November 3, 2016

Five Things: Methods of Dealing with Anxiety

My struggle with anxiety and depression are not things I want to focus on on here, simply because I started this blog to be a positive outlet, and a place where I can come to destress and look back on the good things that are going on in the midst of the bad (like the Cubs winning the World Series!!!!)
Although I have nights where my anxiety gets severely out of hand, or my mind begins to wander to horrible things, I thought I would take a positive spin and write about five things I do when my mental health gets to be a bit too much.

1. Crochet
Crocheting is the single most soothing thing that I can do when my mental health is on the fritz. Some nights, all it takes is a ball of yarn and a pattern to get my mind off of the negativity at hand, and breathe. Currently, I'm working on a beanie, and I find myself not checking my phone until I've finished an entire row, and I've even found myself controlling my breathing with each stitch, which sounds a little bizarre, but it's very nice.

2. Fantasy Movies
Sometimes, I need to disconnect from the world I am in, and unplug for a few hours. In these times, I normally reach for Pan's Labyrinth, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter because at about three hours a film they take my mind into an entirely fictional world and it makes the anxiety subside. Also, when I watch what the protagonist have to deal with in the film, the things I have to deal with don't seem so bad. It's nice to take two hours to step back and calm down.

3. Going Outside
Two of my favorite places to visit are forest preserves and cemeteries, and there are a plethora of each near my house. I love going out with my camera, taking photos, and listening to music while discovering the local treasures in my neighborhood. Sometimes it's nice to just get out for a bike ride or a walk. I took my bio the other night to the Dollar Tree, but I chose one further away from my house, and the weather was perfect. It started to drizzle, and I started laughing because I was still having such a nice time alone, and unplugged, and outdoors.

4. Making Lists
About a month ago, I bought a second dry erase board for my room that hangs above my bed, and I didn't know what to use it for. If I find myself buried in things to do, laundry, homework, etc., I started writing my To Do list on the board. It's really nice to be able to wipe things off, and not have an ambiguous list of things that need to get done hovering in your head, rather it's all laid out, and I can prioritize, or multitask. I find it very helpful, even on the days that I really don't want to leave my bed (which has been quite often lately.)

5. Get Creative
As I wrote in my last post, I have been spending a lot less time on my laptop (not good for my grades) and a lot more time crafting (very good for right brain.) Whenever I'm doing something where I get to be creative, I get engulfed in that project and I absolutely thrive, forgetting about whatever was clouding my mind. Recently, I have been writing a lot more, and learning how to use my Canon AE-1, which are both very exciting because poetry and disposable photos are two of my current favorite things. I've just spent a lot more time doing these things to keep myself distracted from the things that cause my anxiety, and although it doesn't entirely eliminate it, it makes it easier to deal with.

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