Laura was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Depression in 2013, and works hard on her mental health, and happiness.
In the Morning
When I wake up, I try not to snooze my alarm too many times. It makes my body feel more groggy and less alert once I do actually get out of bed.
Once I am awake, I do go for a cigarette, which is a dirty habit, and one I am looking to give up. I go outside to smoke, and I take those first few minutes to enjoy the garden, get a sense of the weather, and listen to the birds. This helps ground me, and makes me realise how lucky I am.
I have a set routine for getting ready for work in the morning. I think this helps me feel more in control and have less to worry about. I do things in the same order: go in the bathroom and brush my teeth, etc, clean my face, go and sit at my dressing table and do my makeup, get dressed, do my hair, and then get my bag together. It can be the simple routine that pushes me through the morning when I am feeling antsy and on edge about the day ahead of me.
I try to relax at the same time as getting ready, and will light a nice, scented candle in front me whilst I am sitting down. The light and scent has a calming effect, and helps me to breathe when I am struggling internally.
During the Day
When I am going about my day, I can be suddenly struck with crippling anxious feelings. It can start with feeling hot, noticing my hands are shaking, and that my heart is beating faster and faster in my chest. I feel physically sick, and sometimes have to leave the situation I am in.
If I get those feelings, I use a relaxation method to calm myself, which involves various breathing exercises. I tend to use the method 4/4, which is breathe in whilst counting to four, and then out whilst counting to four. I will repeat this until my heart rate calms down, and I don't feel the desire to leg it across the room and out the door!
I also use a method I learnt with a mindfulness app, which I have found to be quite beneficial. This involves noticing everything around you, rather than trying to escape. Focus on the sounds, the smells, the sights. The pen on the desk, the phones ringing, the people chattering. It helps your brain to settle, and realise it isn't in danger.
My anxiety usually makes my appetite disappear, and I cannot eat during the bad days. I try to encourage myself to start small, so that I don't end up with a bad headache by 2pm, and so will try eating a couple of grapes, or half a biscuit, which is enough to take that initial edge off. No one can function without food, and a healthy diet is always something I have struggled with. My mum always told me she would rather I ate anything than nothing, and this has helped develop unhealthy attitudes towards it. I totally understand her thinking; it must be quite distressing seeing your young child refusing to eat anything. I struggle to make the right choices now, and so trying each day to make the right choice is the best way for me to deal with this.
In the Evening
When the day is done, I usually feel relief for a short period of time, and then start heading towards the anxious stage again, as the night draws in. Knowing that I will have to do it all again tomorrow can lead to panic and feelings of being overwhelmed.
I try and take time in the evenings to do the things I enjoy. This usually involves hobbies that make me feel happy and relaxed. I have been using a bullet journal as a great way to organise, prioritise and plan my day to day and future life. Pinterest has many examples of bullet journalling, and can be a great way to get inspiration for your own journal. I didn't realise how much I would enjoy this creative and free way of planning. It has become very popular and has a lot of followers on Pinterest and Instagram. It helps me to feel more in control and organised, and helps me to not miss appointments. It even helps me stop avoiding appointments, which is a big part of my anxiety. I know I get to tick it off once it's done, and this helps me feel more accomplished once I have done it.
I have also recently purchased a baby rabbit and a baby guinea pig, which bring me no end of joy. I live in a rented bungalow, and my partner works late as he is a chef. In the evenings, I was spending a lot of my time alone. Now, I have my little furry friends out in the garden, who I can go and see for a cuddle. It distracts me, having to clean them out, and feed them, and care for them on a daily basis, and I am so glad I decided to get them. Animals are well known for reducing depression, and I can certainly vouch that they have helped me feel a little better!
I also like to write, which I have enjoyed since I was a small child. Finding the things that make you relax and excite you is key to living a better quality of life. It could be anything; playing football, going for walks, reading, taking photographs; anything that makes you feel happy.
Example of My Bullet Journal
What Has Helped Ease Your Symptoms?
Luna, the Rabbit
- See your GP if you are struggling
- Look at ways to relax, that work for you
- Spend more time creating routines
- Get doing the things you enjoy in your free time
- Speak to your friends and family, they love you, and will support you
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Laura Jacques (author) from Norfolk, United Kingdom on April 24, 2017:
Thank you Jocelyn, I am glad you enjoyed it. It definitely helps break things down into more manageable chunks. I would certainly recommend getting back into bullet journalling; it gives me no end of ways to release creativity when I am useless at actual drawing! Thank you for your comment.
Jocelyn Figueroa from New York, NY on April 24, 2017:
I really enjoyed this article. These are straight-forward suggestions on how to combat anxiety, and perhaps even depression in your day-to-day life. I have also found that being goal-oriented, even on a small / short-term scale to be very beneficial for me personally. I have tried bullet-journaling a few times but have never followed through with it long term - you have motivated me to take a second look!