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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
Why you should live your life a little more like our feline friends… and how to make that happen.
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’*.)
Here are four ways tp Live More Cat:
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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.)
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 but the gravity blanket itself is just so expensive!
The Lush ‘Comforter’ Bubble Bar
Self-care isn’t always about a bubble bath, and I’m not much of a bath bomb person usually – but I make a huge exception for the Comforter bubble bar! It’s not a glittery bath bomb and it lasts for multiple baths, so it’s just a bit more me (and a bit more budget-friendly). It has a marshmallowey scent that I find so comforting – hint the name, I suppose! I really want to treat myself to another of these soon.
A Good Guided Journal / Gratitude Journal
Last Summer, I started getting into journalling and I did see the benefits for a little while. However, I found that I just didn’t want to spend lots of time journalling, and didn’t really know where to go with it. I’d love to start it up again, because I know how many people swear by it, but I think I need a good journal to use. I’ve seen a couple of ‘guided’ journals with templates and prompts, which I think I might give a go.
4. Decaf coffee
Something we’ve recently run out of in the house and I keep forgetting to stock up on – decaf coffee! I love the comfort of a hot drink and I love the taste of coffee. However, it’s not always practical or sensible to be having a big dose of caffeine when I’m feeling anxious. This is why going decaf is such a saviour for me! I like the Douwe Egberts decaf coffee but there are loads of great options out there so you can find one to suit your taste. Of course, hot chocolate is always a good option too!
5. A Foot Spa
How decadent would it be to have a proper foot spa at home? At least I feel like it would! I would love to sit with my feet soaking and being massaged while I blog or watch a film… I just feel like that would be the ultimate in indulgent low-energy relaxation!
This was a short and very varied list, but I hope you’ve been inspired a little bit to indulge in some self-care and perhaps even treat yourself to one of these items! I am definitely going to keep squirreling away my spare cash to get a gravity blanket.
I haven’t written a post in quite a few months, which I’m sure not many people have noticed, but I wanted to get back into the swing of things and start blogging more frequently again.
So, this #SelfCareSunday, I thought I’d talk a little bit about what self-care looks like to me…
I’ve been trying to put more of my time this year into preventative self-care. That is, taking care of myself to keep my body and mind healthy, to avoid any down-turns in my mental health, rather than waiting until I feel the need to use self-care to recover.
One of the main ways I’ve been doing this (hint the picture above…) is heading to the gym. I have a real love-hate relationship with exercise on the whole, but I do know that if I drag myself out the house and go for a jog, or sweat my way through a gym class, I do feel better. This works if I’m in a bad mood, but I have also noticed that on the weeks that I put the effort in to work out more often, I feel better on the whole.
I also like to make sure that I am always getting enough sleep. I am someone who needs plenty of sleep to function properly! I know this fact about myself, so why starve myself of sleep? For me to feel calm and prepared for the day ahead, I need to have had a good night’s sleep.
Self-Care First Aid
Sometimes (frequently) you have a bad (awful) day, filled with stress and panic, and you need some serious self-care time that evening to recover.
On those days (and there are plenty of them, believe me!) I like to take time to myself to calm down, relax and repair. This will look different all the time, but it usually involves some of the following:
Last month, when I was feeling down, I ordered myself a Buddy Box from The Blurt Foundation as a pick-me-up. I totally forgot about it and had a lovely surprise when I picked up this mystery parcel from the delivery office. If you saw my ‘How I’m Dealing With Stress’ post, you’ll know I had been having a bit of a rough time, and my Buddy Box just made my day.
I have followed and loved The Blurt Foundation for a few years and I think they do a great job. Their aim is to increase awareness and understanding of depression, as well as providing support and resources to those suffering from depression. It’s a fantastic cause, and one very close to my heart, and I would really recommend giving them a follow on Twitter or checking out their website.
Their Buddy Boxes are subscription boxes that you can order for yourself or someone else as a sort of care package. As Blurt explain:
“Packed full of thoughtful, mood-lifting treats, the BuddyBox comforts, delights and gives you that warm, ‘I’ve been cared for’ feeling inside. In other words – it’s a hug in a box.”
And who doesn’t want a hug in a box?
You can subscribe to the boxes or buy a one-off box. Personally, I bought this box as a one-ff. I bought the Buddy Box Lite, which contains 3 items. The original Buddy Box contains 5. The theme of my box was ‘Become a Rhino-Snore-Us’. Sleep is something I think is really important and one of many things that make me happy! – and it contained some lovely sleep-themed items that I’ll briefly talk about below…
This very cute postcard, that says ‘But first, sleep.’
I think this is really cute and I might put it up somewhere in my bedroom.
The Blurt zine.
Blurt produce this zine that goes in every BuddyBox. It’s full of sleep tips and information. A really helpful, quick read. This gives the BuddyBox some really beneficial substance that perhaps the products on their own would lack. I think this is a great addition to the box.
3. To-Do Post-It Notes
Although I do think these have a bit of a tenuous link to the ‘sleep’ theme, I do like them. They’re very cute and I always love a new piece of stationery. Particularly novelty post-its. These are by Gemma Correll and I will definitely be checking out the rest of her stuff if I can.
4. Scentered De-Stress Balm.
This Scentered de-stress balm is a stick of lovely aromatherapy scented balm, which you rub on your pulse points (Your wrists, temples or neck.) to help you feel calmer and hopefully get some sleep. I really like the scent of this and it is really calming to smell when you’re feeling worked up or stressed.
5. Fluffy socks
I’ve saved the best until last in my opinion. Look at these socks! They are fluffy, soft and very, very comfortable. They’re also really long, reaching nearly up to my knees, which I love. These are great for the chilly evenings that are creeping in at the moment and they are my favourite thing from the Buddy Box.
So what did I think?
All in all, I really liked the products sent in this box. It really perked up my day receiving the box in the post and the items in it are comforting and great for self-care. My most used item so far has been the gorgeously cosy socks and I have used the de-stressing balm on occasion. Although I liked the post-it notes a lot, I do think there could have been something more relevant to the theme.
Overall, I’d say that if you’re going through a tough time, or you know someone who is, and can afford to splash out a little bit of money (it really isn’t that much actually) to get a Buddy Box sent to your door, it is definitely worth doing. And you know your money is going to a really worthwhile organisation.
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:
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.
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!)
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.*
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.
Secondly, remember that you can always get out if you need to. I 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!
If you’ve been invited to a Halloween party, then there are two important things to know:
I’m very jealous of you. I love Halloween parties and no one I know ever throws them any more!
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… I 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.)
And if you’re friends really want to celebrate Halloween, but none of these activities are for you, why not suggest one of these:
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.
* 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.