Hope you are all doing well getting through these colder, darker months. It is certainly a nice feeling that Spring with be on its way very soon.
As it was Children’s Mental Health week last week, I thought I would look at anxiety this month, as it seems to be such a prevalent issue amongst young people at the moment.
It is normal to have some anxiety in our lives - it helps us keep ourselves safe and can enable us to achieve our goals - but it can become something that affects us to the point that we can't live a normal life and struggle with simple day to day tasks.
It's important to get help and support if you feel like anxiety is affecting your general wellbeing. Many people overcome their anxiety with the help of a professional, by understanding it more and learning how to influence their thinking and reactions to situations, as well as learning coping strategies.
If anxiety is something that affects you occasionally, you may find the following tips helpful.
10 things that can help anxiety
1. Take some time out – whatever this looks like in your world, sometimes it is important to know when we need time out from something in order to refocus and ground ourselves again. It’s amazing how fresh and less anxious you can feel when coming back to your daily tasks after a break.
2. Eat and sleep well – Not always an easy one - there is so much temptation with food, and late nights can be fun! But try to be more aware that generally a good healthy diet will help you feel better – go for high fibre and low fat….with the occasional treat! Try getting to bed at a reasonable time and aiming to get between 6-8 hours sleep. Lack of sleep and a poor diet can heighten feelings of anxiety, making a bad situation worse.
3. Limit caffeine intake – too much caffeine can make us irritable and can even trigger or prolong feelings of anxiety. Go for caffeine free herbal drinks and healthy smoothies/juices as well.
4. Exercise – whatever floats your boat with exercise, do what you enjoy! Some ideas are: walking, jogging, going to the gym, gardening, even housework, which will give you a nice tidy space afterwards! With outdoor activities you get the added bonus of fresh air and vitamin D. All help to lift the mood and keep anxiety at bay.
5. Take deep breaths – even just a few can help slow down the heartbeat which will in turn, help you feel more relaxed and less anxious. A simple quick action that can have a big effect.
6. Change the focus – distraction can be a very good way of coming out of panic mode and therefore reducing any anxiety. Try and engage in a conversation about something you enjoy talking about – it might be a new series on TV, parts of your work or study, or plans for the weekend.
7. Accept that you can’t control everything – try not to overthink things and keep things in perspective. Try and accept the things you can’t control – tomorrow is a new day with new beginnings. Get through the bad days and make the most of the good ones. Acceptance and forward thinking can help ease an anxious state.
8. Do stuff – try and get involved in activities that involve helping others or your local community – this can provide a new focus and drive us away from the stresses and anxieties of everyday life.
9. Talk it through – sharing how we feel can make us feel so much better. Sometimes the biggest cause of anxiety relates to bottled up feelings. So reach out to a special person and have that chat.
10. Have a laugh – humour is a great way to help reduce stress and anxiety. Do things and see the people that make you laugh. It could be as simple as watching your favourite comedy series or just hanging out with your favourite funny person!
Please have a look at the link below for help that is available to children and young people and their families who live in West Sussex.
For those who live outside of West Sussex, please follow the link below to the Children's Mental Health Week website where you can find resources and also a link to access urgent help, if needed.
Take care everyone,
This content is general information only, not advice. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, please contact a mental health professional or contact the Samaritans.