How to push anxious thoughts out and comforting thoughts in

Anyone who has anxiety knows how difficult it is to stop worrying. We have thoughts that hit us with full force no matter how happy we were minutes before!

This is something I struggled with for many years and I never realized how debilitating it really was until I received treatment for my anxiety. Apparently a side effect of my medication was anxiety! Meds cannot always be the be all end all when it comes to mental health but they definitely help and are an effective treatment plan. But even if we do take medication for anxiety, it doesn’t mean the anxious thoughts and obsessive worrying goes away completely.

Here are some ways to combat anxious thoughts.

  1. Validate your anxiety/anxious thought.

Validate yourself. Tell yourself that your feelings count and own what you feel. If you struggle with this, talk to someone you trust who can validate what you’re feeling. I find it helpful when I write it down.

2. Determine why you are feeling what you’re feeling.

It’s good to break your anxiety down and determine the root cause.

3. Identify solutions that will help ease your anxiety.

There is always a solution. Try to find one that will work for you.

4. Try to step out of your comfort zone (if you can).

Compromising is good. I find it’s good to push yourself a little bit so you can try and overcome what is causing you anxiety, but know your limits.

5. Be patient and kind to yourself.

Don’t beat yourself up, we all experience anxiety and worries. You can’t expect to have everything figured out. Time will make it all easier, just be patient.

  6. Tell yourself “I will get through this!”

You can do this. Believe in yourself and know other people have been where you are.

7. See a therapist.

If you are really struggling counselling goes a long way. Therapists can give you coping skills so you can recognize and combat anxious thoughts.

I hope these seven tips will bring you good vibes and luck when you face your anxiety.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to have support and professional help through these difficult times. We all have been there, so don’t be hard on yourself or get frustrated with your anxiety. You will figure it out. It took me awhile to get through my anxiety and find what works for me, but I finally found the right coping skills for me.

Let’s embrace our worries so we can push them out. We can’t get better if we ignore the problem. Mental health cannot be ignored. We need to bring awareness and mindfulness to ourselves when we experience anxiety, it’s the only way we can learn to let go.

 

 

 

How I Conquered Mental Illness to Succeed in University and How You Can Too

rtor-org-logo

I have been featured as guest author on Road To Recover.org. RtoR offers guidance, support and information on the best practices and providers in recovery-oriented mental health care.

I wrote about my journey with mental illness and how I persevered and completed my university degree.

You can read the article here: https://www.rtor.org/2018/10/11/how-i-conquered-mental-illness/

I have been battling mental illness for over 10 years now, but I have never let it stop me  from following my dreams and accomplishing my goals . Having Borderline Personality Disorder may sound scary to people, but the disorder doesn’t mean I have split personality or that I’m unstable or dangerous. It just means I feel emotions more intensely than the average person. Sometimes it’s hard if I go through a sad time but on the flip side I have very high compassion/empathy. There is always ups and downs with every physical or mental ailment. If you find yourself questioning someone because of their illness, take the time to research and learn more. That is the only way to fight stigma.

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

Daily Routine Life Hacks for those who suffer from anxiety and depression

Anyone who struggles with mental illness knows how hard it can be to complete regular daily activities. Life is chaotic with so many things to do and not enough time to do them. Balancing Work/school, eating healthy, exercising, chores, errands, spending time with family and friends and self-care seems IMPOSSIBLE at times.

What I really want to do is nothing at all most days. I want to relax, let my emotions calm down and be able to enjoy my day instead of constantly running around. Sometimes I get in a funk and want to do nothing for days. Then I feel guilty for being so lazy and unproductive. There is no winning!

The other day I did some research on laziness and how someone can overcome such a state, as it’s getting in the way of my success. It was amazing what I learned. I read an article that suggested assessing your situation and finding the true cause of your laziness. The common reasons people are often lazy are because they are feeling tired, overwhelmed, afraid, uninspired or stuck. When I read this I realized I was often feeling all 5 at some point during my day. With this new insight I looked deeper and figured out what specifically in my daily routine was making me feel this way. It was amazing how many little things would stress me or make me unmotivated and after chatting with my husband I realized the solution was to make my day as easy and stress free as possible so I could accomplish normal everyday tasks.

Here are some daily routine hacks that I have incorporated into my week so I can feel well emotionally and be productive:

  1. Establish a routine and goals for each day, week and month.

I’ve heard many mental health professionals say establishing a routine is key. In the past I have never been able to schedule my day down to the minute as I’m a bit of a free spirit. It stresses me if I don’t follow a schedule exactly due to my perfectionism. But I’ve realized how to schedule my day so it doesn’t feel so strict but also makes me productive and calm.

I figured out my wake and sleep times first and then wrote down my goals for each day with no specific times set. That way I can have flexibility.

I found an amazing site with multiple free printouts for day, week, month and year schedules and to-do lists. It was fun to find one that worked for me!

 

https://scatteredsquirrel.com/printable/personal-planner/

 

  1. Meal prep as much as you can.

 

I absolutely hate cooking during the week because I’m so exhausted after my work day. Lately I have cooked a few things on a Sunday so I have them for the week and I can grab and go as I please.

 

Lately I’ve been cooking ground turkey with taco seasoning and having taco salads for lunch. It’s super easy and delicious! I’ll often cook chicken on the weekend and have it for a couple days along with some veggies for dinner. It doesn’t take much to have healthy meals, just plan ahead and have easy things on hand like fruit, veggies, yogourt and cereal.

 

I usually never have time for breakfast so I started buying high protein Boost drinks. I feel like an 80 year of women at times but it really helps me to get my nutrition in the morning and it keeps my appetite at bay.

 

  1. Have a small bag of your staple cosmetics that you can quickly grab in the morning.

 

I have a huge makeup and hair cupboard but I typically don’t use evertyhing for a typical work day. I keep a bag with some staples like a hair brush, elastic, mascara, foundation, eyebrow pencil and blush and everything in the bag is all I use to get ready (plus toothbrush). It makes me WAY less stressed as I don’t have to go rummaging through my cupboard looking for things.

 

Another tip: do your hair and makeup but don’t feel like you have to look like a model everyday. I used to go all out but it would overwhelm me in the mornings and then I would end up wearing no makeup which would make me feel less confident. And confidence really helps my mood.

 

I learned to minimize my work day makeup. I wear a few products that make me feel and look professional and leave my other products for when I have a special outing and more time to apply it.

Please note though it is totally fine if you don’t want to wear makeup. To quote Hailee Steinfeld – “You feel greatest when you feel like a damn queen”. If you feel great and confident without makeup that’s great. YOU DO YOU!

  1. On Sunday, pack 5 days of work-out clothes and put them in your gym bag/car.

 

I NEVER want to exercise after a long day at work. I always want to go home and veg. However exercise is really important for those who struggle with mental health as it improves mood and reduces stress. When I have my clothes in my car for the week, there is no effort and no excuses on my part. I can go to the gym before I get home and the laziness sets in. It’s made a huge difference having my clothes on hand instead of having to go home, get dressed and go out again. HUGE HACK!

  1. Choose your outfit the night before.

 

Everyone says this but it’s totally the best way to go. When I have my clothes picked out the night before for the next day it’s amazing how my stress lowers.

FINAL NOTE

Everyone has to figure out what works for them. I’m still figuring it out every day but I thought I would share some insight in case it helps others!

 

If anyone has any more insight into daily hacks please share in the comments section!

 

Thank you for reading! All the best!

 

MEgan

Overthinking Anyone?

Do you ever find yourself awake at 3 AM thinking about that embarrassing thing you did ten years ago? If no, you may find this ridiculous but if you’re someone like me you’ll understand the torment! I constantly suffer from obsessive thinking/worrying and I have to say it is exhausting!

I’m not sure why I worry the way I do. I’m always so concerned how I come across to others (so I guess I care too much about what people think), but it’s not that I have no confidence in myself I just hate when my character is judged. I like to think I’m a nice person that can do no wrong, but of course this isn’t true for anyone. We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of, whether it was simply embarrassing or just a mistake, but for me it stays with me.

I remember one time I was on a school trip to Prague. I didn’t know anyone on the trip but I always wanted to go to Prague so I decided to go by myself and meet new people. It ended up being the worst trip ever! I did love the city and the things we did but the people were just terrible and I felt very stressed around them. Whenever I would talk to someone they would pretty much ignore me and hang out with their other friends which I found odd as most people from our school were very inclusive. Not only was I ignored but I was teased for making conversations. They said that Canadians made them uncomfortable because we talk too much. In my defense (in this particular instance) we were at a restaurant at a table for two hours. Was I supposed to sit across from them and be silent the whole time? I was just trying to be friendly by asking them where they were from and what courses they were taking in school. I don’t think that’s being that nosy! I felt so humiliated! To top it all off our bus got in an accident on the way back from Prague. The bus drive went on the wrong exit and decided to back up on the freeway instead of turning around at the next exit! A car ended up hitting us. We were all okay but it held us up for three hours and we almost missed our ferry! The icing on the cake was when I tried to get some sleep. I was trying to lay down across two bus seats and felt the seatbelt tighten on my stomach. Due to the tight belt I let out a fart that was definitely heard by some of my bus mates and I almost died.

This trip was three years ago and I still think about how embarrassing it was! I am never going to see those people again and I feel so stressed thinking about it. Now that is definitely ridiculous.

Lately though whenever I find myself going down the overthinking road of doom I try these tips to help calm my worried state.

  1. Talk it out, or write it out. It helps me to vocalize my feeling so it doesn’t consume me. If you don’t want to tell anyone you can always write in a journal to clear your head. It always does the trick.
  1. Self-assure. Tell yourself “it’s okay what happened”. Learn from it next time if it was a mistake or if it was embarrassing find a way to laugh about it and move on. If you cannot self-assure trying getting reassurance from someone else but don’t keep rehashing.
  1. Distract yourself. When you start to have those thoughts try to think of something else or do an activity that de-stresses you. Working out or reading always helps me.
  1. Find common humanity. Remember everyone has these moments in life! You are not alone!

I can’t stress (lol), the last one more. We all will commit stupid embarrassing things sometimes. It’s going to happen, it’s part of life. But we have to learn to be kind to ourselves and move on from them or else we will not be able to lead a happy life. Only you have the power to fight these feelings and see yourself for who you really are, a good person. If you have done bad things, you can always start fresh and make amends. It’s never too late. So let’s stop obsessing and start de-stressing!

Winning The Mental Health Lottery

Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, right? I know I do! Just imagine all the things you could do in life if you won that 55 million jackpot? If you’re reading this, like me, you are probably thinking about all the things you would want to do. Pay off debts, buy amazing properties and maybe even quit your job and travel the world. The sky is the limit! Of course money can’t truly buy happiness but it certainly can change your life… that is if you buy a ticket. Many people say – “what’s the point? I could buy tickets my whole life and never win”. Well you certainly won’t win if you don’t purchase a ticket at all! It’s funny how the brain works.

This concept faces me every day but it certainly isn’t just lottery tickets making feeling skeptical. From time to time I get down, I feel worried and stressed and sometimes for no reason at all. What makes me feel good about it is that others too go through this, but the thing that makes me feel hopeless is, what do I do to get over this hump? I’ve done the late night stress eating, the sleeping for hours, not connecting with friends and family, feeling dread for the next day not knowing what awaits. Where did it get me do you think? Continuing these detrimental cycles? No where. So what’s next do you think?

Mental health is a tricky thing. Anyone going through it knows how awful it feels to be in limbo land of emotions where there is no light at the end of the tunnel. I felt that way for awhile, but then one day I became fed up and said no more, what can I do to help myself? And from that moment on I did everthing in my power to feel the best I could and figure out the best coping skills that worked for me when I did feel like times were tough again. But the key word was ME. I read books, I saw professionals, I found support, but it was MY determination and perseverance that got me there. I always look for new things that are out there it never ends, and if you’re reading this now you can seize this day right now and do something anything that will help yourself get over this rut. The struggle is still there but it’s comforting to know you are doing everything you can to make yourself better.

If you’re lying in the dark with the blinds closed, open those curtains and let the sun shine in. Start taking advice your doctor and read that book on mindfulness. Call your local gym and set up an appointment with a trainer to have a workout plan. Play tennis, go swimming, stroll the mall, do an activity, talk to your friends and family again. Even if it’s the last thing you want to do, do it. It’s what you need to do.

If you catch yourself thinking “what’s the point of doing anything?  I probably will always feel like this” than you are most likely going to continue feeling that way. We need to push ourselves and find what works for us. Accept what you feel, know it’s not permanent and ask yourself “what do I want to feel right now” and go from there.

We won’t always have the answers as to why we feel the way we do or how to stop it, but we still need to live our lives. Once I found determination and perseverance I won the lottery. It’s time for us all to buy that ticket.

I have anxiety for no reason

Every day you hear about crazy stories in the news. Something heart breaking about a family losing a loved one in a tragic accident, or a poor family losing everything they had because of warfare. It’s hard to believe the stories I hear sometimes. It almost makes me feel like my problems are insignificant; realizing I haven’t really struggled in comparison to others. It’s definitely true.  I was lucky to grow up to a middle class family, two older sisters, parents who have been together for 35 years that never drank, did drugs or threw me out on the street. I had many opportunities most didn’t, like education, chance to travel, meet new people and I was lucky to come out of those opportunities having low debt, successful relationships and career, as well as memories to last a lifetime. On top of that I live in a safe secure country.  Therefore, what could I possibly ever complain about?

I always felt guilty for experiencing depression and anxiety because there was really no cause or reason as to why I was feeling that way. It was frustrating to not have any answers as to why.  After a while I had to realize that mental illness doesn’t have to have a reason to be present. It will show up unexpectantly and the only thing we can do is accept it and find a solution for ourselves.  Everyone has their own problems and is affected by mental illness differently. Therefore we all need treatment plans that fit us individually. We can’t feel guilty for our feelings, we just have to take charge and understand we are all human and that we all will go through ups and downs no matter if you come from poverty or prosperity. What will help us overcome mental health problems is by seizing the day and finding a solution that works for us. It’s important to understand that there are others out there who struggle. Having compassion for others is definitely very important, but we also need to have compassion for ourselves. Feel fortunate for what you have and move forward for a better you and a better life. It’s all about perspective.