So who remembers when the deer crashed into my car? Well this week my insurers decided to write off my car and demand that their courtesy car be returned within the space of about 20 minutes!
I then had to drive about 40 minutes in a car I had only driven once, this presented me with both physical difficulty ( the arthritis in my shoulders hates long drives) and mental difficulty – I could feel the rise of anxiety. This is an actual picture of me from Wednesday afternoon..
This came on top of my mums long-term illness, my mother in law becoming increasingly frail and my daughter entering the study furnace that is GCSEs.
So, how do I cope with these everyday stressors and stop the panic monster returning?
1. I practice mindfulness, this is an easy version of meditation, it doesn’t mean you have to clear your mind and chant Om, it means you bring your focus in and recognise that thoughts are like clouds – you don’t have to follow them as they drift across your mind. An easy exercise for instant mindfulness? Quickly decide which of your feet is coldest, it doesn’t matter what the answer is, because for a few seconds you are totally focused on your body! Cool isn’t it?
2. Exercise, and this doesn’t have to mean hours in the gym, it doesn’t have to be outside even ( for a few weeks I couldn’t go out, so I rode an exercise bike) but if you can walk this should be your first choice. There is good scientific evidence that walking is very effective in tackling anxiety and depression. I have the bonus of Darcey to walk, who could be sad watching that nutter ploughing through bluebells.
3. Do things you love, we all have to work but is there something you could do that would bring you real joy every day? It could be your favourite coffee it could be a bubble bath, look after yourself as you would if your best friend was stressed. I am lucky that finally I am doing work that I love but believe me it hasn’t always been that way.
4. Try and remove all stimulants from your diet, the last thing your body needs when its stressed is a stream of caffeine and sugar, I made the switch to decaffeinated everything and soon found an improvement in my stress levels.
5. Fake it until you make it! there is also evidence that pretending to be happy will eventually make you happy, this is tough when you are at the bottom. I started by making sure that I only watched “happy” television, no Rip Off Britain, Cowboy Builders etc, you get the idea. Surf the internet for inspiring quotes or just plain silly ones, the one below is opposite our loo and greets me first thing….
I hope this helps, you don’t have to be on the brink of a breakdown to use these tips but if you are please talk to someone, once I started telling people about my panic disorder I found nearly everyone had personal experience of mental health issues.
So, I wish you love and light for the coming week and thank you for being part of my work that I love and I will reward you with a tutorial next Wednesday!