I had never experienced anxiety until I was pregnant. I didn’t believe people that suffered from anxiety. Honestly, I just thought they were making excuses because I didn’t understand it. I’m sure I’m not alone there either. There are many mental illnesses that people don’t believe just because they don’t understand.
For me, anxiety feels like I’m overwhelmed, stressed, freaked out & have energy to burn all at the same time.
The first time I thought I was experiencing anxiety I was at work. I really didn’t know what was happening to me or what I was feeling. The only way I can describe it was that I felt like I was freaking out for no reason. And there really was no reason.
Since that first time, I have learned to recognize what it is & what I can do about it.
In the lead up to finishing work before going on maternity leave, it got worse. I’d sit at my desk looking over my replacement’s shoulder feeling fidgety & helpless. It didn’t help that I had 4 days to teach her what I do. I had to find a way to deal with it, and fast.
Tactics that worked for me
Step away – Get up and step away from what you’re currently doing. This can break your mental focus & provide a little perspective.
Use the bathroom – This is a great way to really step away from what you are doing to take a moment to yourself.
Fix a drink – Make yourself a calming cup of tea or pour a glass of water.
Get some fresh air- Just a few minutes outside can help reset your feelings & what’s going through your mind.
Breathe – Breathe deeply & concentrate on your breath, pay attention to the sounds you can hear, and the things that you can smell.
Meditation – This has helped me most. After my daughter was born, I had trouble meditating on my own, so I used an app called Smiling Mind for guided meditation.
Five Things – focus on and name five things for each of your senses. I name five things I can touch (even if its as simple as feeling the socks on my feet or my breath leaving my nose), five things I can see, five things I can hear, five things I can smell (I often imagine some of these, using my favourite smells) and five things I can taste (again I often make up these by what I would like to eat). This helps bring me back to the present.
If you are after even more ideas to calm your anxiety, Buzzfeed has some great tips in their article 36 Simple Ways to Quiet Your Anxiety.