The New Year can heighten all kinds of emotions, so what better time to be talking about mental health than now! Thank you to our partner ReachOut Australia, who have partnered with us for our New Year, Same You campaign. For the month of January, we will be donating 10% of all of our revenue to ReachOut Australia, so don’t forget to pick up your usual goodies and support this great cause.
So why start this campaign off talking about anxiety? Did you know it is one of the most commonly experienced mental health conditions? On average, one in four people, one in three women and one in ﬁve men, will experience anxiety at some stage in their life.
So how do you know if this is you? What are the signs you can look out for?
When I was a kid I was labelled as “nervous”. I was scared to be left home alone, worried I was going to be caught up in a car accident and constantly having nightmares. A pretty typical generalised anxiety disorder that took me until twenty one years of age to actually diagnose properly.
Are you some that often feels scared, worried, ‘on edge’ or nervous? Do you often worry that something bad will happen? Do you have difficulty concentrating because of fear or worry? Do you avoid doing things because of anxiety?
If this sounds anything like you then I definitely encourage you to read on!!!
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia and many people experience anxiety to some degree! ReachOut Australia defines anxiety as:
“Your body’s physical response to threats. Your breathing might increase, your heart might start pounding, you could feel butterflies in your stomach, and you might get a burst of energy”.
People who suffer from anxiety or an anxiety disorder may exhibit a wide range of signs and symptoms. Anxiety disorders can arise in a variety of ways, indicators of anxiety might include:
- Racing heart or tightening of the chest
- Rapid breathing
- Feeling tense, restless, ‘on edge’ or wound up
- Hot and cold flushes
- Feeling weak or tired
- Obsessive thinking excessive fear and worrying
- Having a sense of impending panic, doom or danger
- Imagining the worst-case scenario
- Having difficulty thinking about anything other than what’s worrying you
- Having trouble sleeping
- Stomach or digestion issues
- Avoiding situations that make you feel anxious (e.g. taking public transport, going to class or meeting new people).
(Courtesy of ReachOut Australia’s resources)
Now don’t worry bestie, it’s not all doom and gloom! Personally, once I was able to identify and accept that I suffered from anxiety, I was able to much better cope with it too…
So how is it possible to manage anxiety?
There are a few methods that can prove to be quite beneficial for some if you suffer anxiety on a regular basis or if you become nervous suddenly. Here are a few of my favourites.
4-7-8 technique: Hyperventilation can exacerbate anxiety's physical effects. When your breathing becomes faster and your body takes in too much oxygen, the carbon dioxide in your blood decreases. To manage your reaction to anxiety, the simple yet effective method of controlled breathing goes a long way. Breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and exhale for eight seconds.
Talking to someone: By talking to someone about how you are feeling, whether that be a friend or a professional, can allow for you to look at the situation differently or more clearly. It may also make you feel like you are not alone, and others also share the same feelings.
Journaling: If you have trouble speaking with people, journaling can help by identifying your triggers and writing them down. At the end of the day, you can review these and reflect on why you were feeling the way you felt.
Find your own resources: ReachOut Australia have an amazing online forum and hotline as a safe space to learn about what you can do to get through tough times and there are so many helpful podcasts, books and apps that we can recommend. Here are a few of my favs…
- After 20 *disclaimer* this is our own!
- Owning It: The Anxiety Podcast
- Smiling Minds (free meditation)
- Worry Time
- Insight Timer
Think about seeking professional help
If there is one thing that I would recommend it is this. Seeing a psychologist changed my entire experience with my mental health and anxiety and is the single reason I have made so much improvement when it comes to my mental health over the last 5 years. I know how daunting it can be to even talk about considering seeing a psychologist, but lean into it, it might just be the best thing you ever do.
There is a great website you can go to here that will help you find a psychologist closeby to where you live and who specialises in the area that you want to seek help with.
Hopefully this article has provided some insight into what anxiety looks like and various ways you can go about managing it. Remember, this is a super normal thing to go through, and the most helpful thing you can do is reach out for help!
You can listen to our podcast, After 20, to hear our personal experiences with anxiety here: https://open.spotify.com/show/1JhxjrLtFmS9sWYN3rXrFh
Don’t forget to check out our New Year, Same You campaign on Instagram. We will be sharing nothing but unfiltered, bare beautiful faces in a bid to normalise real skin and break down unrealistic beauty standards. We hope this brings a diverse range of content into your social media sphere this month! Here is to new year, same you because you are perfect just the way you are🥂#newyearsameyou