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.

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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.

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.

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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…

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.

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‘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’?

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My Self-Care Wishlist

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 but the gravity blanket itself is just so expensive!

  2. The Lush ‘Comforter’ Bubble Bar

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    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.

  3. 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

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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.

What would you add to this list?

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30 Free or Low-Cost Activities for an Empty Day

Although I love the idea of an empty schedule at the weekend, the reality is that I usually end up feeling a little lost when I have nothing to do.

This is where I found myself this weekend. Up bright and early, having completed my Saturday morning workout class and met a friend for coffee, I was then left with a long stretch of Saturday ahead of me, with nothing to do. Sometimes, that sounds like bliss. On this day, however, I just felt a bit lost.

I didn’t want to sit in the house all day, I didn’t want to waste a whole Saturday, but I didn’t have any plans or ideas that weren’t going to take a chunk out of our savings. We’re always trying to save money, as I’m sure you are too, therefore a Saturday afternoon window shopping or going to the cinema was out of the question.

book in the girls hands
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

It occurred to me that I can’t be the only person who, even as an adult, finds themselves crying out ‘I’m bored!’ on those empty days, but curses their lack of funds to go for a fun day out. So, here are 30 ideas for either totally free, or very low-cost, activities for when you’re just, well, a bit bored…

  1. Read a book.
    Of course this was going to top my list! Nothing beats curling up with a good book for an afternoon. In the winter, grab a blanket on your sofa. In summer, grab a blanket and spread it on the grass! Lose yourself for a few hours in a good book. (If you need some recommendation, try this post.)
  2. Browse your local library.
    Similar of course to number 1, but good for more than just one read. Find a topic to learn about, browse the magazines, or find a new fiction read. Libraries are a great place to lose a couple of hours! They need your support and they’re totally free – bonus!

    blur book stack books bookshelves
    Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com
  3. Watch a TED Talk.
    There are hundreds of great talks on Ted.com that are inspiring and educational. There are also now TED courses where they will suggest a collection of talks, reading, and discussions on a particular topic for you. Well worth an afternoon.
  4. Learn about something new on Wikipedia.
    Similar to number 3, but better for topics like history or geography. Go on a Wikipedia dive, click on anything you find interesting, and see how much you could learn in an afternoon! You could even take notes if you want to preserve what you learn.
  5. De-clutter one room in your house.
  6. Watch educational or interesting videos on Youtube.
  7. Go for a walk.
    An old faithful. No fancy equipment needed and even if you live in the middle of a big town or city, you can enjoy the local views and head out for a walk. Put on your trainers, fill up a water bottle, and just see where you end up. My husband and I talk walking and share recommendations over at our other blog.)
    mrs w walking in woods

  8. Play Pokemon Go!
    Need another excuse to get out for a walk? If you’re a 90s child like me and want some retro nerdy fun, download Pokemon Go and take a friend on a Pokemon adventure – one of mine and Mr W’s favourite pastimes!
  9. Grab an adult colouring book and colour away your stress.
    I’m currently loving this Game of Thrones colouring book!*
  10. Use the clothes you already own to style some new outfits.
  11. Deep clean one room in your house – or do a bit of a Spring clean everywhere!
  12. Visit a local museum.
    Loads of museums are free to visit, so see what’s open near you.
  13. Try some creative writing.
    It could be a blog post, a short story, a poem… No one else ever has to read it, but it will stretch your creative muscles and you never know what you might end up with. 🙂

    Self-care journalling in notebook next to laptop
    Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com
  14. Listen to a podcast.
    I only discovered podcasts properly in the last few months, and I’ve already found loads that I love and that I learn loads from! There are podcasts on any subject you can think of and they’re great to listen to whilst walking or doing other chores. A couple of my favourites are ‘My Favourite Murder’ and ‘No Such Thing As A Fish’, but let me know if you’d like to see a post listing some more of my favourites on different topics.
  15. Drive to a nearby town or village and just explore.
  16. Do some light stretching or foam rolling your muscles.
  17. Follow a yoga video on Youtube.
    Don’t be intimidated by yoga when you see all the amazing yogis on Instagram doing headstands! Try following videos by someone like ‘Yoga with Adriene’ on Youtube for some beginner-friendy light stretching and strengthening.
  18. Call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while.
  19. Write someone an old-fashioned, hand-written letter.
  20. Have a long hot bubble bath.
  21. Do a proper skincare routine for once!
  22. See what dishes you can cook or bake from ingredients you already have at home.
    I recently tried out a really easy recipe for blueberry and banana muffins, why not see if you have the ingredients already to make those?
    Banana and blueberry muffins
  23. Look up some journalling prompts online and give journalling a go.
  24. Go litter-picking.
    If you live near a park or natural area that you know gets cluttered up with rubbish, why not incorporate a bit of litter-picking and recycling into your walk?
  25. Make or buy your favourite comfort food.
  26. Have a proper Netflix binge!
  27. Have a movie marathon.
    You could watch a series, like Harry Potter, or a pick a theme such as horror. Popcorn optional.
  28. Spend some quality time with your pet.
  29. Sort out your budget.
    Spend some time sorting out your finances. Future-You will thank you!
  30. Build a blanket fort.
    Trust me, you’re never too old.

Are there any ideas that you would add to this list? What do you on your bored, empty days?

See you again soon!

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* (Please note that starred links are affiliate links to the Book Depository. You won’t be charged any extra for any books you buy through those links, but I will earn a small commission.)

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! 🙂

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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 🙂

 

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What Self-Care Looks Like To Me

Well, it’s been a while!

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…

Preventative Self-Care

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Photo by Leon Martinez on Pexels.com

I’ve been trying to put more of my time this year into preventative self-careThat 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

white bed comforter
Photo by Jaymantri on Pexels.com

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:

  • Climbing into bed early.
  • Curling up with a good book. (Have you read my post on The Best Book Genres for a Cosy Night In?)
  • Watching Netflix. (I might write a Netflix recommendations post soon, if you’d be interested in reading that then please let me know in the comments!)
  • Cuddling my cat.
  • Cooking up some delicious comfort food.
  • Taking a bath with lots of Dead Sea salts.
  • Stretching/attempting some funny-looking yoga.

 

I have found that doing some more pro-active and preventative self-care has lessened the frequency of those ‘first aid’ days, but sometimes you just have to spend a few hours recovering.

What does self-care look like to you?

 

If you want to read more about my self-care habits, I have written posts before on winter self-care ideas and low energy self-care activities.

 

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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!

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* 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?

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8 Low Energy Self-Care Ideas

In one of my recent posts, I discussed how I think that ‘traditional’ or ‘mainstream’ self-care suggestions aren’t always accessible. A long evening that starts with a bubble bath, moves on to a manicure and ends with a big nourishing salad eaten in peace sounds idyllic, but also isn’t something I have the energy or resources to do on a day when my depression or anxiety is biting me in the backside.

So what can we do to take care of ourselves when we’re having a bad mental health day, we’re low on time, or we just don’t want to go down the traditional pampering route?

Here are 8 ideas for simple activities or tasks that are 100% examples of self-care, should help you feel better, and don’t require you to have a ton of energy, time, or money:

  1. Get out of bed. Just roll out from under the duvet, slide your feet into a comfy pair of slippers if you have them, and stand up. That’s all you need to do to start a day where you feel better. Bonus points for making your bed, so you’re less tempted to climb back in.
  2. Wash your face. Whether it’s a splash of cold water, the old reliable face wipe, or a full five-step skincare routine, this will make you feel more awake and just a bit more human. And on that note…shower-1502736_1280.jpg
  3. Have a shower. Even if you all you can manage is to stand (or sit) underneath the water for 5 minutes, that’s okay. Again, human feelings will commence shortly.
  4. Put on comfy (but ‘outside acceptable’) clothes. You know the ones I mean. Not pyjamas, but in many ways, even better. You could pop to the shops if you needed to, but you’re just as comfy as you need to be for a day at home.
  5. Make yourself a drink. Hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows, your favourite cup of coffee, a fancy mocktail, a green juice, or simply a tall, cold, glass of water. Get yourself a drink that will hydrate you, calm you, comfort you and refresh you. My only advice? Stick to non-alcoholic if you’re trying to look after yourself.
  6. Talk to someone. Pick up the phone and call your mum. Text a friend. Talk to your cat. Do whatever you can to just share your brain with someone. You don’t have to tell them what’s bothering you, just ask them about their day and get out of your own mind for a little while.mobile-phone-791644_1280
  7. Watch something comforting. For me, it’s usually The Simpsons, Friends or QI. You can always see what I’m currently watching here.
  8. Eat something colourful. Whether you take colourful to mean a big bowl of fruit or a handful of jellybeans, do what makes your soul feel good. You could even try baking something yourself, if you have the energy.

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Hopefully these are simple enough that they can help you on a low-mood, low-energy day. What are your go-to activities to make you feel better?

And if it is a bubble bath and a manicure – go for it!

 

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