My Mental Health Journey + Ways to Manage Anxiety and Stress
I’ve talked about my mental health journey on social media before. For those who are new, I recall having my first panic attack in grade 12 but remember a few key moments when I experienced heightened anxiety much younger.
It’s taught me a lot about myself, it’s helped me become a more empathetic person and it’s also given me the awareness to make important changes to my lifestyle that I can now share with you and hopefully help you too.
Here's a list of 10 things that have worked for me that you might like to try:
1. Yoga - it's taught me to get out of my head and into my body and also a lot of wonderful breathing techniques.
2. The RAIN technique. This stands for recognise, acknowledge, investigate and nurture. ie. "I recognize I feel stressed," "I accept and acknowledge this emotion," "What does this feel like in my body?" "What do I need to do to nurture myself?"
3. Breathing techniques (My favourites are the 4x4 and 4x6 breath, as well as box breathing where you inhale to the count of 4, pause for 4, exhale for 4 and then pause for 4 before repeating).
4.Changing up my lifestyle and accepting I don’t have to be perfect and I don’t have to get everything done today.
5. Seeing a psychologist. I tried CBT which has been helpful to a degree but I discovered a technique a few years ago called EMDR which works best for me and it’s been amazing and freeing
6. Meditation apps including Calm, Smiling Mind, as well as Anxiety Relief
7. Books such as gifts of imperfection by Brené Brown or The Self Acceptance Project – check out my book cub on my website for more recommendations!
8. My puppy Winston! Animals are amazing and help us to live in the present moment and not take life so seriously.
9. Self soothing techniques. This will differ for everyone but I compiled a list of ways I can self soothe such as placing my hand on my heart, painting and breathing exercises.
10. My support network. I highly recommend you have a think about your go-to people that can offer you support in times of need. These might be family, friends, or professionals.