How does anxiety show up for you? Is it that Sunday evening dread and sense of overwhelm at the week ahead? A tightening in your chest and a lump in your throat? Maybe your anxiety taps you on the arm in the middle of the night in the form of insomnia and a restless mind.
If you're treading a troubled track, here are a few signposts to guide you home.
Go for a woodland walk
A good way to process difficult emotions is to actually move through them. An hour spent walking somewhere wild and windy often resets my mood. The sense of space can release the claustrophobic feelings associated with anxiety and being in nature can make us feel grounded. It’s sometimes nice to take a fold-up bag to collect twigs, leaves, wildflowers and other natural treasures to brighten up a shelf or to use as part of a craft project.
Make soups and stews
Soups or stews often make us feel cosy because we hold memories of being given them as children when we were ill. The wholesome, restorative qualities of soups and stews remind us of being taken care of and the meditative repetitive actions of chopping and stirring can quieten an anxious mind.
One of life’s simple pleasures is a bowl of soup and crusty bread to warm you up after a windy walk. Ten minutes of peeling, chopping and frying off the veg before transferring to a slow cooker and sloshing in some stock means that you will be rewarded with a bowl of nourishing soup on your return.
Quieten the mind’s chatter by absorbing yourself in a craft project. It doesn’t really matter what it is or more importantly, whether you think you’re any good at arts and crafts – the distraction is in the doing. Too many of us deny ourselves the simple joy of creativity because somebody told us we’re not artistic. The creative journey, rather than the outcome is what matters.
There’s a philosophy that we can’t attract positivity into our lives unless we make space for it. Clear out your cupboards and drawers to welcome someone special to share your life or make space in your calendar for old friends and new experiences. If you’re aching to move home, look at the belongings around you and ask yourself if you’d like to take them to your new home. If the answer is ‘no’, then pack them up and recycle them or donate them.
Most importantly, assess the mental baggage you’re storing. Climb up into the attic of your mind with a trusty torch and open up those boxes lurking in the shadows. Sift through the situations and memories you’ve boxed away and keep only what serves you well. You can’t welcome your future if you’re hanging on to the past.
Find the pockets of cosy
“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen
Even during dark times of sadness and grief, there are natural points in your day where you can take comfort. I like to call these moments ‘pockets of cosy.’ On those vulnerable days when you just need a hug, try wrapping yourself in a chunky scarf or give your mind a rest for five minutes with a cup of tea by the window. At the end of a difficult, tense day, flick on the fairy lights, pull out that patchwork blanket and get lost in a book.
I hope these simple acts of kindness soothe your mind and nourish your soul. Carry on the conversation over on Instagram @brambleandfoxshopuk