If there is a thing to be said on what I’ve been up to in the last couple of weeks, it’s that I’ve put an awful lot on my plate. Whilst I find myself to be someone who thrives on learning, and pushing myself to always achieve my goals- I know I need to be careful regarding my Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
Just to summarise what has happened in the last few weeks:
- We found a home we both love, and we put an offer on this. IT GOT ACCEPTED!
- I got approached for a job opening which is closer to home, and more money. I GOT ACCEPTED!
- Due to the above, I handed in my notice in my current role – this didn’t go as well as I’d like, in fact it’s seemingly left me feeling this undercurrent of anxiety, and “how did that go so wrong!?”. I have promised to myself that I am going to continue to do the very best work I can until I leave, as I am never satisfied with doing less than.
- With my new company’s HQ based in The Netherlands (with a branch near where I live, it’s given me this grand idea to learn Dutch. Dit is een erg leuk geweest! I am hoping to do this alongside my Spanish, sin embargo, no será fácil.
So with all of the various paperwork that have had to be done, as well keeping up with my volunteering, and looking after my own mental health- it’s really made me reflect on stress, and how I have developed my coping mechanisms over the years. From what I’ve understood, the worst of it is over (touch wood). The work notice has been handed in, I’ve done as much as I can do at the moment regarding moving, and I have been able to do the hobbies that I enjoy in between this- as well as regularly talk to loved ones and friends. I’m onto bigger and better places!
With stress though, I always find it to be something that is great in small doses. Good stress is what allows me to work 110%, and I attribute a lot of that to a lot of the reason why I’m where I am at my age. Saying this, the kinds of stress I experienced even as long as a few years ago were ugly.
My school years were nothing short of awful. From vicious verbal bullying on and off throughout, to teachers telling me I wouldn’t be recommended to go to university (and transferring school in my A Levels as a result), to personal traumas that happened throughout my youth – I have had a lot of near falls to say the least (which seeped into my university years).
It wasn’t until I finished university, and well into dating my boyfriend, that I realised how much what I’ve been through was actually affecting my day to day living. I knew that I was troubled for a long time, but I was apathetic to dealing with it head on. I mean- when you haven’t pin pointed what those issues are- how are you supposed to know what the solution is, or where to turn to?
When I think that this was only a few years ago, I see that person now, and that 20 year old me seems like a different human altogether. Even when my mum passed away in 2018, I felt like the way I coped with my loss, both through opening up to loved ones, and allowing myself time to grieve was something I never would have done in 2016. That doesn’t mean that the loss wasn’t any less- it was incredibly painful, and as it was a sudden death- it left me with so many unresolved questions, but being able to go through that in a way that didn’t result in the decline of my own health, or wellbeing is something I am proud of to this day.
When I reflect on my 25 years of existence, I feel like stress has been my best friend, but it has also been my worst friend. It’s given me the drive to be in a decent career, and be in a comfortable position in life- but it has also held me back. For example when I have an anxiety attack, and I am struggling to rationalise my thoughts, the result of this can be me isolating myself between myself and my loved ones (though aforementioned this is something I have improved by opening up more). When I think of the best ways I’ve thought to relief stress, these are what I’ve gone to-
- Write it down – this could be on a blog you create for yourself, or in a thought diary. When you write about your stress triggers, it can be good to write down how stressed you are on a scale of 1-10, and then write down what the solutions could be for your stress. Even writing down what you’re stressed about on a scrap of paper, and then tearing it up can be helpful in letting go of what’s trapped in your mind (especially if you’re having a thought loop!)
- Check your health – Are you sleeping enough? Are you eating well? I find that tiredness and hunger are both things that can certainly contribute to stress (as long as it is sensible). For me personally, if I don’t sleep more than 6.5-7 hours in a night, my chance of stress goes up by 1000%. Even on the weekends, I try and wake up at an early time, and I try to go to bed around the same time as a working night for the same reason.
- Talk to someone, whether it be a loved one you live with, or with someone you trust. This could be a family member, a friend, or if this is affecting your day to day living- your GP. There are also many anonymous free services dedicated to talking through your feelings and listening to you-
- Samaritans: Call 116 123.
- Shout: Text ‘Shout’ to 85258.
- There are also some resources that I learnt through my volunteering that I have personally found useful for helping to relief stress and/or anxiety-
- Sanvello App – Helps to manage anxiety or stress with daily goals and experiments, and guided meditation (https://www.sanvello.com)
- Breathing GIF: Breathing exercise visual aid for anxiety or panic attack HERE
- Mind Shift: An app that provides daily tools to cope with anxiety; encouraging you to take charge of your life, ride out intense emotions, and face challenging situations (Mind Shift)
I hope you enjoy this blog. I genuinely wish I was more active in my posts, and I will try to stick to my schedule, though I suspect that my life is about to get very busy. So even if my posts are shorter, I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on what’s been going on.