We’ve lived through some difficult years, the rise in mental illness being significant during the pandemic. I personally have struggled with anxiety for a while, which worsened during the pandemic to a point where I struggled to do basic things like enter a supermarket. When your mind is under constant stress it can be hard to find periods of calm. Wellbeing is something I want to incorporate more as Psych evolves, so I thought I’d begin with a simple guide of things that have helped me to stay calm during difficult times. At the end I included lots of audience suggestions.
No. 1 - Get Outside
If you’re struggling with stress or anxiety, the number one thing that helps me is getting out of my head and out of the house. You don’t realise the benefit of this until you force yourself to do it. Walking is especially helpful as it gives you something easy to focus on and fresh air helps to settle your mind.
No. 2 - Talk to your friends and family
If there is something that is persistently bothering you, being able to voice it to someone you trust can help. You will either realise that the problem is not as big as you thought, or will be able to gain insight into possible solutions. A caveat is that you need to be sure whoever you speak to is in a place to receive your worries, so try to check with them beforehand. If there’s no one you can speak to, a good app is ‘worry dolls’.
No. 3 - Have a cup of tea
At the risk of sounding like a bad counsellor, do something you take comfort in. That might be drinking tea, watching your favourite TV show or hanging out with friends. It’s important to give yourself space to relax.
No. 4 - Do something you enjoy
While the prior is a passive way of taking time for yourself, don’t underestimate the necessity of actively taking time for yourself. Within our society it is often seen as pointless to engage in a hobby, especially one that won’t make you money or help you achieve something. I am often guilty of feeling like this, sometimes refraining from doing any art that I won’t use for the brand. There is so much value in doing this though, something truly for yourself. If there is no particular hobby you have, try something new. Particularly calming are things like crochet and painting that engage your hands and can help you feel less restless.
No. 5 - Community suggestions
A collection of responses from you that I loved: Listen to music Crochet Watch TV/comfort shows Take a moment to stop and breathe Breathe slowly Talk with loved ones Go to the gym Realise it’s only a moment in time and it will pass Cuddle pets Get some fresh air Write it down Reflect on all that you are happy about/grateful for Reflect on how far you have come Walk in nature/on the beach Take a long warm shower Fake it until you make it ‑ pretend you’re confident until you feel it Remind yourself why you’re there/what you’re doing this for Hold someone’s hand