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.

Photo by JÉSHOOTS on Pexels.com

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

Advertisement

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.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Paula Schmidt on Pexels.com

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…

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

A hand holding a small globe

‘Big Issue Guilt’ and Why It’s Okay to Start Small

The world is a big scary place.

A hand holding a small globe
Sometimes it feels like you have to carry all the problems in the world… Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

 

Let’s be honest, there are a lot of things to feel worried, annoyed or stressed about at the moment, outside of the bubble of our own lives. Politicians are making some pretty dreadful decisions on our behalf, the planet’s falling to pieces and sometimes it feels like we’re taking a backwards step in our battle for equality and fair rights.

I know that’s a pretty negative way to start a blog post, but stick with me if you can.

I know that all the negative news stories and bad things happening around the world can be make us feel really, really bad. I’ve recently deleted the news app I had on my phone, because I found that scrolling through it every day just made me feel sad and overwhelmed. As soon as I deleted the app, however, I felt guilty. Shouldn’t I be taking an interest in world news? Shouldn’t I be educating myself as much as possible so that I can help people to make the world a better place?

Here lies the problem.

I call it ‘big issue guilt’ – that guilt you feel when you can’t single-handedly solve the huge problems that the world is facing. When you feel like you’re never doing enough.

You’re using metal straws and re-usable coffee cups. You buy eco-friendly cleaning products and none of your make-up is tested on animals. You adopted your pet cat from a rescue, rather than buying from a breeder. You avoid ‘fast fashion’ as much as you can within your tight budget. You celebrate LGBT authors and try hard to buy books with diverse characters at their heart. You vote in elections and don’t eat meat.

But somehow, it just doesn’t feel enough.

a thick scarf and a hand holding a hot drink

You can’t fix climate change by using a metal water bottle.

So part of you starts to think, what’s the point? You get overwhelmed by ‘big issue guilt’ and your anxiety starts to spiral.

Sound familiar?

I’m hoping it’s not just me that feels this way! I am always trying to improve my awareness of the world’s issues and see what I can do to help. I am that person I described above, always making sure to vote, educate myself, and change my purchasing habits to try to help. But I quite often get paralysed by this fear and guilt that I can’t ever do enough. And no, I can’t fix climate change by myself or stop the beauty industry from testing on animals ever again. I can’t make politicians see the sense in allowing abortions or gay marriage, but I can do my part.

At the end of the day, all we can do is start small. If enough of us are making small changes to our day or speaking up now and then, it will all add up and, hopefully, start to change the minds of the people in charge, whose changes really matter!

It’s okay to start small. You can’t solve every huge world problem. Your anxiety is not going to thank you for trying. But you can…

  • Make eco-friendly and sustainable purchases where possible.
  • Go vegan, vegetarian or try meat-free Mondays.
  • When you go out for coffee, take a re-usable cup. Maybe even try a non-diary milk alternative.
  • Save up your money for a bit longer and buy from an ethical retailer, rather than a high street store.
  • Recycle what you can, when you can.
  • Eat your leftovers.
  • Sign petitions for things you really care about.
  • Vote in elections whenever you are able to.

If we all do the small things, it’ll all add up. Spending all your time feeling guilty is exhausting, and I promise you, you are doing enough as long as you are trying.

I hope this made sense! Do you feel the same way? Is there anything small that you do to try and help with a ‘big issue’?

cropped-logo_size_icon.jpg

 

big issue guilt

The Sunshine Blogger Award

First off, a huge thank you to the very lovely Sarah from Mommin’ in the Real World who nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award.

I love the name of this award, because it is so warm and friendly. I am loving connecting with friendly bloggers on Twitter at the moment. If you’re on Twitter, come and say hi! 🙂

IMG_20190415_202308.jpg

RULES FOR THE SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging site.
  2. List the Sunshine Blogger Award rules and display the logo on your site.
  3. Answer the Sunshine Blogger Award questions.
  4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  5. Notify the nominees about their nominations – I will be using Twitter.

Okay, here are Sarah’s questions, let’s get going!

  1. What is your least favorite part of blogging?
    To be honest, I’d just say my own lack of confidence. I’m still new and find writing posts hard, as well as promoting them. Trying to spend enough time on my blog around work is tough.
  2. What has been the best way to promote your blog in social media?
    Definitely Twitter – I love taking part in comment threads, such as #TeaCupClub meetings, and I’ve found some great blogs to follow via Twitter too!
  3. Do your friends and family read your blog?
    No, I haven’t found the confidence to share my blog with people I know yet!
  4. What 3 things would you take with you on a desert island?
    How many books can I count as one thing?……
    I guess I would take a huge encyclopedia so I could try to read a lot and learn a lot too. An iPod full of Neil Diamond music. And a very large notebook… and pen… is that four? Whoops!
  5. Where is 1 place in the world you would like to travel to?
    I would love to visit Italy. I’ve never been, and it looks beautiful. Not to mention how good the food looks!
  6. Are you married and do you have any children?
    I am married – I got married just over a month ago! So it’s still very new! No children just yet though. Unless our very handsome cat counts…
  7. Do you prefer a bath or shower?
    Never thought I’d say this, but I definitely prefer a bath. Particularly if I’ve had a stressful day.
  8. Do you follow current events in your country/around the world?
    I try to, but if I’m struggling with my anxiety then I tend to avoid most news. It’s usually a real trigger for me, and very rarely is it positive news!
  9. Do you vote? If not, why not?
    Always. I think it’s so important to use your vote.
  10. What was your favorite subject to study in school?
    Drama – I studied both Drama and Music for my undergraduate degree, but Drama was always my favourite. I loved to act, direct and study plays.
  11. What are 5 words that describe you?
    Ooh, that’s tough! I would say…
    Stubborn. Funny. Anxious. Cluttered. Creative.

 

My Sunshine Blogger Nominees are:

Jenny in Neverland
Amie (The Curvaceous Vegan)
Milenka (Blushing Lately)
Ell (Boss Girl Bloggers)
Wellbean Blog
Jade Marie
Ruth In Revolt
Jo (Online Blanket Fort)
Emily Aagaard
Hello Bexa
Steph (Nourish Me)
Questions for my Nominees

  1. How long have you been blogging?
  2. What is a Youtube channel you would recommend?
  3. What is a podcast or audio book you would recommend?
  4. Do you prefer physical books, ebooks, or audio books?
  5. What is your favourite genre of books?
  6. What is the one activity that always de-stresses you or makes you feel better?
  7. What was the last film you watched?
  8. Do you watch Game of Thrones? If so, who is your favourite character?
  9. What would be your last meal?
  10. Do you have any pets?
  11. What is one of your goals for the next month?

 

I hope you enjoyed reading my answers. I would highly recommend heading over to all my nominees’ blogs – they are an absolute joy to read and some of my favourite corners of the internet!

Have a lovely weekend 🙂

 

logo_size_icon

My Checklist For A Perfect Weekend

Having just thoroughly enjoyed the long weekend, I’ve been considering what a perfect weekend would look like to me…

I do like to have something to do at the weekend, and to be honest I usually have preparation to do for the working week ahead, but to have at least one day that is totally free for me to do what I want with is absolute bliss. When I have that time to myself, these are the things that make it a perfect relaxing weekend:

  1.  A good book

    Reading a book
    This has to be top of the list! The weekend is the time that I get most of my reading done and one of my favourite things is to spend a lazy Sunday morning in bed with a cup of coffee and my book. And on that note…

  2. A strong cup of coffee
    I am a coffee-lover and so my ideal weekend usually involves plenty of cups of the stuff! Me and Mr W love to go out for coffee, but we are trying to save a bit of money at the moment, so we are tending to opt for a cup of coffee at home. We were really lucky to be given some ground coffee by Bill’s when we went there for breakfast after our wedding, and that’s a firm favourite of mine at the moment.

  3.  A workout
    Ask the sloth of five years ago if her perfect weekend would have included a workout and she’d laugh in your face! But now I really love to go and get my sweat on to feel like I’ve used my weekend wisely. At the moment I’m loving either hitting up my local parkrun (I’d really recommend them if you haven’t tried it before!) or going to the gym for a Les Mills class early on a Saturday morning. Getting a workout in early just makes me feel productive and energised for the rest of the weekend.

  4. My cat

    F2AF6CBD-0207-41A0-A2D9-E987253A8FA0
    As well as being an avid reader and a coffee-lover, you should also know that I am a massive cat person! I love my cat and the weekend is when I get to curl up and spend some quality time with him. (Usually with my book and coffee too, all in one!)
    His name is Felix and we rescued him last September, at the age of 7. He was seriously overweight and very nervous, but with some love and care, we’ve now got a very loving, friendly, healthy cat who I love spending time with. Self-care = cat cuddles!

  5. Chocolate

    Yep, another food one! Honestly though, who doesn’t love chocolate? Add it to the book, coffee and cat combo up above and you’ve got a 100% perfect Sunday morning.

  6. A pub quiz

    There’s a really good pub quiz at one of our locals every Sunday evening and I’ve recently started to really enjoy going along. It’s a cheap and cheerful night out, a great conversation starter and a bit of healthy competition never hurt anyone! If you like learning new things and can get a team together, I’d really recommend seeing if there’s a good quiz near you.

  7. A nap

    Now, I know I’m not alone here – as a grown woman of 26, I can’t explain how much I love a nap on a weekend afternoon. After a long week of work, it’s all I need!

    white bed comforter
    Photo by Jaymantri on Pexels.com

 

So they’re my seven ingredients to make a perfect weekend. What would your ideal weekend look like? I’d love to know! Maybe we can all get some new ideas for weekend activities in the comment section?

cropped-logo_size_icon.jpg

 

 

 

 

P.S – I now have a ‘Currently’ page if you want to know what I’m currently reading, watching and enjoying.

What I Learnt from Being Stuck in Bed for Four Days.

Grab a cuppa – this is a long one! 🙂

About a week ago, I was more ill than I have been for ages. (That is an occupational hazard of teaching though – a lot of sickness bugs get shared around the school!) I had some kind of bad cold/flu that knocked me sideways for most of the week. I fell ill on the Saturday afternoon, and by that night I was feverish, coughing, and generally just feeling pretty awful. I stayed in bed all of Sunday and then, quite reluctantly, dragged myself to work on Monday. That was a bad idea.

I struggled through Monday at school, feeling lethargic and low in energy. I was coughing and wheezing through all my lessons, trying desperately to seem upbeat and positive. By the end of the day, I felt 10 times worse and my line manager promptly sent me home under strict instructions to get better.

So, I spent Tuesday and Wednesday at home. In bed. Feeling utterly useless.

And here’s what I realised – although I knew that I needed to rest, and I would be advising anyone in the same boat as me to do exactly that, I felt incredibly guilty for taking two whole days out of work and out of my routine just to rest. I tried to go ahead with a personal training session but was luckily told by my trainer not to turn up at the gym, I felt awful for ‘making’ Chris prepare dinners and sort out the house, when actually it was totally his choice. I really didn’t know how to handle being this ill or, more accurately, how to hand over the control of my life to other people. I felt lazy and was itching to get back to school so that my colleagues wouldn’t think the same. (Spoiler: They are lovely, caring people who would never say that about anyone who was ill.)

So why all the worry? Why did I find it so hard just to rest and recover?

I suppose I’m just so used to being busy.
My job means that I’m on the go all day, often taking work home with me as well. I work at weekends, go to the gym when I can, wake up early to fit more into my day and spend my evenings wedding planning. I love being busy and it’s just become part of who I am. However, the shock to my system when I was forced to give all this up for a few days was unbelievable. I couldn’t adjust to suddenly feeling helpless and out of control. All I had was a cold, why on earth couldn’t I just get out the house and get stuff done?

Then I realised – I needed the rest.

My body needed to rest. It was unwell and it was never going to get better if I forced it through a school day, a workout and a few hours of admin. I needed to sleep, relax and recover.

Once I found peace with that, I coped a lot better.

I’m interested to know if any of you have been in the same situation – I’m sure that any of you who, unlike me, are self-employed or work from home, have certainly felt this guilt when you can’t do anything. But it is so important to give your body what it needs. Whether that is good food, lots of water, some exercise, or just complete rest. I got back to work on Thursday and now feel pretty much back to normal. If I hadn’t let my body recover for a few days, I’m certain that right now I’d feel just as awful as I did last weekend. If not worse.

Next time you’re ill and stuck in bed, try to see the upside. If you can, read a book. Or watch Netflix, or listen to a podcast. Enjoy whatever hobbies or relaxing activities you never normally have the time for, but can do with very little energy. Have a bath, curl up with your pet, eat comfort foods and drink Lucozade. When you decide to see this as a self-care opportunity rather that forced bed-rest, your mentality shifts to one of positivity and health, rather than negativity and sickness. (Remember, self-care doesn’t have to be really indulgent, sometimes it’s 100% necessary to just include low energy options to make you feel better.)

I hated being forced to rest, until I saw that it was exactly what I needed and that I could draw some positives from it if I really tried. I hope that in the future you can do the same 🙂

cropped-logo_size_icon.jpg

 

 

50 Things That Make Me Happy

50 Things That Make Me Happy

Two tag posts in a row? I know, lazy blogger! But I couldn’t resist jumping straight into this wonderful post, listing 50 things that make me happy. I was very kindly tagged by Colourful Hope, whose post is here.

I think the idea of listing 50 things that make you happy is brilliant. It’s a list, so it sounds simple – but 50 is a pretty big number! (The most I’ve dared so far is 26!) Having to think of 50 individual things that make me feel happy can only be a good thing for my wellbeing. So, here goes!

50 Things That Make Happy

  1. Spending time with my cat
  2. Autumn walks with my fiance
  3. Wedding planning
  4. Reading a good book
  5. Smashing a workout
  6. Finding an outfit that looks really good
  7. Chocolate
  8. Catching up with old friends
  9. Going to the cinema
  10. Big bowls of pasta
  11. A clean and cosy house
  12. A clean car
  13. My hamster
  14. Seeing my family
  15. Having a cup of tea with my mum
  16. My job
  17. Running with my best friend
  18. Music
  19. (more specifically) Neil Diamond’s music
  20. Watching comedies (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Friends, OITNB…)
  21. Libraries
  22. A good cup of coffee
  23. Comfy blankets
  24. Learning something new
  25. Being brave and it turning out well
  26. Giving people gifts
  27. Coffee shops
  28. Looking at homeware
  29. Theatre
  30. Watching stand-up comedy
  31. Singing along to musicals
  32. Falling asleep watching a film with my fiance
  33. Setting goals and planning
  34. Listening to My Favourite Murder
  35. Long, lazy mornings with breakfast in bed
  36. A really tasty cocktail
  37. Playing board games
  38. Pizza
  39. When there are amazing vegetarian options at a restaurant
  40. Pretty book covers
  41. Recommending books to people
  42. Comfy jumpers
  43. Playing Skyrim
  44. Hot chocolate
  45. Museums
  46. Disney films
  47. Ticking off my to-do list
  48. Roald Dahl books
  49. Stationery
  50. Spending time with my friends

 

Well, that was great! It pushed me to think about everything that makes me happy and now I feel really good. I’d like to pass that good feeling on, and I tag:

Kelly at Paperback Adventures
Pigletish
Nic’s Healthy Life

The Blogger Recognition Award

I cannot tell you how much it made my day to get a notification on Twitter telling me that the very lovely Kelly over at Paperback Adventures had nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award.

I haven’t been blogging for very long and I am often only able to post once a week due to work, so I know that I’m not the most active person in the blogging community. So to know that Kelly thought my blog was worth reading and recognising like this means loads. 🙂

So here we go:

THE RULES

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you
  • Write a post to show your award
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them, and provide a link to the post you’ve created

HOW MY BLOG STARTED

Over the past 5 years or so, I’d say that I must have started and abandoned nearly 10 different blogs. I’ve tried book blogging (and for a short while, Booktubing…), mental health blogging, writing about my studies… and honestly, I think the timing was just never quite right. I’ve had a very busy few years and I never found a passion that I was inspired by enough to write about every week – nor could I think of enough content to do so!

The Self-Care Sloth started in August 2018, during my first summer holiday as a teacher, whilst I was looking for a more creative outlet and also a way to track my own progress on a self-care journey. I started my blog with a post about journalling that has since been deleted – but I haven’t looked back since!

ADVICE

I don’t feel very qualified to give advice, because I’m still so new to this world myself. But I guess the advice I would give to someone as new as me, and the steps I’m trying to take myself would be:

  1. Try to have a post in your drafts or scheduled at all times. That way, when life gets busy or you’ve run out of ideas, there’s always a post ready to go.
  2. Write about what you want to write about, not what you think will be ‘popular’. People will find it, people will read it, and it will feel great because they’re like-minded people who might come back to your blog later on.

NOMINATIONS

I’m really not part of the blogging community very much yet, so I don’t think I know 15 people! I’m going to nominate 10 people and I hope that’s okay! (and sorry if you’ve already been nominated! But you’re all fab, you write my favourite blogs, and deserve every nomination or award going!)

  1. Hello Bexa
  2. Emily Aagaard
  3. Jade Marie
  4. Adventure & Anxiety
  5. Chloe Elizabeth
  6. Pigletish
  7. My Lifelines
  8. Alternatively Speaking
  9. Ruth in Revolt
  10. Blushing Lately

 

Thanks for reading! x

cropped-logo_size_icon.jpg

pumpkins and sunflowers in autumnal spread

How to Survive Halloween as an Anxious Person

I love Halloween! I love the spooky stuff, the abundance of pumpkin-spiced-everything and the cold creepy nights. However, as someone who suffers with an anxiety disorder, I do know that not every Halloween activity suits people with anxiety problems. If you find this time of year nerve-wracking, or want to join in with social events but get nervous doing so, here are a few ideas of how to survive Halloween as someone with an anxiety disorder:

Horror Films

Scary films are a huge part of Halloween for some people and something that I often enjoy. However, on a bad anxiety day, they aren’t ideal, and you may well think that horror films sound like an absolute nightmare! (Pun slightly intended…)

The main thing is that you always feel like you can say no. If you don’t want to watch a scary film, just say no. Any real friends won’t mind and will probably change their plans to accommodate you.

popcorn with cinema ticket

If you feel like you can watch a scary film, there are a few things you can do to prevent extra anxiety. First, watch them at home. That way you can pause the film if you need to, you’re somewhere familiar, and you can leave some lights on too. Also, avoid particular triggers if you know you have them. For example, my anxiety is often triggered by medical scenarios, so I will often avoid films that are set in hospitals or similar. Lastly, have a quick self-check before the film starts. Are you in the right mindset to watch this film? Is there anything you need to make yourself feel more comfortable?

There are also plenty of films that are more ‘comedy spooky’, rather than full-on horror. Think ‘Hocus Pocus’! (Which I’ve never actually seen and desperately want to watch this month!)

Books

If you’re desperate to consume some Halloween-y media, but can’t stomach a horror film this year – why not try a scary book instead? The bonus of books is that you can close them and walk away very easily if you need to.

For a traditional ghost story, I would recommend The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson and for a superb psychological thriller I love Misery by Stephen King.*

The Haunting of Hill HouseMisery

Horror Mazes or ‘Scare’ Events

There’s a ‘scare village’ event near where I live that I really want to go to this year, but I sometimes really struggle with live-action horror events. Every year, you will see this style of horror event or maze pop-up. For example, the ‘Fright Night’ events at Thorpe Park. I have done these type of mazes before, but I’ve also avoided them before, so hopefully my advice can help you if you want to go to one of them.

First, remember that the actors are not allowed to touch you. You are completely safe and are in a controlled environment. Keep telling yourself that the whole event is completely fake and the performers and organisers are there to keep you safe, if a little scared.

Calm vs Panic signs with blurred beach background

Secondly, remember that you can always get out if you need toI have, on two occasions, left scary themed events early and on both occasions, staff were really understanding and accommodating. You won’t be the only person leaving early and you can always say you feel sick or unwell if you don’t want to say that it’s anxiety. A few years ago, I was in a queue to enter the ‘Chamber of Horrors’ section of Madame Tussauds in London and I just felt like I couldn’t go in. They had a sign that informed you that this was your last chance to leave before entry (check for these points – there may be some times when you won’t be able to leave, and you need to know that) and I decided to leave. I told a member of staff, told my friend, and we went to get some food instead! No one minded and it meant that I could take time to calm down and try a different activity.

You are always allowed to leave. Sometimes just knowing that escape is possible will be enough to calm you down!

Halloween Parties

If you’ve been invited to a Halloween party, then there are two important things to know:

  1. I’m very jealous of you. I love Halloween parties and no one I know ever throws them any more!
  2. You don’t have to go.

Number 2 is really the important one there, of course. If you’ve been invited to a party, you don’t have to go. Now, if you know that you have a tendency to hermit because of your anxiety, and you will actually have fun with your friends if you drag yourself there, maybe it is good to do just that. However, if you’re really panicking, don’t force yourself to go to a big party that scares you. If you do go, make sure you can get home early if you need to. Drive yourself, walk, or don’t rely on a hard party-goer for a lift home.)

Now… love fancy dress so I love dressing up for Halloween, but I know that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and you might feel anxious about people looking at you. However, think of it this way – if everyone in the room is in costume, and you aren’t – who are people more likely to look at? If you’re not big into fancy dress but want to blend in, I’d suggest something easy and subtle like the traditional witch’s cat. Wear all black, put on some cat ears and make a tail out of black tights and scrunched up newspaper. Done! Also, this would be easy to hide during travel if you need to get public transport – just put the ears and tail in your bag until you get to the party. Similar ideas might be a witch (black dress, hat and broom) a devil (black and red clothes with devil horns and a pitchfork) or a vampire (more black clothes, pale make-up and some fake teeth.)

pumpkins and sunflowers in autumnal spread
Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

And if you’re friends really want to celebrate Halloween, but none of these activities are for you, why not suggest one of these:

  • Pumpkin carving
  • Halloween-themed baking (pumpkin traybake anyone? I have to try this one!)
  • Halloween crafts (do you have any young relatives you could do crafts with? most kids I know love Halloween and they don’t do anything too scary!)
  • A board game night with a spooky twist. (I’d recommend Plague Inc. which is a brilliant plague-themed game. You could also play Cluedo for some old-school murder mystery feels!)

And last, but by no means least, keep up your self-care. Perhaps by trying out the #SelfCareTogether challenge that Pigletish is hosting this month. Halloween is a very social holiday and you might be surrounded by triggers for your anxiety for a lot of this month – so make sure you are taking care of yourself, and having moments of calm whenever you can.

Happy Halloween!

logo_size_icon

* Please note that Book Depository links in the post are affiliate links. They cost you no extra money, but if you buy a book through my affiliate links I earn a small commission.

How I’m Dealing With Stress

How I’m Currently Dealing With Stress

Spoiler alert – I’m not dealing with it very well!

stressed lady with laptop and planner, clutching her head
Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

I’ll apologise now to anyone who thought that this was going to be a self-help advice post about how to deal with stress or some more self-care advice. Honestly, this is just a bit of a self-indulgent post to help me get my head out on to the page, and to reflect on what my reactions to stress have been recently.

Over the past month, I have not only been trying to get this blog up and running, but I’ve also started my first year as a qualified teacher and had a heck of a lot to think about! On top of a pretty hefty workload, there have been family emergencies and a fresh new batch of anxiety…

So how have I been coping? Let me see…

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Ugly crying
  • Chocolate
  • Gin
  • Lots of to-do lists
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate
  • Hot chocolate

Have you noticed a theme?

It’s not been good – let’s be honest – excessive quantities of chocolate and coffee is never the way to get through a tough week! I’m sure my anxiety is worse because of coffee and I’m feeling worse because I know I’ll be putting weight back on that I only recently battled to lose. The only positive thing on that list is my obsessive use of to-do lists to stay on top of things. I’ve been trying to take part in the #SelfCareTogether challenge but I’m honestly struggling to make any time for self-care.

So why am I writing this post? I’m not exactly an inspiration to anyone at the moment!

Maybe I just needed to get things out of my head. Perhaps I was hoping that this would publicly shame me into getting my act together. Honestly, I think I just wanted to say “Hey, we all have those weeks where we want to give up and stay in bed all day. We don’t all deal with it by drinking green tea and doing yoga, and it’s okay to feel like you’re not coping right now.” Hopefully this will resonate with someone and we can all get past these bad days and come out the other side.

Hopefully next week I’ll be feeling a bit more on top of things and I can write a post titled ‘How to deal with stress’!

How do you stay on top of things and start feeling better when things get too much?

logo_size_icon