15 Steps to Get Through An Anxious Day

Last week I had the first properly anxious day I've experienced in over two years. First off, that's pretty incredible considering there was once a point when I would wake up feeling horrible, go to sleep feeling horrible and spend the entire expanse in between the two feeling GUESS WHAT Y'ALL, HORRIBLE. However, the fact that it's just not a part of my life anymore meant that I was caught very off guard, and wasn't completely sure how to handle it. Luckily, I document my entire life on the internet, so I was able to go back through my own handy hints and bring myself down from a blind panic to a mild buzz, and I thought I'd pass those tips on to any of you who may be experiencing a similar predicament. Obvious disclaimer, this isn't a Miracle Cure For Anxiety, but more of a series of temporary fixes to make an off day slightly more manageable. Use ya noggins.

I also made a video about anxiety pretty much spot on 2 years ago, which you can watch here.

1. Accept it.
The first step to making an anxious day less horrific is accepting that you feel shit. It's like rehab (my knowledge of which is largely formed of anecdotes from the Backstreet Boys movie, but bear with), you can't start to fix a problem until you acknowledge that it's there. Just be like 'cool, I'm going to feel anxious today but nothing is actually wrong, it's just my body being an asshole.' In my experience, trying to fight it and ignore your anxiety will subconsciously end up making you far more stressed out. Nobody likes being involuntarily bitch slapped by adrenaline, and accepting that you're having an off day is a way to at least remove the subconscious sense of impending doom.

2. Decide whether to:
  • Cancel your plans & chill - My fav option, as I very much enjoy rewarding myself with days off for literally any reason.
  • Or Go on with business as normal - Probably best if you have actual commitments to attend to. but getting on with it doesn't mean ignoring step one and trying to pretend you aren't feeling anxious, it just means getting yo shit sorted whilst also taking care of #1. Being around other people can be a helpful distraction, but similarly if you feel like you need to be alone, you need to be alone.

3. Drink inordinate amounts of water.
I have straight up no idea why, but this helps me. Maybe it has something to do with eliminating any kind of dehydration-related effects that may be contributing to your already fabulous list of physical maladies, maybe it's a placebo, but either way it can't hurt.

4. Clean/tidy your space.
You don't have to go full out hausfrau, but being surrounded by clutter isn't good on a subconscious level, and it's even worse if the mess is something that's actively stressing you out as well. I'll generally pick where I want to spend the majority of my day and then spend 10-20 minutes just getting everything off the floor and looking as put together as I can. Little things like making your bed make a huge difference, and when you're happy in your environment it's a lot easier to get on with sorting out everything else.

5. Get some fresh produce down ya.
Similar to number 3, can't be bothered googling actual science, but a bunch of watermelon or a finely concocted mixture of berries at least makes me feel like I'm doing something good for myself, and I have noticed that my mood improves a lot more easily on days that I eat relatively well. Smoothies are also a gr8 option if your appetite isn't quite up to scratch.

6. Organise your thoughts.
Make some lists, write in a diary, whatever helps you empty your brain and feel like you have your bases covered. When my anxiety is bad I find it difficult to hold onto thoughts, which can be v frustrating, and if I just smash everything down on paper as soon as it comes into my head I at least don't have to worry about forgetting things.

7. Listen to your instincts.
This is possibly the most important one. It's my main tip for life in general, but particularly if you're having a shit day you need to listen to what your mind and your body are telling you. If you want to have a nap, do it. If you feel like watching Peter Pan six times is going to comfort you, that's great. Just listen to what your instincts are telling you to do, and don't overthink it. Similarly, if you realise something is making you feel worse, frickin stop it.

8. Don't let others make you feel worse.
Pretty self explanatory. If someone tries to make you feel bad for taking care of yourself tell them to fuck off. xo

9. Do the things that make you happy.
Thank u Captain Obvious. Watch TV shows or movies that take your mind off things, read some blogs, pick up a book, play pokemon, go for a walk. I don't know what makes you happy but you probably should by now so do it.

10. Experience the outside world.
This could mean physically going outside, but I'd also accept reading blogs, watching youtube videos, talking on the phone, etc. Anything to remind you that the world hasn't ended & is continuing to exist as normal outside of your anxiety is great for perspective.

11. Avoid caffeine.
Anything that creates/enhances physical symptoms similar to the ones you'd already get from your anxiety is going to be a bad time.

12. Go to sleep.
Being overtired is 800% guaranteed to make you feel worse. That's an official scientific fact. Naps are good for babies, old people and normies w the flu, so why should an emotional cripple such as yourself be any different? Genuine benefits aside, naps are just great. Sleep your troubles away. That is my motto in life. Unless you're a prospective employer in which case my motto is something about being an active go-getter who works well as part of a team.

13. Look good, feel good.
If you look like shit it is going to make you feel worse. It might not, if you are a well-rounded individual who has somehow overcome the burdens of ego, pride and vanity, but tbh if that were the case I don't think you'd be particularly drawn to my personal brand of self-centred prose so put your damn hair in a ponytail and get changed. You don't have to look bangin', and I for one do not believe in wearing regular pants within the home, but a solid pair of leggings/trackies/pyjamas and a jumper that has been washed in maybe the last year should do the trick. Just make it so that your reflection doesn't make you feel worse. God bless.

14. Pump up the jams.
Like that ambiguously European scientist in the 1D movie said, when we find music pleasant it releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. And happy people just don't kill their husbands. So pump. up. the jams.

15. Get ur ass in gear.
Exercise. I'm talking about exercise. Now if you feel TRULY crap I'm not suggesting you drag yourself weeping to a jazzercise class, but I've learnt never to underestimate the transformative power of a solid workout. And that's coming from someone who had never exercised voluntarily until the age of 22, which coincidentally is when I started to live a completely anxiety-free life soooooo idk laddies draw ur own conclusions.

Sometimes I find that just going through steps like these can be helpful in itself because it's reassuring to know I'm taking care of myself instead of just sinking further into a pit of despair. On a serious note, I know anxiety is incredibly overwhelming when you're dealing with it every single day, but if you take anything away from this post let it be that no matter how bad it is now, it is very much possible to get to a point where your anxiety is reduced to an occasional off day, not overshadowing your entire life.
Keep ya head high and ya caffeine intake regulated.

x0x0 luv ya like a sista.