We have such an amazing guest post today from Nikki who runs the Instagram account Charlietakesphx and the website Charlie takes Phoenix. If you have ever struggled with mental health issues this post is for you! I know I will be coming back to this post on my harder days.
I make a joke that I came out of the womb high strung, hyper-sensitive, and over emotional. I take on the world around with me such intensity, that sometimes it feels like I’m living in a megaphone.
I understand how off-putting your surroundings can be, how small they can make you feel. I’m here to remind you that you aren’t alone, and wanted to share a few pointers that help me take back some control during one of my many episodes.
- This isn’t going to last forever, even if it feels like it will: It is nearly impossible to distinguish reality from flight or fight when you’re in the midst of an episode. So when you are trying to use your coping skills to rationalize your anxiety, it can be overwhelming. Instead, what I will normally repeat to myself when I feel out of my own body is “this will not last forever. This will pass.” Even if it isn’t immediately effective, it’s a great distraction from the racing thoughts and physical symptoms.
- Affirmations are key: Find phrases and/or manta’s that help calm your nerves. Whether it’s one keyword, a quote, or saying; whatever redirects your thinking. It is helpful to keep these written down somewhere as well, where they are easily spotted out in the open; just in case you are caught off guard by an attack.
- Breathe, and focus on it: There is a physical science behind deep breathing and it’s calming effects. There are videos online (Google deep breathing for anxiety) as well as literal playlists (I use Spotify) you can find that will guide you through a breathing session. This works well for me particularly at night, when my racing thoughts tend to peak. I’ve also heard if you lift your legs above your heart, rest them on the wall, it allows physical tension to dissipate.
- Find comfort in familiarity: I’ve had a longstanding tradition that anyone who knows me can testify to: I love King of Queens. Yes, the cheesy 200’s sitcom. For whatever reason, when my anxiety is at its height, this is my go-to comfort. A metaphorical “blankie” if you will. When I’m able to watch this, I can feel my heart rate lower, and my body and mind immediately come down tenfold. Find your King of Queens. A room, a smell, a person, a movie, a show, a book, a song…whatever calms your soul to its core. These ‘feel good’ tools are an integral part of your coping mechanisms.
- Don’t be ashamed of what you can’t control: Never allow someone to convince you that what you are feeling or going through is “all in your head.” Mental Health conditions are an isolating, life-stunting beast. Good days and bad, they are ever present. Fighting for normalcy can seem like an uphill battle; so further negativity and people that can’t manage to rally for your well-being should be excluded from your tribe.
Here are some great resources for maternal mental health (specific to mama’s fighting anxiety and depression postpartum) as well as general access to some really informative and helpful content.
- CALM CLINIC
- ESSENTIAL OILS FOR ANXIETY
- BABIES AND PUPPIES (because who doesn’t love watching small humans interact with equally small animals)
Take care of you.