5 Things I do because of anxiety.

I’m sat here marveling at my own stupidity, my heart is beating ten to the dozen just at the thought of writing this blog post. I recently thought I’d taken a big leap forwards in terms of my battle with anxiety, I’ve managed to open up to a couple of my friends (sort of) and I’ve been trying my hardest to not close myself off from everybody. Alas, a measly little blog post that nobody will read has me with my heart in my throat.

Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly well, I take some time out to evaluate anxiety and consider what it does to me. It’s not something that I can do when I’m fully engorged in the moment but I do tend to find it refreshing to look back at those times and consider how anxiety impacts my behaviour.

  1. I get anxious at the thought of being anxious – quite a silly notion when you think about it, but I do find myself getting into a viscous cycle of making myself anxious just thinking about what I’ll do or not do when I am anxious.
  2. I back out of any social situation – I’m the ultimate flake when it comes to going out and seeing my friends. I like to think of myself as a homebody, but I do actually enjoy seeing people when I do go out. It’s just the thought of actually going out that fills me with dread. There’s only so many times you can say no to plans before you no longer get the invite, it’s good in the way that I no longer have to think of a shabby excuse as to why I’m busy (apparently I can’t get the words ‘I don’t think I can because of my anxiety’ out of my pie hole) but it terrifies me that people think I’m a shit person in general.
  3. I get scared easily – this one isn’t too serious and I do actually see the funny side of it; but I get scared and scream at things really easily. I only realised this was due to anxiety when my doctor explained that my anxiety also causes me to be on edge, my fight or flight mode constantly engaged. My fiance tried to announce when he was coming into the room and moved around loudly so I wouldn’t scream bloody murder when he ‘creeped’ up on me but not even that worked.
  4. I always wait for something horrible to happen – even when the day could not be going any better I always have a niggling thought in the back of my mind that something will go wrong. Just driving home from work after a pretty good day? Don’t worry, you’ll probably pass out at the wheel, crash and die. That fear is actually a pretty regularly occurring one for me, whenever I’m a passenger I have to go over how I would stop the car in the safest way possible if the person driving suddenly became unconscious.
  5. I pick and itch my skin compulsively – and boy do I get angry when somebody points this out to me and gets me to stop. It’s compulsive in the way that I don’t know I’m doing it and it’s repulsive in the way that I keep going until I eventually bleed. But bleeding means scabbing, which means something to pick at, with the cycle eventually leading to scarring.

I don’t really know where I was going with this blog post or how I expected to end it but, bye.

Blogmas Day 5 – Low Syn Party Food

Party season is officially upon us, and for people who are trying their best to not chub up for Chrimbo the buffet is a Christmas killer.

Below are some healthier options that will help you to resist the crips and choccy:

Slimming World Quiche, Chicken Tikka Drumsticks, Old School Cheese & Pickled Onion, Veg Sticks & Dips, Mini Chicken Fajitas.

 

 

 

 

 

Things that people with social anxiety will understand.

You may be fortunate enough to have never experienced social anxiety, however it is a lot more common then you might think. This list may help you to recognise some signs of social anxiety that either you or somebody you know may be experiencing:

  1. You’re always forced or encouraged to attend a party.
  2. You’re constantly tired due to you’re fight or flight mode being engaged all the time.
  3. You may experience physical symptoms such as an increased heart rate, sweating and shortness of breath.
  4. You panic when the phone rings, whatever time of day – even if you’re expecting a phone call.
  5. You second guess yourself over most things and end up convincing yourself that you’re wrong.

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CBT isn’t the answer…sometimes.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, most commonly known as CBT, is often deemed as the holy grail solution for things like depression and anxiety. And whilst I’m sure it works for a lot of people, there is not a one size fits all solution for issues that are personal to each individual.

Techniques such as relaxation and meditation can do wonders for some, but seem completely ridiculous to others. For example, I personally found imagining myself sat on a beach whilst listening to whale songs did not help my anxiety in any way shape or form.

It’s not your fault and if you feel that CBT sessions are not helping then make sure you let your doctor or therapist know. So, if you’re worrying that CBT may not or is not working for you, then don’t panic – there are many other things that you can try.

 

Things you shouldn’t do before bed

If you’re not sleeping soundly then there may be a couple of things you should stop doing before your head hits the pillow:

  1. Use your phone and/or tablet (anything that gives off a blue hue)
  2. Consume caffeine of any sort (from eating chocolate to taking some cold medication)
  3. Eat a lot of food (nothing worse then trying to sleep when you have a full, uncomfortable tummy)
  4. Drink lots of water (unless you want to wake up during the night to go to the toilet)
  5. Do anything exciting (don’t stimulate your brain before bed, you’re meant to count sheep for a reason!)

Barometric Headaches

When I wake up feeling groggy with a pulsing migraine, the chances are that it’s rained or it’s going to rain.

I thought it was only me and Karen from Mean Girls who had this sixth sense for predicting weather, however after a classic ‘Google your symptoms’ session it seems pretty common.

As many as 70 percent of people that suffer from migraines experience attacks as the barometric pressure drops before it rains – who knew!? If you suffer from migraines and think it may be due to barometric pressure, then start a migraine diary to see if your agony coincides with the weather.

Unfortunately, like most migraine triggers, there’s not much you can do when one strikes apart from dosing yourself up on pain medication and waiting it out in a dark room. Unless you’re feeling drastic and fancy moving to a different continent.

The main point of this is to say that if you think your body reacts to the weather, you’re not crazy – it probably does!

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Things that make me anxious

Phones – answering calls, waiting for replies and not having signal.

New People – awwwwwwwkward.

Shopping – too busy, too hot and never finding what you want.

Being Late – rather be an hour early than a minute late.

Unplanned Things – just not gonna happen.

Chewing – can’t handle the sound of crunching or chamming.

Surprises – again, no thank you.

Odd Numbers – if volumes aren’t set on even numbers then what’s the point in listening.

Loud Noises – very easily scared and forever on edge.

Mess – cannot relax when in a messy room or when there’s washing up to do.

After actually writing this down, the things that make me anxious sound ridiculous. However, I’m sure there are more people out there who will agree with me!

Tips for Curly Hair

Don’t use shampoo.

Only use conditioner when you wash your hair – it does miraculous things to curls and leaves them looking soft and bouncy. I tend to cleanse my hair with shampoo once a week but only use condition for washes in between. Your hair may feel greasy when you first start to do this, however it’ll soon balance itself out so give it time!

Don’t brush your hair.

If you try to brush or comb dry curly hair you’ll end up with a frizzy mess, and even worse you could end up breaking your hair. I finger-comb my curls whilst I condition them in the shower, a wide tooth comb would have the same effect.

Don’t use a hairdryer.

If possible, leave your hair to air dry. If you do find yourself in a rush then make sure you use a diffuser so you don’t look like a troll doll. Diffusers distribute the air flow creating less frizz and more defined curls.

Don’t dry your hair with a towel.

Towels have harsh fibres that can cause frizz by messing with the hairs cuticle, a t-shirt or microfiber towel will dry off your hair without disrupting its natural curl.

Beating the holiday blues

If you find yourself with nothing but mountains of washing and 487 e-mails to look forward to – then the chances are you have the post-holiday blues. One minute you’re moaning about the heat whilst sipping cocktails and the next you’ve crashed back into reality, so how do you get through this post-holiday depression?

Unpack immediately – there’s nothing like living out of your suitcase at home to bring you straight back down to earth. Unpack and put it away ASAP so you don’t have a constant reminder of the hotter days.

Embrace the sadness – give in to the urge to grizzle over your fading tan and your sun bleached hair and then let it go.

Give yourself something to look forward to – make plans, no matter how big or small. You can even go as far as to start researching and booking your next holiday.

Don’t go back to work straight away – if you can, try and return home on a Friday or Saturday so you have a couple of days to ease back into everyday life.

Over share on social media – there’s nothing better then reminiscing about your holidays by rubbing it in other people’s pale, freckle-free faces.

Hayfever Hacks

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Some of you may have been lucky enough to never suffer with hayfever, and some of you may have to face the pollen armageddon year after year and end up looking like the mess you see above.

If, like me, you suffer from hayfever then there are a couple of things you can do to help ease your symptoms. Who knew pollen could make you so miserable?

Vaseline or HayMax

I’m not sure if this happens to everyone, but when I have hayfever my nose runs like a tap. A little smear of Vaseline, or HayMax if you’re feeling fancy, not only soothes your snout – it also acts like a barrier that traps pollen before it enters your nose.

Sunglasses

If worn before symptoms occur, sunglasses may help to prevent that horrible ‘I want to take my eye out and scrub it’ feeling. However, if you’re already in the midst of a pollen attack then sunglasses will at least protect your eyes from your own claws.

Allergy Eye Drops

If you’re not squeamish with eyes then eye drops are a must have. I use Optrex allergy eye drops to alleviate my red, watery, itchy peepers almost immediately.

Anti-Histamine Tablets

As soon as one pollen particle hits the back of your throat, you’re in for a treat. Sunglasses and Vaseline do nothing towards helping that itchy feeling that feels like only a pipe cleaner can cure. My throat and ears are itching now just thinking about it! I’ve found the only remedy for this hayfever symptom is anti-histamine tablets. Allergy tablets with loratadine as the main ingredient work best for me, but there are many different types to try.

Are there any other holy grail items that I need to try?

Review: Couch to 5k

To say I’m not in to fitness and exercise would be a huge understatement. The only form of PE I enjoyed was when ‘fat group’ got to play rounder’s or dodgeball – so the thought of me running 5k was, and still is, laughable. However, after foolishly downloading the Couch to 5k app (after deciding on a whim that I’d done enough of the couch portion) I became a slow jogging tomato, three times a week.

So if you’re also toying with the idea of starting to run, here’s what you should know before you start the Couch to 5k program.

Pros:

  • It gently eases you into running (you only run for 60 seconds before you get a break in the first week!)
  • Plans your runs for you
  • Can play your own music through the app – it quietens it when it needs to give you instructions
  • You run and walk and run and walk which is apparently a good way to build up stamina

Cons:

  • It gently eases you into running (first few weeks are pretty easy, giving you false hope that you are in fact an Olympian)
  • I didn’t know it was possible to feel patronised by an app, but couch to 5k manages it week after week
  • No prompts for stretching, only has a 5 minute warm up walk

I have re-started the Couch to 5k programme three times now, and so far I’ve never gotten to the end. I think the main problem is boredom, which may be caused by the fact that I only have 4 songs saved on my phone.

However, I’ve heard about a zombie running app which I think I’m going to try next. I hate being chased so maybe the thought of being pursued by zombies will help to give me nightmares be more encouraged to run.

Slimming World Basics

If you’re thinking of joining a group or starting Slimming World online, I’ve listed the bare basics of what it’s all about.

Free Food is syn-free food that you can eat as much of as you like. Free foods include lean meat, veg, fruit, rice, pasta, eggs and fat-free dairy products. Unlike some diets where carbs are restricted you can fill yourself up on as much pasta, rice and potatoes as you please.

Speed Food are foods that are certain free foods that are meant to speed up your weight loss. They include certain fruits such as melon, peaches and strawberries and also certain vegetables such as asparagus, carrots and green beans.

Healthy Extra A is your daily helping of dairy in order to have some calcium in your diet, it can be anything from 350 ml of skimmed milk to 5 light cheese triangles.

Healthy Extra B, this is the same as the healthy extra A but it ensures you get your fibre. This can be through bread, cereal, nuts and even some types of soup.

Syns are basically treats so include items such as biscuits, ice cream, chocolate and crisps. Different people have different daily allowances, but I think the average is usually 15 syns per day. Just as an example, 15 syns can get you 10 chocolate fingers or 2.5 Curly Wurly’s or 3 bags of Pom Bear crisps.

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