keeping my mind calm when I’m nervous

2019, mental health

Hello!

This week is a nervous one – my driving test is this week and for some reason, I’ve been feeling the effects long term anxiety for a couple of weeks now. It’s things like not being able to sleep, being unreasonably ratty and finding it difficult to concentrate.

And to be honest, it’s exhausting – it’s the heavy weight in my chest and the racing thoughts as I’m trying to fall asleep, so here are a few of the things I’m trying to do to combat it.

1. The Alphabet Game

If I’m struggling to fall asleep, I’ll play the Alphabet Game and go through baby names or films or food. I find this helps as a way to distract my brain and slow everything down – to stop the racing thoughts, try and lift the tightness in my chest and slow the heart rate down.

Also this is a fun family restaurant activity waiting for food!

2. Give yourself a little time off to do something you enjoy

Whether it’s turning off your computer, doing a little face mask or playing Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu for a whole Sunday afternoon (guilty) – giving yourself time to do something just for you, guilt free is a surefire way to keep yourself distracted and calm you down.

3. Have a morning or two with no alarms if you can

I know I’m fortunate to be in a position where I work very flexibly part time and at the weekend I don’t have any pressure to be up at a certain time. Sometimes, it’s not even necessarily that you sleep for much longer in the morning but waking up without the sudden panic of an alarm makes mornings feel much more chilled out and peaceful I think.

4. Try Headspace!

I know it sounds like a complete gimmick but meditation really does work – I’ve been using some of the sleep programs on the Headspace app (I’m sure there are others out there but it’s the only one I really know about) and I find them so relaxing – they help me breathe more deeply, I feel physically more relaxed and I feel like I’m more in control of how I’m feeling. It proves to me that I do have the power to control what I’m feeling and that’s really reassuring.

5. Apologise when you don’t mean to be angry

I’m quite a self aware person and sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in my own head screaming ‘I don’t mean it, I’m sorry!’ but I just can’t stop snapping and acting like a grumpy teenager. The best thing I’ve found is to be honest – to apologise and say ‘look, I’m really nervous and stressed about this thing, I don’t mean it’.

If, however, the person you’re talking to is making you justifiably angry then let loose.

6. Focus on what you can do and not what you can’t

Managing concentration when you’re stressed is a pretty good way to make yourself more stressed – looking at all the things I have to do when most of them are computer based and my eyeballs feel like they’ve been replaced with cotton wool is just the worst. But, focusing on what you have done or what you can achieve is important – getting one thing ticked off a to do list is better than none. Do what you can without pushing yourself because anything is better than nothing!

At the end of the day, the thing to remember is that life has a path – I’m halfway of the mindset that everything happens for a reason and halfway that life isn’t that scheduled, but the part of me that believes everything happens for a reason is often proved right.

For example, I was absolutely devastated when I failed my first driving test but when I upgraded my car and the transition from diesel to petrol was harder to adjust to than I expected, still having my ‘L’ plates on made me feel so much more secure because I had the safety blanket of everyone around me knowing I was new to the car!

I’m hoping for the best for my driving test, but if I don’t pass, there are ways around it – it will all work out in the end! Good luck for whatever you’re nervous or stressed about – it’ll work out in the end!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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you can keep your health kick

2018, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello!

I’m someone who’s been talking about a ‘health kick’, ‘dieting’ and ‘losing weight’ for as long as I can remember – there’s never been a point that I can remember where I’ve been happy with my weight (exhibit a and bbut for some reason, after a particularly positive brain day earlier this year – I’ve given up.

Hating myself and being so desperate to lose weight and making myself sad about it (and consequently comfort eating) clearly wasn’t working so why bother?

Now that’s not to say I’m suddenly full of self confidence and I love my body – that’s still not true at all – however, I’m done punishing myself physically and mentally for no progress. The traditional diet associated phrases are gone and I’m calling it my ‘lifestyle routine’ – because that’s what I, and I think most people, want. We want sustainable changes, not yo yo dieting.

So this is what I’m doing:

  • I’m not cutting food groups out of my diet – it’ll just make me sad and any weight I lose would go straight back on if and when I reintroduce the group to my diet.
  • I am planning every meal I eat in advance – having the control in planning is something that’s working really well for me mentally, so I can schedule in a McDonalds as long as I don’t substitute my other meals (this is also helping with my budgeting).
  • I’m aiming to go to the gym at least once a week – Sunday workouts are going quite well for me, if I can squeeze in another workout (whether that be at home or at the gym) it’s a bonus but I’m not putting pressure on myself to go all the time. If I work up to that then great, but for now I’m starting with one day a week.
  • I’m learning about HIIT workouts – I’ve been doing one very basic beginning Kayla Itsines workout that I got from a Facebook video and seeing progress is so rewarding! The first time I did it I only managed two sets and nearly threw up and the second time I did it I managed all three (bar one exercise that I couldn’t face doing a third time). I’ve only done it twice so far because my gym doesn’t really have space for body weight workouts like that one but I’m planning to implement one at home workout a week into my schedule – but all in good time!
  • I’m trying to do as many steps a day as possible – I’ve loved wearing my Fitbit for about a year now and I’m fascinated by the data it tracks. I’m not forcing myself to do 10,000 steps but Wednesday (for example) is a really long uni day for me and I usually do very few steps, however I managed to do 10,299 steps last Wednesday and I’m classing that as a little victory!

There’s other things I’ve had to think about alongside this – all of these lifestyle changes are second to finishing my degree and uni work comes first but the point of these changes is that hopefully they’ll slot into my life and I can continue as normal. Though, to be fair, I’ve spent longer making a meal plan this week than doing uni work (sorry mum).

I’m hoping to see some changes both in my weight, my mental health and my general health (because according to my Fitbit, sometimes my heart spends 10 hours a day in the ‘fat burn’ zone and 1) I’m definitely not burning fat and 2) It should not be that high) but if nothing else, I’ll be living a healthier lifestyle and dedicating more time to cooking which I thoroughly enjoy.

If you have any workout tips or healthy recipes please do let me know in the comments or on Twitter – I love trying new recipes and I don’t know a lot about workouts so would greatly appreciate any help!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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