3 Ways to combat anxiety and depression in the moment 💪🧠
Hello hello 👋 Today I thought I’d talk about what mental health really is.
First of all, just like physical health, mental health is something we all have. It has ups and downs and depending on where on that spectrum we are, our mental health affects how we operate at work and at home.
When we're challenged with a mental illness, everyday tasks can quickly become impossible to do.
I've suffered the effects of mental illness, including anxiety and depression, at varying times in my career, so today I'll share three ways to combat these immediate symptoms.
Identify that you’re feeling something 🤔
The first step to fixing a problem is admitting there is one. You may notice fatigue, lack of focus and an overall sense of dread or anger. You may notice yourself getting short with people at work and at home, or not be in the mood to job hunt (or do anything, for that matter.)
Take 15 minutes to yourself and start to write down what you think might be the triggers for your behaviour and put specific feelings to them. Sad, angry, unsure - just free-write, jotting down everything that comes to mind. You may find that as you write, the problems (and possible solutions) start to take shape.
I typically write these thoughts down in the Notes App on my phone and keep them in a specific folder to reference back as needed.
Do 10 push-ups and/or take a 30 minute walk 💪🚶♀️
Can't do 10? Do five. If you need extra support to complete them, you can get down on your knees while holding the plank position.
This is in line with many resources that say regular exercise can help you feel better. The short burst of physical activity feeds endorphins into the system and temporarily takes my mind off what's stressing me out (if only because I'm trying to catch my breath.)
Stepping away from your workspace and getting outside allows you some time to clear your mind and potentially create a little distance between you and your challenges. Again, getting the body moving will help stimulate those happy, little endorphins.
Ground yourself using your senses 🧘♂️
If you're feeling a sudden rush of anxiety and dread, there's an excellent and easy-to-remember exercise you can do that will help ground you, take your mind off the panic and put you back in the moment.
The exercise prompts you to use each of your senses as you count down from the number 5.
5 See - Name five things out loud that you can see with your eyes, like a coffee cup on the table or a plant in the corner of the room
4 Touch - Name four things out loud that you can feel, whether it's the seat you're sitting on or your hands on your legs
3 Hear- Name three things out loud that you can hear, like the traffic outside or ambient music you've got playing
2 Smell - Name two things out loud that you can smell, perhaps your deodorant, or a scent that's wafting from the kitchen
1 Taste - Name one thing out loud that you can taste. Maybe your breath from when you brushed your teeth, or something you had for lunch
Long-term, I've been using meditation as a way to better keep my mental health in-check and it's been incredibly transformative.
You don't have to be an expert to start a meditation practice and you can get into it at your own pace - I recommend using the free trial of the Calm App if you're interested in getting into it.
Bonus: Be kind to yourself for feeling this way 💗
Whatever it is you are feeling, please know that it's normal. You will get past it and you are not alone.
In the moment you may feel like nothing is going your way and it'll never get better, but I can assure you that it most certainly does - especially when you give yourself the compassion and acknowledgement you need.
If you know someone who may need to hear some of these tips, forward this to them.
Wishing you a super week ahead. If you have any additional tips on how to combat struggling mental health, I've love to hear them!