There are certain practices that I have learnt over the past few years that have become necessities in my life for managing my anxiety. I strongly believe that it’s vital to find healthy ways of dealing with life and its stressors and pace. I am not always as consistent with them as I’d like to be, but when, the difference feels almost tangible.
With a combination of research, exposure and sheer desperation I have developed what I call my Wellness Toolbox, a little “kit” of things that I have to do (and enjoy doing) to bring me back to myself, amongst the noise of the modern world.
Have a dig through my kit below and let me know if you practice any of these, or if you have any other essentials that you do which keep you feeling levelled, happy, and mentally well.
The word ‘meditation’ conjures up images of sitting still for ten minutes and trying to make your brain stop thinking. But this just isn’t true. Meditation can be whatever you need it to be.
For me meditation can take many forms. It can be a timed, guided practice exploring a specific thought, or a mindful walk. It can be sitting still for a brief time, breathing deeply and observing my thoughts, or can be listening to sad music and allowing myself to feel. Sometimes I include some movement into my practice. It can also be, and often is, a thirty minute yoga session which bring me to my next practice.
I started my yoga journey about a year and a half ago and since then I have not gone more than two weeks without doing at least one session. Whether that be in a class or at home.
It’s that space in my day that allows me to retune myself, draw awareness to my body and the connection between my body and my mind. Regardless of the benefits it has on my physical body, my spiritual body is the real winner when it comes to yoga.
I’m tempted to say that this might be the most important item on this list, and also one of the toughest to use. But being vulnerable about how I feel with those that I trust has been one of the most vital pieces to maintaining a steady head and managing my emotions, because opening up allows others in, and yourself out.
And when you let others know what you are dealing with, you show them that you value honesty and openness, and in my experience this helps them to open up themselves, strengthening a bond between humans in the most beautiful way. Give it a try, you may be pleasantly surprised.
I was never really one to appreciate nature. I lived three minutes from the most beautiful beach for most of my life and never realized how lucky I was. But a bit of growing up later and I am a reborn tree-hugger.
I now live in the beautiful South West of England and I am always amazed at how much fuller I feel after spending some time reading in the park or cycling through the countryside, or even just standing in an open field, breathing in the fresh air. It almost feels like a shower for the soul, cleaning off all the grime that collects in day to day life.
My relationship with exercise is a sticky one, because it became a big player in my eating disorder. It was my version of a bulimic purge exercising to offset calories. I stuck to my gym schedule come hell or high water – when I was sick, injured or exhausted. I lost the true value of exercise because the angle I viewed it from was toxic.
I’m now working with moving to feel good. T keep my body happy, my mind healthy and my mood lifted. Instead of a sweaty gym, I choose to move in ways that feel good to me. Cycling daily to work, for example. Walking, yoga, running – moderately. This shift in mindset towards movement has been monumental in my recovery and building a healthy relationship with myself.