Managing Impatience When You Have Anxiety

Please tell me it’s not just me. I am 100% sure that my anxiety is a big contributor to my terrible lack of patience. Waiting for anything can be a big anxiety trigger – doctor’s waiting rooms, appointments, waiting for a call about a job. All tense situations. But for me, this worry extends itself to impatience across all areas of life. Maybe I’m just impatient, regardless of my anxiety! Either way, here are some of my tried and tested tips to deal with waiting for something when you’re incredibly impatient.

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I know the situations when I’m most impatient: waiting for any kind of result (medical test, exam result, interview outcome) or if there’s something I want to do/buy/visit and I feel like I have to do it straight away or miss out. Perhaps social media and FOMO are a little to blame for that one. I just like to know and have things sorted, but sometimes I’m a little too impatient. If you find you’re also too impatient, here are my tips:

  • Keep Busy
    Perhaps the most obvious tip if you’re waiting for something – keep busy! If you’re job prospects are resting on your phone ringing, the worst thing you can do is sit and stare at it all day! Make sure it’s on loud and you have signal, then just put it to one side and find something else to do.
    It could be a hobby, a film, a day out with family or friends, whatever works to take your mind off the thing you’re waiting for. For me, reading a good book usually does the trick. If you’re looking for some reading recommendations, try this post.
  • Prepare for the Worst-Case Scenario – Briefly!
    Although catastrophising and worrying won’t help you in the long-term, it can be a good idea to think (briefly) about what could happen and how you will deal with negative results if they happen. As the saying goes; ‘Be prepared for the worst, hope for the best.’
  • Be Mindful
    Mindfulness is about being present in the moment, and what better way to curb impatience by appreciating the present moment? You can try mindfulness with some simple mindfulness colouring* or by taking a walk and really taking notice of the nature around you. There are countless bloggers who can help you with mindfulness practices too, particularly for people with anxiety.
  • Practice Gratitude
    Similar to the previous tip, gratitude can help to keep you in the moment and make you appreciate the current day and what is good about it. Showing gratitude daily is proven to keep us happier and less anxious, that’s why I have a gratitude journal on my self-care wishlist. Try making a note of three things you are grateful for right now, so you won’t be quite so impatient for the future to happen.

Patience may be a virtue, but impatience isn’t so bad! We’re just eager and enthusiastic, right? Right?!

I hope these tips can help you if you’re waiting for something at the moment and are just as impatient and anxious as I am.

A purple outline of a sloth hanging from a branch

My Stephen King Reading Year

To say I love reading is a bit of an understatement. It’s a topic I’m trying to include more often on this blog, as it’s a huge part of my life. Every year, I love to set a Goodreads reading challenge and set myself some reading goals. This year, I have a very specific author-related goal that I thought some of you might be interested in.

My main reading challenge for 2020 is to read 25 books. In 2019 it was the same, and I managed to read 23, so I’m pretty confident.

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Aside from my numbers goal, I’m also planning to have a ‘Stephen King year’, which I have to say I am very excited about! I don’t have a specific number of Stephen King books I’d like to read this year, but my general aim is to read as much Stephen King as possible, around one book a month.

Why am I doing this? I love Stephen King! He writes such tense thrillers, scary horrors, and has a fantastic sense of humour. I would really recommend trying out some King if you haven’t before. He’s so prolific, there’s bound to be something you like! Because he’s so prolific, there’s a lot of novels for me to work through this year. In the past I have read:

  • The Shining
  • IT
  • Doctor Sleep
  • Misery (my all-time favourite!)
  • The Green Mile
  • Carrie
  • On Writing (the memoir)
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So far in 2020, I have read Thinner and Mr Mercedes. I loved both of these novels, and it was great to read some crime by King, as well as the horror.

I am currently reading Gerald’s Game, which has a fascinating premise and I’m really enjoying it so far.

Also on my list for this year are:

  • Under The Dome (I’m saving this for the Summer holidays, it’s a chunky book!)
  • The Institute
  • Salem’s Lot
  • The Shining (re-read)
  • Revival

And that’s about it really. I’m planning on checking in on here every few months to see how my Stephen King challenge is going. If you have any recommendations for King novels, please let me know in the comments, or if you want recommendations, let me know what sort of thing you like to read. 🙂

A purple outline of a sloth hanging from a branch

My Self-Care Wishlist

An oldie but goodie… My self-care wishlist 🙂

The Self-Care Sloth

Self-care should be, and most often is, completely free and accessible to anyone at any time.
There are plenty of activities you can do for free that might help pick up your mood. However, sometimes there are some small (or not so small) things that can help us to calm down, relax or feel better.

Here is my wishlist of items that I would like to help me with my self-care. (Full credit goes to Mommin In The Real World who I originally saw post this style of list.)

  1. A gravity blanket

    This is the big one – I would absolutely love a gravity blanket. I do find that my reactions to my anxiety are quite sensory-based and that I react badly to noise/light/smells when I’m anxious. On top of this, I do find pressure helpful. I think I would be able to relax so much with a weighted blanket…

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How To Survive A Blood Test When You Have A Needle Phobia

There are obviously big trigger warnings that come with this post – I am going to be talking about needle phobia, injections, doctors and blood tests. If, like me, these things trigger a panic, please feel free to leave now! However, I would also like to encourage you to try to read what you can. Take a deep breath, take your time, and see if any of these tips can help you.

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Hi. My name is Sammy and I have an almighty phobia of needles. That phobia extends to blood pressure cuffs, doctors, nurses, hospital waiting rooms… you get the idea.

The last time I was asked to go for a blood test, I had a panic attack in the waiting room, started crying in the chair, and got sent home before any blood was taken. Not my finest moment.
So, imagine my horror when I was told last week that I had to go for – you guessed it – another blood test!

I instantly panicked. And it’s okay if the thought of a blood test or an injection does that to you too. There are loads of people who suffer from the same fears and phobias that we do, and I promise that you can get through it.

I’m no expert, not by any means. But, on this occasion, I was able to implement a few tricks and techniques that helped me to have a blood test with minimal stress, and I’d like to share them with you. I know when I was searching for tips on dealing with needle phobia, I struggled to find anything very helpful in the short-term, that wasn’t just suggesting expensive phobia therapy. Speaking to a professional is obviously the best option, but if you need some tips just to get you through that appointment next week, hopefully these five tips will help.

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1. Limit Your Waiting Time

I think I have mastered the art of arriving perfectly on time for appointments! Waiting rooms can be really stressful places if you have a phobia, so it can be good idea to avoid long waiting times. Obviously, you don’t want to be running late and stressed, but I’d advise getting to your appointment with just a few minutes spare. This avoids that long panic-inducing wait, meaning you don’t have too long to get worked up before you’re called in.

2. If You Have To Wait – Have A Distraction

Always have a distraction. You could download an episode of your favourite comedy onto your phone, or have Youtube ready to play a new relaxing vlog. Take a book or magazine, or even a handheld games console to distract yourself. I love to read, but find that I can’t concentrate on a book while I’m panicking, so I have a few ‘waiting room’ TV shows downloaded on my phone, ready to watch if needed. If you’re like me and want something to listen to/watch – don’t forget your headphones! And on that note…

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3. Play Calming Music

If you suffer from a needle phobia and need to have a blood test, I really recommend finding some music that helps you to feel calm. Then, all you need is one headphone in, and you can instantly feel a little more relaxed. You will probably need to keep one headphone out, in order to speak to your nurse or doctor, but you might be able to ‘plug in’ completely once they start the procedure. Play whatever keeps you calm – it doesn’t have to be spa music or whale song! For me, it’s Neil Diamond, for you, it might be Iron Maiden – whatever works!

4. Take Someone With You

If possible, take someone along to support you. My first question when I had to book my blood test was ‘Can I book it for next week?’ – because I knew that was when my husband would be available to come with me. If you have an understanding partner, parent, sibling or friend who can accompany you to an appointment, ask them if they could come with you. It helps to have someone to talk to, plus it can alleviate some of the panic associated with fainting or needing to leave, as you will have someone there to help you at all times.

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5. Lie Down

My last tip is the most simple, but possibly the most effective, if you are going for a blood test. Ask if you can lie down. I have found that this, without fail, is the easiest way for me to stay calm when having a blood test. Physically, it keeps your feet higher off the ground, so can stop you from feeling so faint. Psychologically, I know that if I do faint (a big worry-trigger for me), I’m already laying down – so I can’t fall!

I have had nurses tell me in the past that I can’t lie down. There is no reason (physically speaking) for you not to, so if that’s what you need, don’t be afraid to be a bit assertive. (Try channeling in your inner cat, like in my last post!)

I hope these five tips can help you, if you are scared of blood tests or needles and have to go for a blood test or injection.
And just remember – it will all be over in a matter of minutes. You’ve got this.

How To (And Why You Should) Live More Cat

Why you should live your life a little more like our feline friends… and how to make that happen.

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If there’s one thing you should know about me (apart from my serious book-buying addiction) it’s that I seriously love cats.
A lot of people say you’re either a dog person or a cat person, and I am 100% a cat person. I love their fluffiness, their grumpiness, their fierce independence, and the fact that when I get home after work, there is always a furry friend waiting to cuddle me and keep me company.

(For the few of you who are cat-obsessed as I am and are now desperate to know – I have a very large, very vocal, black and white cat called Felix. We rescued him when he was 7 years old and very overweight, and I love him possible more than I love my own husband…)

Anyway – cat person, dog person, reptile person – everyone is welcome here! And you don’t have to be a cat person to learn something from this post, I hope.

I believe that we could all benefit from living more ‘cat’.

Let me explain. There are a number of qualities and attributes of our feline friends that I think us mere humans could learn from. Things that could improve our work lives, make us feel more confident, and ultimately improve our wellbeing. (There are already a few books written about this, so if you find this post interesting, you could always read more. For example, ‘How To Argue With A Cat’*.)

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Here are four ways tp Live More Cat:

Be Assertive

Cats are never afraid to say what they want. In fact, my cat is currently shouting at my husband downstairs, because he knows it’s dinner time! He knows exactly what he wants, and he will tell us straight. Time for dinner? Tell the humans. Want a cuddle? Tell the humans. Want to be left alone? Definitely tell them!
Now, I’m not saying you should start hissing at the next person to annoy you in a team meeting. However, couldn’t we all benefit from being a little bit more assertive? As tough as it can be, especially for those of us with anxiety or similar issues, it is often well worth saying what you need. That could be to your boss, a colleague, a friend or a partner. Try it, and see where it gets you.

Be Wary, But Loyal

Perhaps I don’t mean ‘wary’ – that sounds a bit negative. What I mean is, trust carefully when you need to. It’s not healthy to be paranoid and think the worst of everyone you meet, but it also isn’t always a good idea to fully trust everybody straight away. Hold off a little, let people earn your trust, but then be loyal to your friends.
Many people talk about how loyal dogs are, but actually many cats are too. Once you’ve developed a good relationship with your cat, they will stick with you. Isn’t that the kind of friend we all aspire to be?

Always Be A Bit Kitten

So, I’m telling you to be more cat – but what about kittens? Cute, fluffy little balls of absolute crazy! They love to play and just have fun! They don’t mind a bump here or a scratch there, they just want to play and have fun and enjoy themselves.
If you have a cat, you’ll be aware of the ‘crazy hour’. If you’re unfamiliar, essentially it is this: Just as you want to go to sleep, and the house is serene and quiet, your cat will go bananas. Your 9 year old tired tabby suddenly becomes a kitten again, and wants to play with you all night long!
Letting a little kitten energy into our lives could do us all a lot of good. Have a play, have some fun and let out some energy. Maybe try a new sport, or simply let yourself really let go and laugh at your favourite comedy. Have fun and act like a child, just for the sake of it.

And finally…

Rest

Cats sleep for an average of 15 hours a day. Admittedly, they don’t have jobs to hold down or blog posts to publish, but that’s not to say we can’t take inspiration from them here too.
Cats know that rest is important, particularly if they’re going to enjoy an enthusiastic crazy hour!
Rest is so key for humans to. You know the saying ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup‘? So true. Your work will suffer and your relationships will suffer if you are not able to properly rest and recooperate ono a regular basis.
I don’t know what that rest looks like to you. Perhaps it’s an extra hour in bed on Sunday, or maybe it’s your weekly yoga class, or a solo coffee date on a Saturday morning. Make sure you have enough rest to let your body – and mind – recover from your busy schedule.

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That was just four quick ideas of how you can introduce more ‘cat’ into your lifestyle. If you have any more ideas, or you know how you’re going to incorporate one of these into your week, please do let me know in the comments below. 🙂

A purple outline of a sloth hanging from a branch

5 Ways to Spend Your Morning

I would say that I’m a morning person.

That is to say, I’m more likely to be productive in the morning than in the evening. On the days that I drag myself out of bed nice and early, I usually get a lot done. Unfortunately, being a morning person doesn’t always equate to being someone who gets out of bed early! Although, I am getting better at that. I find that on a Saturday, I prefer to be out of bed before 8am, eating a good breakfast, heading to Parkrun and doing some chores.

What I’m not so good at, however, is getting up early on work days. From Monday to Friday, I tend to leave it as late as possible to roll out of bed!

For a while, I got up at 5am and went to the gym before work. That didn’t last long! But what I did find during that time was that I liked having time to myself in the mornings. It’s a great time to reflect, relax and set yourself up for the day. Ever since, I’ve been trying to develop my ideal morning routine. It’s a lot of trial and error, and I’m not quite there yet, but I thought I would share a few ideas in case, like me, you’re still trying to find your ideal morning routine.

So here are 5 ideas for activities you could integrate into your morning routine to get your day off to a perfect start:

Read a book

Reading a book

This has got to be my favourite thing to squeeze into my morning. I like to set myself a time, usually just 10 or 15 minutes, where all I do is enjoy my current read. Perhaps you’d prefer a page goal in the morning to keep you on track? Either way, it’s the perfect way to carve out some time to yourself to get lost in a story or to work on some self-development.

Here are some cosy reading recommendations.

Plan

Talking self-development, why not spend some time planning in the morning? Personally, I like to plan the day ahead. I write myself a to-do list that includes everything from ‘Return ASOS order’ to ‘Make dinner’, so that I know exactly what my day’s going to look like. You might prefer to work on some long-term planning in the morning instead. Have a look at your five year plan or your monthly goals and see what you can do that day to make them happen.

Stretch

There’s nothing like a good stretch to wake you up in the morning!

balance body exercise female
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You could do a short yoga session, or just stretch your body however feels good to you. Personally, I like to follow any full-body stretch routine I can find on Youtube, and then work on any sore muscles with a foam roller. If you hit the gym a lot, I’d 100% a good foam roller for your muscles! Painful, but worth it.

Eat what nourishes you

And I mean your body and your mind. Eat something that fuels you with the right nutrients, as well as being delicious.

Close up white coffee cup with heart shape latte art on wood tab

When I have time to make a good breakfast in the morning, I always feel good for the rest of the day. My go-to options are either porridge with cacao and berries, or peanut butter and banana on toast. Whatever I have, I love to wash it down with a strong cup of coffee. It sets me up for an energetic day and usually leads to better food choices all day.

Do something creative

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a creative person – there’s a lot to be said for trying something creative first thing in the morning. For me, this is usually writing, either fiction writing or writing a blog post. You could also try painting, drawing, crafts, journalling, scrapbooking, playing an instrument or even learning a new language or completing some puzzles. Anything that stretches your brain and gets your creative juices flowing is a good way to start your day.

I hope that you can use one or more of these ideas in your morning routine. Let me know if you have any other suggestions!

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Morning Routine P

May Favourites

I’m going to do it. I’m going to start a favourites post by saying ‘How on earth did it get to June already?!’ I’m one of those people.

But, seriously. It’s June??
May has been a really busy month for me and I’ve honestly just felt like the whole month passed me by without me noticing. However, there have still been quite a few things that have made me smile this month or captured my interest.

Darkmilk bar, ginger shampoo and a book flatlay

Let’s start with one of my favourite ways to wind down in the evening – TV!

Game of Thrones

Yes, it was controversial. No, it wasn’t perfect. But I really loved watching the final season of Game of Thrones. I won’t spoil it for anyone (but seriously – have you not watched it yet??) so all I say is that although I wasn’t a huge fan of the final episode, the rest of the series really impressed me. The cinematography was incredible, the cast were amazing and I think for the most part the show was wrapped up well.

Chernobyl

So I’m not up-to-date with this one yet, so please no spoilers!
About a week ago, Mr W and I sat down to watch Chernobyl because we had heard so many people saying really great things about it. They weren’t wrong!
This show is so atmospheric, so tense, and just utterly heartbreaking. It is a fascinating drama based on the true story of the nuclear power station accident in Chernobyl in the 1980s and, although I don’t know an awful lot about the real story, I think they are doing an amazing job of telling it. Some of the characters make me so angry! It really is a heartbreaking story and, at times, quite hard to watch. But I would highly recommend it, it’s some of the best TV I’ve seen in a while. (It’s on Sky Atlantic, available via Now TV)

Cadburys Darkmilk

Cadbury Darkmilk

Yum!
Not much to say – it’s a really nice bar of chocolate! But I’m a huge chocolate fan, so I thought I’d give this a mention. It’s a mixture between dark chocolate and milk chocolate. I wasn’t sure if I liked the sound of it, but it’s really delicious. The perfect choice if you want something that is a bit decadent, not completely dark chocolate…. just, yum.

Vans (finally!)

white canvas pair of vans with a bow

I have had my eyes on many different pairs of Vans over the years, but I’ve never been able to justify the cost of buying ‘branded’ shoes, unless they’re for running. But a couple of weeks ago, on the hunt for some decent shoes to replace by old New Look slip-ons, I finally bit the bullet.

I love that the colour of these Vans go with everything but the bow detail makes them just a little bit quirky. They’re really comfy, although I do need to get some new little slip-on socks to wear with them, to avoid blisters. I really hope these are going to last me a long time.

The Body Shop Ginger Shampoo

Ginger Shampoo.png

This is honesty one of the best shampoos I’ve tried in years – I’m so glad I picked it up!

It’s actually an anti-dandruff shampoo, which I bought because I have been experiencing a really dry and itchy scalp recently that was driving me mad! So far, this shampoo seems to be doing the trick, and on top of that it makes my hair feel really shiny and healthy. I love The Body Shop and this is definitely going to be one of my new go-to products from their range.

And last but not least…

Hive

Hive the Game

Me and Mr W love a board game. Some of our favourites for two-player games are Forbidden Island, Pandemic and Plague. I might do a blog post soon about our favourites and why they’re so good!

This month we were in Waterstones and we picked up Hive.* I’d heard of it before but didn’t know much about it, but we played about 10 rounds of it as soon as we got home, and now we’re hooked!

It’s a two-player game, so perfect for couples looking for a new game to play. The idea is to use your pieces to surround the other person’s queen bee. Each piece can move in a different way, and the whole gameplay area becomes the ‘hive’. It’s really easy to pick up, quick to play, and comes in a really handy travel-sized bag that is definitely coming on honeymoon with us!

So they were some of the things I’ve been loving this month. More than I thought!
As always, you can see what I’m currently reading or watching all through the month here.

I really enjoyed writing this post, I hope you enjoyed reading it just as much!

Let me know what you’ve been loving in the comments 🙂

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*Please note – any Amazon links are affiliate, which means they won’t cost you any more, but I might earn a small commission if you buy the product