Wow it’s been a while since my last post! Have I been feeling guilty about this? Yes! Have I been thinking what was the point in setting up this blog if you’re not going to add to it on the regular? Yes! Have I done anything about it? No! Until today!
I was listening to a Minimalists podcast episode ‘Rich’ on my drive home from work last night and one of the guys, Joshua, was talking about writing, as it’s something he is passionate about, and he mentioned a quote that he heard – “I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning’ (having Googled it, no one seems sure of exactly who said it!) Basically – you’re not always going to ‘feel’ like writing, but just do it anyway. So as of today, whether I feel like it or not, I’m going to get into the habit of writing every other day – even if it’s just a paragraph, and even if I don’t have anything much to say, I’m going to do it!
Today, I just wanted to talk about some things that I do which help me manage my anxiety better so that I manage to make it out of bed in the morning and get through the day without ending up in the foetal position crying in the loos at work. We’ve all been there right!? (Hopefully it’s not just me!)
Not everyone’s favourite I know, but exercising regularly REALLY helps keep my anxiety under control. I actually had to take a few months off exercising recently due to an operation, so all I was doing was walking. While walking is absolutely brilliant and stopped me from turning into a complete hot mess, I personally need higher intensity exercise to keep me on the straight and narrow. Before my operation I was doing HIIT type classes, and while I’d feel great after doing a class, they just weren’t sustainable. I was getting injury after injury, which meant I couldn’t be consistent with it. I’d get into it for a few weeks, then get injured and have to take a couple of weeks off, and so it went on.
Around two months ago, when I felt I was fully recovered and my body was strong enough, feeling a little bit down about the weight i’d put on, after much ruminating (which is my forte) and researching pros and cons, I decided to take up CrossFit.
Guess what – I LOVE it! The coach at my local ‘box’ (as CrossFit gyms are referred to – don’t get me started on all the terminology and acronyms – WOD?! EMOM!? I could go on), is great, and I’ve been going four times a week, which is a first for me – I used to manage 2 / 3 at my old gym.
A lot of CrossFit is based around weight training, which I’ve not done much of before and I am already seeing results – both physical and mental. My mood is SO much better. I go in the morning before work to get it out of the way (and to stop from talking myself out of going), and by the time I’m done and i’m walking back to my car bright red and covered in sweat, I feel a lot calmer and my anxiety level has gone from about a 7/10 down to around a 4…. For anyone who’s not lifting weights – do it! You’ll feel like a total bad-ass and you’ll start seeing progress really fast, which will keep you motivated to carry on.
At times when I’m feeling particularly stressed and worried, say if something I’ve got to do at work is really playing on my mind, I have to go for a job interview, or need to have a difficult conversation with someone, I will take five minutes out of my day to just be on my own. I will often go for a short walk, or just sit and breathe and just let that monkey mind settle. The best way I can describe it is like your mind is one of those snow-globes when it’s been shaken up, and by taking a bit of time out to yourself it’s like you’ve set the snow-globe down and the flakes are beginning to settle at the bottom.
OK – often, the last thing I want to do is spend time with people. I’m a classic introvert, social situations exhaust me and I just want to retreat into my shell. However, if I can summon up the energy, I find that talking to friends / family or even that nice barista in the local coffee shop will get me out of my own head for a little while and help put things into perspective. I love getting into deep conversation and prefer this to small talk, which I find a struggle. For me it’s really therapeutic, especially if you’ve had a few laughs with that person too, but deep conversations require time and everyone, it seems, is fairly time-poor these days. However, lots of little interactions through the day are ok too, and are certainly better than nothing. Interacting on text or social media doesn’t top me up like a face-to-face interaction does, and I hate those self service tills at the supermarket (even though I do use them…. most of the time – *a-hem*).
A good clear out
I think i’m going to do a separate post on this at some point as I’ve recently been embracing the concept of Minimalism, after watching the documentary ‘Minimalism – A Documentary About the Important Things’ (which is on Netflix – yay!) I think the message that they advocate of ‘love people and use things, because the opposite never works’ is really important. We’re a society obsessed with buying ‘stuff’ and advertisers are trying to compete for your attention and convince you that their ‘stuff’ will bring you happiness / success / sex / status etc etc, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, wherever you go, whatever you do. You simply cannot avoid it!
I’ve never been much of a hoarder and having done quite a few moves in the last ten years I’ve had my fair share of clear outs, but after watching the doc and listening to some of the Minimalists podcasts, I’ve been offloading like there’s no tomorrow! The charity shops of Brighton & Hove have recently been lucky enough to receive bag loads of my old shit! I’m now a regular E-bay-er too *smug face*.
Even though I often put it off, I find that having a good tidy up or clear out extremely calming. For me, being surrounded by lots of stuff is stressful and actually clutters my mind. My one bedroom flat certainly isn’t bare by any means, but I’m slowly starting to strip it down to only the things which provide me with real value, or bring joy.
So, you know those old pumps from 2009 that always give you blisters which are sitting in your shoe rack? You don’t need ’em! Get rid – it’s the best feeling, trust me!
Until next time.