In 2013, an estimated 11.6% of Canadians 18 years or older reported having a mood or anxiety disorder; that’s around 3 million people. A quarter of these individuals, 27%, stated that their anxiety or mood disorder affected their daily life in a moderate to extreme way.
There are so many people out there struggling to get through daily life without having an anxiety attack or being so anxious they can’t go to classes or go to work; so what can you do when you feel as though you can’t make it through the day?
As someone who deals with anxiety on varied levels on a day to day basis as well as someone who knows so many strong individuals who also struggle with anxiety disorders in their own way, here is a list of coping and relaxation techniques that I’ve picked up along my journey with mental illness.
- Tell someone how you’re feeling
You don’t have to go through it alone. Tell your friends how you’re feeling, make someone at work aware if you need a little extra support, let someone you’re close to in your family know that you need a shoulder to lean on, make an appointment with your therapist, and if you feel as though you’re alone, there are so many online resources you can use to get in contact with someone who can help talk you through whatever is going on. Even when you feel like you’re alone, know that you’re not and there are so many people out there who want to help you
- Get out of bed
I know you probably don’t want to but you should. There are so many days where I’d rather not face the world but even if you just hang out around your house and watch Grey’s Anatomy in your comfy clothes and make yourself something to eat; that’s 4 things that you’ve accomplished right there. You’ve gotten out of bed, you’ve changed out of your pyjamas, you’ve eaten and you’ve binged watched a full season of Grey’s; those are things to be celebrated!
3. Learn coping mechanisms that work for you
Whether it’s a hobby that relaxes you, a book you can read that calms you down, breathing exercises or games you can play in your mind that help soothe you; find something you can do to help calm you down. A few of my favourite’s are:
- Close your eyes and visualize a triangle expanding as you breathe in and collapsing as you breathe out. Continue until your breathing has regulate
- Use your senses, find 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Continue until you feel more calm.
- The alphabet game: go through the alphabet and name things in a category that start with each letter. Ex. Countries (A = Argentina, B= Bulgaria, C= Canada, etc.)
4.Find an object the helps calm you
This can be any sort of object that brings you serenity and piece of mind, not to become dependent on but to fiddle with or smooth through you fingers when you’re feeling anxious. Things like a silky ribbon, a smooth stone, the store Sage has relax-o rings that you roll up and down your fingers and depending on which finger you use relieves a certain symptom of anxiety, or even one of those fidget cubes could be helpful as well. Something that is easy to conceal if you’re anxious in class or at work but can help ease your anxieties.
- Make sure you’re taking care of yourself
Taking your prescribed medications and not using unhealthy ways to self medicate, ensuring that you’re drinking the suggested amount of water everyday and eating healthy foods. Talking to your doctor if you feel a major unbalance in the ways you’ve been feeling, there could be other causes impacting your mental health. Getting enough sleep and not overloading yourself with stress. All these little factors add up and take their toll on your wellbeing so make sure you’re taking the right steps to take how you’re feeling into your own hands and help yourself in every which way you can.
These are just a few ways you can help ease your anxiety, I hope it helps and if you have any of your own tips and tricks on how to deal with anxiety I’d love to know!