Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Limiting my Anxiety

I have been trying to limit the amount of anxiety I have to deal with, unfortunately medication doesn't take care of it 100% so there are days when my anxiety will be really bad, I am trying to limit those days so that they occur very rarely and when they do my anxiety isn't as bad.

My main way is in my diet, I am currently doing a high protein diet as recommended by a family friend who is a naturopath (apparently it helps stabilise the chemicals in your brain). This is what a usual day for me in terms of food looks like:
  • Breakfast - one hard boiled egg with salt and pepper.
  • Lunch (I eat lunch early at around 11.30 before work) - carrot and cucumber sticks with either hummus or avocado dip (you can buy single serving sizes of dips in packs of 3 in coles which are great to have on hand) and some crackers.
  • Snack - These vary for me during the day and it just depends on how I am feeling. At the moment I switch between the following: m&ms/malteesers/chocolate - I know this isn't the healthiest snack but I crave chocolate sometimes and when I do I bring a small container of it to work (rather than a whole block or bag), sometimes I won't eat the whole container and sometimes I do it just varies. Bujah which is an indian snack food made up of crunchy chickpea noodles, nuts, dried peas and spices which is high in protein and tastes great. Nuts almonds and cashews with some dark chocolate chips thrown in.
  • Dinner - whatever the family is eating just with less carbs.
  • Drinks - I aim to go through a 700ml bottle of water at work, I will also drink straight carbonated mineral water or a mix of diet lemonade and mineral water (either half and half or 3 parts mineral water to 1 parts lemonade).
  • Supplements - I take 4 fish oil capsules at night along with my allergy medication and anxiety medication.
I avoid caffeine throughout the week so that means no diet coke, if I do have a diet coke its on a Saturday and that's its for the week. I have noticed a major difference by making the above differences to my diet. Of course there are some days when I won't eat well at all and that's ok, I aim to stick to the diet the bulk of the time but still treat myself. The other day I had pastacup for lunch at work as I was working a full day and a group of us decided to order it, the other week when I was having a tough week I ate (a lot of) chocolate but I make sure to go back to the diet afterwards. I love my sweets and chocolate is definitely my weakness, of course being dairy intolerant means that I have to be careful and not go overboard.

Sleep is another big thing that I have to be aware of. I aim to get 8-10 hours of sleep a night depending on how busy the next day is and how I am feeling. There are nights when I will crash and other nights when I won't need as much sleep. I also sleep with my blinds open and try to get up with the sun as I'm not forcing myself awake with an alarm. I rarely set my alarm and when I do its because I need to get up that much earlier than usual.

Lately I have found myself saying no to various social activities just because by the time I come home from work and unwind I just don't want to face people. Not having a license also makes catching up harder but at the same time it gives me an excuse not go to things if I feel like I can't handle it. I have opted out of doing Sunday School this term as by the time it gets to the weekend I crash and need to rebuild my energy levels. I also haven't been doing bible study this term as even when I had my license I was only getting there once every 2-3 weeks as I got home from work at 5.30 and had to leave the house by 6.15/6.30pm to get there on time and then by the time I got home, unwound and went to sleep it was 10.30/11.00pm. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed bible study just I always felt so rushed on a Wednesday night. I hate saying no to people and always feel like I let people down when I do but sometimes you need to do what is right for you regardless of what people think. Saturdays I pretty much crash and just do something with the family and Sundays are of course church.

Its strange but not having my license has made my work trip much more relaxed, I do have to leave home earlier (10.30am) but the transport is so easy and I can just relax and read a book and not focus on anything major. I also get to work 45 minutes early so I can chill out in the staff room for a bit and eat my lunch or do some window shopping if I please. I mean not having a license is tough but my focus at work has improved a lot and my head is a lot more clearer now which helps. My car goes in for an exhaust system replacement this Tuesday which needed to happen at some point so this makes it easier on everyone with me not needing a car and having to major car swap around. My Mum's car also needs some work done on it in terms of panel beating so the aim will be to book it in and then she can drive my car while that is happening.
I do miss driving and I find myself stressing about the practical test - What if I fail it? What if I get a driving instructor who decides to make the test extra hard as I lost my license? What if I can't book in a test until 2017? Yes I have an extremely over active train of thought so if you guys could please pray about the above that would be great.

I hate exercise but once again not having a license is extremely handy as I have to walk to the bus stop most days and when I get to the train station I take the stairs rather than the escalators. Its not much in terms of exercise but its better than nothing and I hope to increase it eventually.

ReachOut Youth Ambassador work is kept to online and things I can do from home. I would love to do more with ReachOut, but at the moment its just not possible. I do have dreams for some events but at this stage they are only dreams and won't be made realities until next year (hopefully!). I have been indirectly involved with events and created a colouring in page for a competition (which some of the other YAs ran for Metal Health week at a local uni) which was fun and its an image than can be used again. I love ReachOut and being a YA gives me confidence. I also love knowing that I am changing how people think about Mental Illness.

I am also planning on increasing my psychologist appointments to more frequently (once every 3 weeks instead of once every 4 weeks) as I honestly feel like at the moment I just need that extra support. The past few months have been hard and have taken a large toll on my mental health and increasing my appointments will help me both long and short term.

I find that when you have anxiety you have to be so much more aware of the little things. I am always looking at my lifestyle and working out ways to manage my anxiety without doing anything major (as new situations only make my anxiety worse!). I started by always having an egg for breakfast and reducing my carbs then moved onto reducing my diet coke and eventually having high in protein lunches and snacks. I refuse to let my anxiety rule my life so I am willing to do anything to prevent this, all in all by doing the above my life has been easier.

No comments: