Saturday, 2 December 2017

Blogmas 2017 - Day 2 - How to Deal with Anxiety at Christmas

Living with anxiety is difficult. I live with it every day. It's not something I've always suffered from, it's only a recent thing, although those of you who suffer from it will know that sometimes you will never know what the trigger is, you can be sitting laughing one minute and the next you are gripped with this horrible feeling. It's like someone turning the light out in a room, dark, scary and uncertain.

Personally, my anxiety tends to bubble over when plans change unexpectedly. If I am aware of something coming up, I can mentally prepare for it too which means my anxiety doesn't go into over drive beforehand.

As much as I love Christmas, it can be quite a difficult time of year to fully plan, all it takes is a loved one asking you to pop to the shops with them at the last minute for some shopping, or a spontaneous Christmas night out. It can be really easy for those well thought out and prepared-for plans to start unravelling, meaning your anxiety can start to raise its ugly head. These things are going to happen. You can't control your anxiety, however you can't let it control you either. It's a slippery slope when anxiety starts to take over your life.

Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail

Preparation is key when it comes to anxiety, I already have a list of things I need to do and events I need to go to in December. If it's an event, I take a look online at the location, make sure I have a rough idea of where things are. I look at the itinerary - when will it be busiest? Where's the nearest car parking facility?

Shopping centres are a big thing for me and my anxiety and ultimately we do need to go to the shops at some point. I tend to prefer outdoor shops, the Glasgow Fort is ideal for me and it's my first choice when online shopping won't do. I feel better in the knowledge that  I'm not stuck inside a stuffy shopping centre, if it gets too much inside a shop - I can just step outside and I have fresh air and because it's outdoor, even when it's really busy, it never feels like it's really busy.

A Problem Shared is a Problem Halved.

My husband knows the signs when I'm in panic mode. I clench my fists, I start scanning for the nearest exit, my breathing becomes erratic, my pulse races. Having him able to recognise when my anxiety is building is invaluable. It also means I'm not suffering alone, there's nothing worse when you are in the grip of an attack, than feeling like you can't say or talk about it. Sometimes just having someone say 'you are ok, you will be fine' can be the difference between a full blown attack and a mild one. It can take me a good couple of days to fully get over a full blown anxiety attack and in the height of the festivities that is definitely not what I want.

Frankie Said Relax

Relaxing is the best way to keep calm, especially during the business of the Christmas period, so take advantage of the Lush festive products and run yourself a nice long, hot bubble bath. If reading is your thing, grab yourself a holiday read and take yourself off to a quiet spot with a cuppa. There are always good deals to be had at this time of year on beauty therapies, so book yourself in for a nice massage. There are plenty of ways to relax and wind down, so take a few minutes for yourself and just enjoy the peace and quiet.

If you suffer from anxiety, it's something that will always be there and some days it will be worse than others, so don't focus on getting rid of it completely, just try to focus your energy on trying to manage it. Focus on getting it to a point where it doesn't threaten to take over your life.

Loves and hugs,

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